Sunday, April 26, 2009

The BAD/BETTER/BEST of Foods Challenge Post # 4


BAD(ish) – Flour Tortillas

These tortillas are often made with the fats we should avoid, like lard (a saturated fat linked to promoting heart disease) or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fats which are man-made and behave similar to saturated fats in the body). Some contain as many as 3 to 8 grams fat per serving. Nowadays there are some brands that are lower fat and made without lard and trans fats, but flour tortillas come from refined, white flour which is devoid of whole grains and fiber- the majority have 0-2 grams per serving at most.

BETTER- Corn Tortillas and Wheat Tortillas

These have the goodness of whole grains, which contain all the essential parts of the entire grain seed-the bran, germ and the endosperm. In contrast to refined grains that are processed and “broken down,” leaving the whole grain intact means more fiber, protein, minerals (like magnesium, and selenium), as well as the vitamins E, B6 and niacin. If it is calories you are looking to cut, try corn tortillas instead. A standard 6 inch tortilla contains 30 -50 % less calories than the average flour tortilla. Look for ones made with whole grains, and that have at least 3 grams of fiber, as some contain less. And try them in my Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas recipe. If you can afford a few more calories and it is fiber and protein you are looking for, choose whole wheat tortilla. As long as you pick one made with real whole grains, you are bound to see at least 3 and as much as 5 grams of fiber per tortilla, and twice the amount of protein that is in a corn tortilla. Most whole wheat tortillas have at least 4 grams of protein if not more.

BEST-High Fiber Low Carb/Calorie Tortillas-

Try these if you want the most bang for your buck when it comes to the most protein and fiber for the lowest amount of calories and fat. Most contain only 60- 100 calories and are with made whole grains so they are loaded with fiber containing as much as 6 -14 grams per serving. They come packed with protein as well, ranging from 4-8 grams per tortilla, depending on the brand. These also have the goodness of whole grains discussed above- meaning plenty of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals that provide energy and help protect against chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. Not to mention these are great for weight control because the calories are low but the fiber helps to fill you up. Use them in place of bread, to cut calories in sandwiches/wraps and for thin crust mini pizzas. Fill them with scrambled egg whites/egg substitute and low fat cheese and salsa for a healthy breakfast burrito or try my Presto Pizza Quesadilla and Morning Breakfast Wrap recipes!


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