Tag Archives: Healthy Options

Bah Hum-mus!

Wild garden roasted garlic hummus

Making hummus from scratch from where I come from is strenuously inconceivable, if not virtually next to impossible. Calling for tahini (sesame paste) as a main ingredient makes it an arduous search, and I’d be closer to finding a leprechaun next to a pot of gold than actually gathering the necessary ingredients for hummus within a 10km radius of my neighborhood.

And so I greet the tourists, Welcome to Manila! If an unyielding craving for hummus begins to materialize after over exposure to our saucy delicacies, do not try to make one. I’ll save you the time, effort and lunacy.

Healthy Options offers a wide range of hummus products from the Wild Garden brand, from plain to roasted garlic. A bit on the pricey side, should you compare it vis-à-vis the Tostitos Dip or moving on to a more mainstream concoction, sour cream, the hummus jar costs about 2x more (or less).

Wild Garden Roasted Garlic Hummus Nutrition Facts

As for the caloric and junk content, this makes hummus supreme with only 35 calories for 2 tablespoons (that’s a lot already), 2g of fat (not the saturated type) and almost nil sugar. Composed mainly of chick peas, tahini and sea salt, the Wild Garden Hummus provides the best alternative to dips and sauces, and provides a good source of protein.

The greatest test for its flavorful upturn: my plain (awful to most) homemade spinach sandwich. Sans the cream cheese or egg, addition of hummus to my plain (or awful, let’s be honest) spinach sandwich elevated it to Greek Godliness.

Enough said. Even Zeus would like this stuff.



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Shirataki’s the man

Shirataki miracle noodles healthy options lazy black cat

Having daydreamed a good portion of my eating life in honor of Shirataki noodles, it brings me great satisfaction to finally get ahold of these miracle noodles. The only downside is doing the cooking, on my own, but the Internet rewarded me with grandiose noodle ideas from cookies to mac and cheese, it would be very idiotic of me to burn anything in this case.

Shirataki noodles contain zero calories and everything else, it’s a shame to waste ink on printing the nutritional facts. Still FDA guidelines are necessary, and it is rather satisfying to see all those ZEROES.

What a fantastic creation.

When will they come up with desserts like these? There is a good ring to Frozen Matcha Shirataki.

shirataki noodles nutritional facts healthy options

Healthy Options’ Shirataki is made purely of the Konnyaku plant and has neither soy nor gluten.

Contrary to popular notions of Shirataki being slimy, gooey and fishy – which makes it so not right for Italian flavors – I found it rather on the neutral side. The slimy aspect is to be expected, but nothing a good stir fry cannot handle. In fact it works so well with stir-fry, it refuses to let go of its slippery texture, despite my inclination for overcooking noodles. Cheater.

The noodles maintain no innate flavor of its own, so it is recommended to season it with whatever flavor you fancy – in this case soy sauce and sesame oil. Best to also stir in other food complementing food items for a more solid texture such as vegetables or tofu and egg. 

shirataki noodles

Soy Sesame Shirataki Noodles by Lazy Black Cat

Should there be a next time (of course there will be, I have 2 more packs), other flavors/toppings of interest include tofu nuggets, chicken strips, chap chae, pesto, shiitake mushrooms or cheese powder.

I am rather dubious to bring in the Puttanesca, Ragu or anything with parmesan cheese – as much as want to. Maybe when they invent Wheat Shirataki, continental flavors would be more appropriate with the grittier texture.

And this ends my cooking segment. See you again in a decade! 🙂

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Nuts About Soy Butter

There was a time when peanut butter was banned entry in our fridge because it triggered the rise of our adolescent bestie, the zit. Poor Peter Pan and Jif had to live a life of neglect along with the vegetables, as we favored cheese and eggs for our sandwiches.

Lately though, Peanut Butter has slowly been making its way back in our sandwiches, being protein-deprived most of the time. Lounging around the supermarket aisles and reading nutritional labels of peanut butter brands gave me a pretty clear direction on future purchases.

Actually, the peanut butter mantra is rather simple (I apologize in advance for committing treason):

  •  NO to local brands, unless you want a weekly visit to the dentist (and we do admit that an annual visit is already a pain).
  • As for foreign commercial brands, NO to Goober and my childhood sweetheart, Peter Pan.
  • YES to Skippy Natural (the one with “no need to stir” printed).
  • YES to Laura Scudder Organic Peanut Butter (love)!
  • MAYBE to PB Co. Dark Chocolate and Green Tea Peanut Butter because they’re new and I only bought them because they’re so kawai and cheap!
  • Last but not the least, NEVER to crunchy peanut butter! Damn, you make chewing such a difficult task!

I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter and Skippy Natural

By default, the calories and fat level of peanut butter are normally high, so for those seeking a “healthier” option, go for an ingredient list that shows mainly Roasted Peanuts, as is the case for organic brands like Laura Scudder.

In the supermarket though, I’ve found that Skippy Natural already presents the least damaging nutritional data with 190 calories, 18% Saturated Fat and 3g sugar for every 2 tablespoons. That serving isn’t particularly diet-variety, so you can probably imagine that what to expect from other brands: flab or an early death.

Healthy Options, the store, provides other ” nut butter” categories that are health-friendly but on the budget-averse side. Seriously, I am still in the process of saving up for the almond butter, which costs as much as a facial (see why I’m torn) so I’ve settled for an interesting alternative: SoyNut Butter.

I.M. Healthy Soy Nut Butter has a dubious sound to its name and blue jar but with 170 calories, 8% saturated fat and 3g sugar for 2 tablespoons and without a speck of NUT, it’s an adolescent’s dream cream. Soybeans replace the nuts, so the protein content isn’t compromised. For anti-nuts, pimply kids or soy aficionados, here’s the sandwich spread we’ve been looking for (I’m the anti-nut, soy aficionado).

(Left) I.M. Healthy and (R) Skippy Natural

I.M. Healthy Soy Butter, Peanut-Free!

Don’t expect it to taste like peanut because it’s soy. The soy butter resembles the texture, color and overall “feel” of peanut butter but with hints of the soy flavor.

Don’t know what this “soy flavor” I’m talking about? Think soy milk or taho (for the Pinoys) and incorporate that taste with peanut butter.

Weird? Not really, my stash is half empty already.

Whether it’s peanut butter or soy or even to-die-for almond butter, what’s important is that every jar contains mainly these nuts or soybeans and less of the non essentials (like sugar, salt and other ingredient we more than 3 syllables). Even if I did look like a fool reading every jar in the grocery, I’m glad I found what I wanted: Skippy Natural and I.M Healthy Soy Butter. 

Glad to have you in my fridge. Now if only we can keep you long enough.

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Late July Organic Multigrain Chips

Healthy Options is infamous for selling organic food items, some of which do not cater to everyone’s taste buds. I’ve had my share of chips and sauces that did not warrant any repeat purchase. Whoever said organic was synonymous to delectable anyway? Most of us have associated “going green” to “lowering one’s food expectations”, but that should not be the case.

Good thing this addiction to Healthy Options can be uncontrollable at times. Randomly snatching a bag of chips that suggested Latin American food fiesta, it was hard not to buy Late July Organic Multigrain Chips, Sea Salt Flavor.

Don’t expect to memorize the lengthy name in one sitting, but do keep in mind its fabulous Nutritional facts per serving (13 chips): 120 calories, 2% saturated fat, 70mg sodium, 8% fiber and 0g sugar. With that much grains packed in a hefty chip, one serving already accounts for a satisfying snack. No kidding, you’d spend some time munching on a chip that you’ll be full in no time. As for the taste, the sea salt is adequately sprinkled and brings out the heartwarming multigrain-oaty taste I’ve learned to love.

A sigh of relief for this Healthy Options jackpot! Finally found a less sinful alternative to Sun Chips and Nova!


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