A look back to 1994 - Reviewing the 1994 Fitness Food Awards..

Fitness Food Awards

Insightful Balance of Today's and Yesterdays Fitness Foods

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Give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back. By refusing to buy poor quality foods, you've helped America win the battle of bodyfat. What began as a dream is now a reality. Everywhere you go today you find "free" foods-that is, sugar and / or fat free. Assuming the trend continues, every major food maker will be producing these items by the year 2007.

Interestingly enough, the makers of the junkiest foods seem the most eager to venture into the slimmer side of the market companies that have helped fatten folks up now want to get 'em lean. Could we be seeing some sort of dietary justice? Not exactly. One of the best-selling packaged cookies on the market, Nabisco's Snackwell fudge cookies, may be fat free, but the sugar content is so high that the amount of calories per serving is comparable to any similar high-fat sweet.

A lot of other highly hyped foods are equally treacherous. There are products out there, though, that deserve notice. With that in mind, here are the winners of 1994's Fitness Food Awards!

Weight Watchers Smart Snackers Honey Roasted Peanuts

By stripping the peanut of 45 percent of its fat, Weight Watchers has actually created the first nut that contains more protein than fat. Imagine that. What's more, the 100-calorie snack packs contain only scant amounts of sugar and salt.

Wasa Crispbreads

These 100 percent whole-grain crackers are the ultimate free food. Flavorful and crunchy, widely available and affordable, they give your mouth a workout for as little as 25 calories.

Pritikin salad dressings

Whether it's ranch or thousand island you chose, you won't get any added fat, sodium or cheap sugars from Pritikin dressings (they're sweetened only with fruit concentrates). After all, the Pritikin line was originally developed for cardiac patients. For a creamy topping add one part nonfat yogurt to one part dressing and shake well. You can also add a few shots of balsamic vinegar to tweak your taste buds. Pour over baked potatoes, rice, pasta, egg white omelets, meat, fish, veggies and, of course, salad.

Fat-free potato chips and fries

There are a handful of labels boasting of nonfat tater treats. I admit that the chips are somewhat hard on the molars. (The solution is to mist with water, close the hag and store overnight.) The fries are fine-especially if you baste them with egg white before baking, which makes them extra- crispy.

Pam Butter Flavor No Stick Cooking Spray

At two calories per squirt, this spray is hard to beat. It provides a buttery flavor with less than one-quarter gram of fat and absolutely no sodium. Don't confuse it with the Weight Watchers product, which uses artificial butter flavoring that gives it a chemical taste. The Pam spray is as natural as it can get, starting with its canola oil base. Only the propellant is questionable. and you won't be swallowing that. Try this product on air-popped popcorn.

Seneca 100% Natural Applesauce

Seneca puts only choice apples in its jars-and no sugar or salt. Apples are naturally high in pectin, which is classified as a "gummy fiber," so you can use applesauce to replace butter in almost any recipe for baked goods. Try pouring it over your cereal or tuna, or stir it into nonfat yogurt and add a little cinnamon and vanilla.

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