Trade Up for a Better After School Snack

Trade Up for a Better Back to School Snack! #NuVal www.cobornsblog.comHey All! As I’m sure you are fully aware it is back to school, whether you are ready or not! Last month I blogged about nutritious breakfast options to fuel you and your child’s body before beginning your long day! All meals are important, but breakfast seems to be one of the most challenging as it tends to be very rushed.  Parent’s aren’t usually responsible for lunches as it is offered at the schools and the school lunches are now more nutritious than ever and continue to head in that direction!  So, today I will be blogging about better for you snacks for kids after school.  It may be before a sport or as they arrive off the bus.  After school snacks can be very tricky as a lot of the front of package labeling can be very misleading.

I remember as I was getting off the bus from school, I was starving! I couldn’t wait to have an after school snack.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t provided with the most nutritious options.  Back then, there wasn’t such a push for nutritious options and we were just on the verge of the childhood obesity epidemic. I would have snacks like mini corn dogs, pizza rolls, pizza, ice cream, cookies, cheese balls, Little Debbie’s nutty bars (they had peanut butter, so they had to be good for you), and easy mac! YIKES! I am honestly embarrassed to share that being a dietitian today!!!  I guess that just makes my improvements more significant.

Check out the image for all of my suggest snack trade ups! I hope these provide you with some ideas for healthy snack options for you and your families.

Happy Back to School!

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley.

Peace and Wellness,
Coborn’s, Inc. Registered Supermarket Dietitian

Click Here for more articles written by Ashley

Eat Healthy Shop Smart with Ashley -

Trading up for a Better Breakfast!

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley.

Hello There! It’s the beginning of August and you know what that means… school is right around the corner! Just as it is important to get all those pencils, erasers and notebooks, it is also important to plan ahead for your meals for back to school. With school commitments, schedules become crazier for families and it becomes more difficult to have time to make meals. So for this month’s blog I am going to be talking about trading up with NuVal at breakfast, as it is a very important meal of the day and can be quite challenging for many to fit it in and make nutritious choices. Next month, I will be sharing smarter snacks for back to school, so stay tuned!

Trade up for a Better Breakfast. Choosing a higher NuVal score when selecting Breakfast foods. www.cobornsblog.comWhat is your favorite breakfast before school? I have a confession about what I loved to eat back when I was in elementary school. My favorite would have been frozen toaster strudels. I didn’t just say that out loud, did I? I absolutely loved them because they were so easy to pop in the toaster and all I had to do was put on the frosting and enjoy! Wow, have I changed my eating habits, but that is what it is all about, right? Little improvements along that way…

Today, if someone asked me what my favorite quick and easy breakfast is, I would tell them whole grain blueberry waffles topped off with almond butter, blueberries, a half of banana and a very tiny bit of real maple syrup. Real maple syrup is so very sweet that you really only need a teaspoon at most. Or my new favorite is quick oats with peanut butter, dark chocolate chips and diced up bananas. Yum! I can’t wait for breakfast tomorrow morning!

Because I live and breathe NuVal, my trading up at breakfast is quite significant. My beloved toaster strudels come in at a low 3! Yikes compared to my waffles at a 44 and my almond butter at an 84 or my oatmeal at a 93! That’s what is all about, folks, trading up to better overall nutrition!

Here are some other examples of trading up that I recommend.

Trade up for a Better Breakfast. Choosing a higher NuVal score when selecting Bacon. www.cobornsblog.comTrade up for a Better Breakfast. Choosing a higher NuVal score when selecting Eggs. www.cobornsblog.comTrade up for a Better Breakfast. Choosing a higher NuVal score when selecting Breads.

Trade up for Better Bacon

Bacon – NuVal Score 5
Turkey bacon – NuVal Score 26
Even higher yet, Morning Star bacon – NuVal Score 42

Trade up for Better Eggs

Did you know eggs score a whopping 56? You could even trade up to Better’N Eggs at a 71 or to Egglands Best brand eggs that receive a score of 85. Talk about a nutrient powerhouse!

Trade up for Better Bread

White English muffins are a 23, while mulitigrain English muffins are a 46 and sandwich thins are a 45 (try them instead of bagels, as they are a more appropriate portion), whole wheat tortillas can score an 84 and whole wheat toast can be as high as 98!

Trade up for a Better Breakfast. Choosing a higher NuVal score when selecting Sausage. www.cobornsblog.comTrade up for a Better Breakfast. Choosing a higher NuVal score when selecting Hash Browns. www.cobornsblog.comTrade up for a Better Breakfast. Light and High Scoring Breakfast Idea!

Trade up for Better Sausage

Typical breakfast sausage links are only a 18, so instead you should try the reduced fat Jimmy Dean ground sausage at 25, Morning Star sausage patties at 33 or ground pork and season it yourself at 39! One last trade up could be Morning Star sausage links scoring a 40.

Trade up for Better Hash Browns

Hash browns range from 5-100. Now that is quite the range! Watch out for those Trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils) and make sure the ingredients say only potatoes.

Then with all of those ingredients, you can prepare you own breakfast sandwich or burrito. My favorite trick to make it quick and easy in the morning is to prepare a large batch the night before so that it will last me a few days and all you have to do in the morning is put it in the microwave. And there you have it, a very nutritious and delicious breakfast that is sure to give you and your family the right nutrients to start a day off right.

Trade up for a Nutritious Breakfast

I’m going to make something fabulous tomorrow morning. I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out! I’ll stay on the lighter side with a yogurt with blueberries and granola for added nutrition. Plain yogurt can score as high as 100! And you can find granolas with that score in the mid-90s.

Trade up for a Better Breakfast. Choosing a higher NuVal score when selecting Cereals and Bars.

Trade up for Better Bars and Cereal

You also can still have cold cereal or a granola bar if that’s what you prefer, just remember to trade up within the category! For example if you normally have a Cap’n Crunch that scores a 4, consider trading up to Cheerios that have a score of 36! Or let’s say your favorite morning bar is a bar by special K, with a score of only 8. It would be easy to trade up to Belvitas that have a score of 23.

If you would like more personalized help planning your meals, please ask. I’m happy to help.

Peace and wellness,
Coborn’s Registered Supermarket Dietitian

Click Here for more articles written by Ashley

Eat Healthy Shop Smart with Ashley -

What's the deal with saturated fats?

What's the deal with Saturated Fats? Are they good or bad?

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley.

Hi Everyone! I think you will find this blog very interesting, as it has to do with saturated fats. There has been so much information floating around about them… are they good?… are they bad? Well, read on my friends…

New Research

As you know, science is always changing as there continues to be more and more research done.  In the world of nutrition, aka my world, new recommendations are coming out all the time so I always need to make sure to be basing my dietary advice on the most current evidence based research, which brings me to my topic for this blog… what is the real deal about saturated fats?

You may have noticed headlines all over the news, Facebook, and other forms of social media entitled, “Is saturated fat really all that bad?” Well, let me explain….

The three kinds of fats

What is the deal with Saturated Fats? www.cobornsblog.comI will start out with the basics… there are three kinds of fats… saturated, unsaturated and trans.  Please click here to learn more about trans fats. For both the saturated and unsaturated fats, there are many different kinds of fats under each of those headings.  For the different kinds of unsaturated fats such as monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, which include omega 3s and omega 6s, these fats all have different properties that can be beneficial in the body in different ways.

A GOOD Saturated Fat?

Until recently all saturated fats were known as the bad guys…but now new research is showing that a specific type of saturated fat, called stearic acid, may not be so bad after all. As you may have read in my last blog, this is why the scores in the meat items have increased, as that is the main type of saturated fat found in beef.

In order to validate my points and use the most current evidence based research; here are a few declarations for you to read:

Here is a statement from the American Heart Association: Stearic acid is a saturated fat that is very stable in storage and during frying. Stearic acid is used to form margarines, shortenings, spreads, and as a cream base for baked products.  Even though stearic acid is a saturated fat, studies have suggested that it has little effect on blood cholesterol levels.”

Not all Saturated Fats are good.

“What are the “bad” fats and which foods contain them? The “bad” fats are saturated and trans fats.

Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods.  The majority we eat come mainly from animal sources, meat and dairy (milk fat) such as fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, beef fat (tallow), lard and cream, butter, cheese, and other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2%) milk.  These foods also contain cholesterol.  Many baked goods and fried foods can also contain high levels of saturated fats. Some plant foods, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil, also contain primarily saturated fats, but do not contain cholesterol.”

Here is a statement from Mayo Clinic:When choosing fats, pick unsaturated fat over saturated or trans fat. This is a type of fat that comes mainly from animal sources of food, such as red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products. Saturated fat raises total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Saturated fat may also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.”

To sum it all up

What is the deal with Saturated Fats? www.cobornsblog.comWhat this is all stating here is that saturated fats are still recommended to be minimal in the diet as they increased total cholesterol levels increasing one’s risk for chronic disease.  However, there are many types of saturated fats and current research is showing that the type of saturated fat known as stearic acid is not increasing cholesterol levels.

Harvard School of Public Health validates these above statements as well.

Bottom line: Even though you see many studies and posts all over social media about new research etc, you cannot always just read the headline and take that to the bank as they say… always check in with a professional and make sure you understand it correctly.  Some of those studies are small or short in length and can’t be regarded as evidence for the general public.

My Summary: Saturated fats are still regarded as not the best choice; they should be limited as they contribute to increased cholesterol levels.  However, one of the types of saturated fats, called “stearic acid,” is the only saturated fat known as this time to not increase total cholesterol levels.  Foods that have stearic acid as the main type of fat include: beef and pure dark chocolate.

Questions? You know where to find me.

Peace and Wellness,

Coborn’s Supermarket Dietitian

Click Here for more articles written by Ashley
Eat Healthy Shop Smart with Ashley -


NuVal 2.0

NuVal 2.0 The higher the number, the better the nutrition. -

Happy National Nutrition Month, everyone! This is such an exciting month for dietitians! It gives us an extra special excuse to talk even more about healthy eating and how easy it can be! However, this year National Nutrition Month is even MORE electrifying!! We have a TON of events going on at Coborn’s! Click Here so that you are sure to join us for at least a few of the events. I promise it will be a good time!

As you know, I get very lengthy with my blogs so I will focus on one main topic this time around, can you believe that?

Find the NuVal Score on shelf tags throughout your local Coborn's store. - www.cobornsblog.comAs you already know, NuVal is a really big deal for us at Coborn’s – and we are about to make it even BIGGER with a NuVal re-launch! You may ask, Why? Well, we want everyone to know how simple this tool is and how it can really help you make the most nutritious choice in each category with just a glance at the shelf tag! Not only is this tool easy to use but the science behind it is very credible, with several prestigious doctors and other medical professionals and representatives serving on its board, ensuring that NuVal and the science behind the number is calculated with the most current evidence-based research.

Previously NuVal is based on the 2005 dietary guidelines and they have just released, this January, the new score changes after updating the algorithm (science behind the number) to reflect the 2010 dietary guidelines. This is the reason you are seeing so many changes throughout the store on our NuVal scores.

Most of the changes you will see are in the protein category as well as the produce; the biggest changes in the protein category are in the meat and seafood categories.  Most of the scores will be going up pretty significantly in these categories because they are now differentiating pure protein verses processed protein. When we get our protein in pure foods it impacts our satiety significantly, thus reducing our risk for overeating.  Also, you may be shocked to hear this, but the type of saturated fat in beef, called stearic acid, is one of the saturated fats that is not correlated with heart disease and increasing cholesterol levels; that is why you see the large increase in the beef scores.

I could go on and on about how great NuVal is and how it makes grocery shopping SO MUCH EASIER, but no one does it better than Mama Nuval, Miss Kelly Radi. Click Here for her blog and see what exciting events she has going on this month!

For questions regarding NuVal please email us at

Peace and Wellness,
Coborn’s Registered Dietitian


Click Here for more blog articles written by Ashley
Eat Healthy Shop Smart with Ashley -


Nutritious & Realistic Meal Planning

A peek into Kelly's meal plan... Nutritious and Realistic Meal PlanningImagine coming home from work to a long mahogany table set with fine china and sparkling crystal.  A rainbow assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables and a steaming hot entrée greet your senses.  Can you smell the roast beast?  Of course, your servants pour you a cold beverage before you join your impeccably-dressed, well-mannered children at the table.  You eat a healthy, balanced, gourmet meal before you retire to the study while somebody else does the dishes.  Aaaaahhh.  Time to wake up!

Sure, in my fairy tale world, I’d have a fancy, three-course gourmet meal served on fine china.  But in reality, some days it’s tacos on a paper plate.  That’s REAL LIFE for this mom.  This mom has a hubby and three teenagers to feed.  I also have a passion for feeding them well.  To me this does not mean fairy tale perfection, but does mean making the effort to serve nutritionally balanced meals and healthy snacks.  Unfortunately, I do not have staff (or a royal budget) to handle this.  I am the staff and it takes a little bit of planning to make this food fairly tale a reality.

Nutritious and Realistic Meal Planning - www.cobornsblog.comIn order to accomplish this and keep my sanity, I try to stay organized and plan ahead for upcoming meals.  I find we eat healthier if we have a weekly menu plan.  I usually start by reviewing the Coborn’s flyer in the Sunday paper and base our meals on what is on sale for the week.  I do like to save a buck!  I have found it is possible to eat healthy on a budget.

Coborn’s has another tool in their stores that really helps us eat better and get more bang for our buck.  The NuVal nutritional scoring system, available in all Coborn’s stores, factors in over 30 nutritional components and assigns foods a score between 1-100.  The higher the score—the better the nutrition.  I love this, tool!  After all, who has time to sit and scour the nutritional panel for each product? NuVal does that for me.  All I do is glance at the NuVal score on the shelf tag to help me decide which product is a better choice for my family.  It’s that easy.

Nutritious and Realistic Meal Planning - www.cobornsblog.comThey even include some NuVal scores in their weekly ads.

After checking out the sales of the week and paging through a couple of my tried-and-true cookbooks, I start my grocery list.  I find having a list, a plan-of-attack, for the store keeps me on track and prevents me from filling my cart with less nutritious extras.  Planning ahead also saves time.  I can make one or two weekly visits to Coborn’s instead of daily ones.  That leaves more time to cook and eat with my family.

We have a small chalkboard on the door of our pantry.  That is where I write down the menu plan for the week.  At a glance, I know if I need to plug in the crockpot or thaw some meat before heading out for the day.  It keeps me organized and on track.

As you can see, this week chicken breasts and beef roasts are on sale as well as broccoli, lettuce and taco fixin’s.  We’ll have sautéed chicken breasts on Monday with family favorite chicken lettuce wraps on Thursday.  And, a build-your-own taco bar is a great way to start the weekend.  Tacos are princess (ok, teenager) and budget-friendly.

By taking a few minutes on Sunday afternoons to plan our weekly menu, I am able to reduce my stress and increase our bottom line as well as our nutrition.  While it might not meet up to my fairy tale ideal, it sure does help my reality.  Now…where did I put my tiara?

Until next time, dream big and eat well!



Click here to find more of Kelly’s blogs.