Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ultragrain Gives Your Chocolate Chip Cookie a Nutritional Punch!

As a dietitian and professional athlete, I come into contact with some pretty neat people!  One of the things I truly enjoy is working with nutrition students and dietetic interns who have a passion and interest in food similar to my own.  Often times, these young minds end up inspiring me as I’m getting to know them and remind me of why I first got into this profession I’ve come to adore. 

During my time as a board member of the Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness committee, I met a fellow triathlete and now longtime friend, Mark Kern who teaches at San Diego State.  This year he asked me to help mentor and provide some projects for one of his students, Caroline, who was eager to learn more about applying her nutrition knowledge to real world applications.  I suggested one of our projects would be for her to assist me in some Ultragrain Flour recipe development and she was eager to help!  Below is her account of her most recent experiment with Ultragrain Flours.  It has me wishing we lived closer so I could reap the benefits of her success story!   Enjoy and make sure you try this one!  It’s a keeper! 

I love food.  That simple fact drove me to my career path where I am currently a Food & Nutrition major at San Diego State University.  Now that my college career is coming to a close, I’ve come to a few realizations:
1. Most people want to eat healthier. 
2. Most people know that what they eat is unhealthy.
3. There need to be multiple ways for people to eat healthier.

This is where Ultragrain flour comes into play. When I first heard of Ultragrain White Whole Wheat Flour and Ultragrain All Purpose Flour, I had my doubts. My first instinct was to assume it had a weird, earthy taste or that it might taste something like acorn flour or grape nuts.  I was eager to test the theory that these two flours could be substituted without a change in taste or flavor with a favorite recipe.  

My goal was to test the versatility of the flour with a recipe that is familiar to most American households, the chocolate chip cookie.  I followed the instructions step by step and didn't throw in any extra ingredients to ensure it was as close to all the millions (no exaggeration) of chocolate chip cookies I have eaten in my lifetime.

When I pulled the cookies out of the oven, I could barely wait for them to cool off before digging in. After five agonizing minutes, I took my first bite. Now, I have to admit I have an unfair bias for cookies in general because, frankly, I have yet to meet a cookie I do not like!  These were amazing. No weird flavors, no strange textures in either batch, just lots and lots of gooey goodness. I refrained from consuming every last cookie so I could share them with my friends.  In addition, let’s also remember it’s almost bikini season.

In fact, I shared the cookies with my nutrition class without first telling them that I had made them with Ultragrain flour.  I let them know about the Ultragrain White Whole Wheat Flour and Ultragrain All Purpose Flour and they couldn't believe it. They told me they would have never been able to tell the difference. I had similar reactions from my roommate, coworkers and family. They all gave both batches of cookies big thumbs up!

 This experiment proves (at least to me) that you don't necessarily have to make huge sacrifices to eat healthier and there are options out there to make it easier. The benefits of using the flour are numerous and you don't need to sacrifice taste to get them. My favorite part about this flour is the fiber content. Throughout all my schooling, I’ve learned extensively about the benefits of having enough fiber in your diet. Fiber is great for your heart, GI tract and brain, it keeps you fuller for longer (which can aid in weight loss), and the list goes on. 

I have also learned that the majority of Americans do not get nearly enough fiber. Swapping out your white flour with Ultragrain White Whole Wheat Flour or Ultragrain All Purpose Flour is a perfect way to start getting more fiber into your diet. Ultragrain also includes more protein, vitamin E, B vitamins, and minerals which are also a plus. While there are other versions of wheat flours becoming available, it’s good to know that Ultragrain Flours retain the smooth and soft qualities of flour that we have all come to love and expect. Ultragrain is milled to retain the nutritional benefits of whole grains with the lighter color and smooth qualities as the stuff Mom used while I was growing up. The good news: now you can HAVE your cookies and EAT them with a few better-for-you benefits too!

Caroline is now a believer!  Would you like to try Ultragrain in your next recipe? Make sure you LIKE  their Facebook Page for the latest contests, recipes and up to date communications.  Not sure where to find it?  A list of local retailers is available on their website.

Disclaimer: I am a sponsored athlete by Ultragrain and the products for this post were provided by the company.  However, all opinions and commentary are my own!  Thank you for reading!  

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