Nutrition Action Healthletter
January/February 2002 - U.S. Edition
Right Stuff Food Porn
Easy Beans
Taste Adventure's Instant Refried BeansFriends stop by and you’ve got no snacks. It’s dinner time and you’ve got no ideas. It’s every day and you’ve got no time.

    Instant Refried Beans to the rescue. Taste Adventure packs four flavors of dried precooked beans—Jalapeño, Pinto Bean, Green Chile & Lime, and Black Bean—into shelf-stable cartons that look like they hold a quart of milk. Just add boiling water, stir, and wait five minutes. You can use as much or as little as you want and keep the rest for the next crisis.

    What do you end up with? You can use it as a delicious dip. If you remembered to keep a package of tortillas in the freezer, you’ve also got the makings of bean burritos or tacos. (Just add some salsa, guacamole, chopped tomatoes, and a touch of light shredded cheese or sour cream.) Or you’ve got half of a great rice-and-beans dish or the base for an aromatic black bean soup. Despite their name, refried beans have no lard or other fats. And while each 1/2-cup serving has 350 to 410 milligrams of sodium, you have to weigh that against their six to nine grams of fiber, plus the usual protein and iron you’d expect from beans.

    Not bad for 130 calories.

    Start with the Pinto or Black Beans if you like to keep things simple. Or try the Green Chile if you want a little buzz, or the Jalapeño if you’re in the mood for an extra kick.

    Either way, it’s only five minutes from “What should we have?” to “Let’s eat.”
Dunkin' Donuts Chocolate Chip MuffinWhat can you get at Dunkin’ Donuts that has more calories than a Big Mac, more saturated fat than a Quarter Pounder, and more sugar than a Mrs. Fields’ Double Fudge Brownie? Hint: It’s not a doughnut.

    At 590 calories and 24 grams of fat (ten of them saturated), a Dunkin’ Donuts Chocolate Chip Muffin makes a 200-to-300-calorie doughnut look good. (Two or three doughnuts is another story, of course.)

    And don’t think the chocolate is all to blame. Dunkin’s Lemon Poppyseed Muffin has 580 calories. And others—the Banana Nut, Blueberry, Corn, Cranberry Orange, and Honey Bran Raisin—hover around 500. Their saturated fat levels (four to six grams) are more reasonable, but 500 calories is a quarter of a day’s worth (or should be).

    Here’s the kicker: Dunkin’ Donuts’ Reduced Fat Blueberry Muffin isn’t much better in the calorie department (450).

    Maybe Dunkin’s execs have spent too much time near the deep-fat fryers. Get a bagel instead.

Taste Adventure: (800) 874-0883.

Dunkin’ Donuts: (800) 859-5339.
Nutrition Action Healthletter Center for Science in the Public Interest January/February 2002 U.S. Edition Subscribe Today! Customer Service