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Articles from 2008 In December

Natural Foods Merchandiser

Help shoppers build beauty ingredient by ingredient

New products plug all sorts of ingredient combinations for outer radiance, but what specific nutrients can you point shoppers to for smooth, glowing skin, strong nails and shiny hair? NFM put the question to nutrition and beauty experts.

Add some antioxidants
Antioxidants battle free radicals—the arch enemies of beauty. Produced by normal metabolism as well as toxins and pollutants, these unstable oxygen molecules attack cells and break them down, leading to signs of aging such as wrinkles and age spots. Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies lose their ability to absorb the plant compounds that can act as antioxidants, says Ben Fuchs, pharmacist and cosmetic chemist for natural skin care company Sanitas in Boulder, Colo. "That's where supplements come in."

Vitamin A. Vitamin A is fundamental to the maintenance of tissues that make up the surface of the skin, says Lisa Drayer, R.D., in The Beauty Diet (McGraw-Hill, 2009). Plus, recent research suggests that beta carotene, the precursor to vitamin A synthesis, protects against skin-damaging sunburn. Vitamin A is recommended for acne, too, because it supports the skin's immune response, says Dr. Alan Dattner, a holistic dermatologist in New Rochelle, N.Y. According to Drayer, it also helps produce and protect the scalp's natural oil.

Vitamin C. Not only does vitamin C neutralize free radicals, it is also a necessary ingredient for the production of collagen, the fibers underneath the skin that keep it firm. As skin ages, it produces less collagen, resulting in lax, wrinkled skin; but a 2007 study showed that women who ate more vitamin C-rich foods actually had fewer wrinkles.

Vitamin E. Aside from its antioxidant capacities, vitamin E also contributes to clear, bright eyes by reducing the risk of cataracts. It helps stabilize the skin's lipid membranes and protects the scalp's natural oils while promoting circulation for healthy hair, Drayer says.

Zinc. Another potent antioxidant, zinc helps renew and repair skin and create collagen, says Esther Blum, R.D., a clinical nurse specialist and author of Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous (Chronicle Books, 2007). Zinc helps balance blood-sugar levels, so it's easy to deplete zinc stores by eating refined carbohydrates. Noshing on whole grains and taking a zinc supplement can help improve skin tone. Because the mineral is a precursor to progesterone, estrogen and testosterone, zinc deficiency leads to hormonal imbalances and then acne, Blum says.

Don't forget good fats

While hydrogenated oils can contribute to inflammation in the body, which is thought to trigger signs of aging, omega-3 essential fatty acids fight inflammation and can help reverse the effects of sun damage. Omega-3s help maintain the skin's oil barrier, keeping moisture in and germs out, Drayer explains. They also help balance hormones, contributing to a clear complexion, and help your body store other beauty- and mood-boosting nutrients such as vitamins A, E, D and K, which can only be broken down with fats.

Knock back probiotics

Although countless topical beauty products aim to kill bacteria, nutritionists say that restoring the body's flora of good bacteria is actually more likely to result in long-term beauty effects. Fuchs of Sanitas explains that if the digestive system is off-kilter, the body will have trouble absorbing ingested nutrients, which will affect outer appearance. For example, if B vitamins aren't being digested properly, hair won't get the nutrients it needs, resulting in dull strands and potential hair loss. The solution? Probiotics. Blum especially recommends these beneficial bugs for acne—the good bacteria have been shown to aid reactive skin types and soothe eczema.

Zone in on vitamins

B complex. Without B complex vitamins, hair becomes weak and brittle and growth slows, according to Drayer. She explains that B6 helps create melanin, which gives hair and skin their color, while B7, or biotin, fights hair loss. B6, B12 and B9, or folate, all aid in producing red blood cells, which help transport oxygen to the scalp for healthy hair growth. Studies have also connected biotin supplements to stronger nails.

Vitamin D. The sunshine vitamin is essential for calcium absorption, which is vital for strong, beautiful teeth and sturdy bones. A 2008 study in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology also showed that vitamin D supplements could boost protective compounds in skin.

Mind the minerals

Iron. Drayer explains that even if someone's not clinically anemic, an iron deficiency can cause dry and brittle hair, or even hair loss. Tresses need iron to help red blood cells carry oxygen to the hair follicles and build strong hair shafts.

Selenium. This vital trace mineral guards the skin's elasticity by joining with proteins to gain antioxidant powers, helping in the fight against free-radical damage. According to Fuchs, many people tend to be deficient in selenium, which is essential to the body's detoxification system.

—Hilary Oliver

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXX/number 1/p. 24,26


Download Patrick Rea’s and Bill Crawford’s Presentations at NCGA 2009

Natural Foods Merchandiser

Snack Attack

You can't have just one. But that's alright as long as you're crunching on the latest generation of healthier chips. Though some might still be addictive, chips—and snacks in general—don't need to be guilt-inducing.

"Snacks should be part of a complete and healthy diet," says Keri Glassman, RD, author of The Snack Factor Diet (Three Rivers Press, 2008). "Studies show that snackers consume fewer calories overall. If you snack, you stabilize blood-sugar levels. You can reduce LDL [bad] cholesterol levels. You are healthier and happier. And you are less famished when you get to your next meal, so you make better choices then."

The trick to healthy snacking is to be choosy. Glassman recommends picking 140- to 200-calorie bites, and eating them two to three times a day, depending on the size and frequency of your meals. Snacks can be a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts. But as people return to carbohydrates after a low-carb phase, snack manufacturers have created good-for-you options to feed customers' cravings for salty, crunchy chips. "I've seen a lot of healthier chips on the market," Glassman says. Here are the latest snack trends to munch on.

Get Real

"We're seeing a trend toward ‘real' food—all-natural ingredients you can recognize and nothing artificial," says Michelle Peterman, vice president of marketing at Salem, Ore.-based Kettle Foods. Kettle Brand Baked Potato Chips are made with whole slices of real potatoes, for example.

The reason customers are hungry for natural and organic snacks is that "they're looking for safety and reliability," says Keith Belling, CEO of all-natural Pop Chips, based in San Francisco. For example, Dan and Jean Ehrlich launched the snack-food company Rock-N-Roll Gourmet because they were looking for natural alternatives for themselves and their kids—and they couldn't find them at their regular haunts. As musicians, the husband-and-wife team spends plenty of time at music festivals and events, and they noticed that people would either go hungry or grab the readily available high-fat, chemical-laden chips. "Where's the healthy snack food?" asked Dan, a father of three. "We thought there must be a better way." Soon after his observation, their Hippie Chips, a baked potato chip with hempseeds, was born.

Taste matters

Baked and popped chips, whether made from whole grains, flour, or potatoes, are all the rage because they are lower in fat and calories than the typical fried variety. But if the chip sacrifices taste, customers won't be loyal, according to Belling of Pop Chips. "When it comes to something like a snack, which [people think of as] an indulgence, you have to lead with taste," Belling says. "If you give customers something that doesn't taste good, they'll go back to the fried chip that they were trying to avoid in the first place."

The company saw a chance to appeal to both customers' taste for flavor and nutrition by applying a unique process to potatoes, making them act like kernels of corn under heat and pressure. "They literally pop into a chip," says Belling. Because the company doesn't use oil to make the base chip, they can add a bit of flavorful oil and spices later and still end up with a chip that has less than half of the fat and fewer calories than a typical fried chip. The fried variety usually has about 10 grams of fat and 150 calories per one-ounce serving, according to Belling. Pop chips have 4 grams of fat and 120 calories a serving.

But all this health mumbo-jumbo is just a bonus, if you ask Belling. "We're not shouting from the rooftops that this is a healthy chip," he says. "We're saying this is a great-tasting chip, which, by the way, happens to be better for you."

Kettle Foods has a similar philosophy when it comes to pleasing the palates of long-time consumers of their fried chips. As well as a couple new flavors like Aged White Cheddar and Hickory Honey Barbeque, the company has created a baked version of the popular Sea Salt & Vinegar chip. The adaptation has 65 percent less fat—and all the same flavor, according to Kettle Foods' Peterman.

Put the fun in functional

Healthy snacks should offer something more redeeming—such as fiber or protein—than just calories, according to Glassman. Seconding that motion is Rally Ralston, managing partner of Salba Smart Natural Products, a raw-ingredient supplier of salba and maker of salba-enriched tortilla chips, pretzels and other food products. "People don't want empty calories," Ralston says. "They want better nutrition." According to Ralston, the satiating salba grain is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vegetable protein, potassium, iron, calcium and more. A 2007 clinical study in Diabetes Care showed that salba (Salvia hispanica L) helps control type 2 diabetes. Salba also can absorb up to 14 times its weight in water, so manufacturers generally don't offer the whole grain and instead add it to products to make a functional food. "You can incorporate salba into anything," Ralston says.

Rock-N-Roll Gourmet enhances its baked Hippie Chips with omega–3-rich hemp. "It's not enough hemp to make the chips nutritionally different," says owner Dan Ehrlich. "But it adds another tasty twist. It also falls in line with trying to support more sustainable products." To make its chips stand out even more when placed on crowded snack-aisle shelves, Rock-N-Roll Gourmet has created lively packaging, musically themed product names, and inventive flavors. The new Little Wings are baked buffalo-wing chips with blue cheese or ranch drizzle. The Sweet Emotions are multigrain chips topped with cinnamon-white chocolate or berry-yogurt drizzle. "We wanted to create a snack food that was healthy in terms of low fat, had a lighter feeling when you ate it so you didn't feel bloated, and also combined colorful packaging that evoked a positive feeling," Ehrlich says. "Especially in difficult times right now, people want to feel good. Snacks are a comfort food."

Powerful portions

Almost every snack manufacturer now offers a single-serving package to help customers with portion control. Usually, these add up to 100 calories or fewer. That may be enough to tide some people over until mealtime, but if customers follow Glassman's snack rules—that is, getting some protein or fiber and up to 200 calories—they'll want to put together foods for a healthier combination. For example, add peanut butter to multigrain crackers or cottage cheese to chips. "If it's just a baked chip, you can add something else to make it a more balanced snack," Glassman says.

Pamela Bond is a freelance writer in Eldorado Springs, Colo.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXX/number 1/p. 18

Where are we headed in 2009?

The world according to Sloan Trends,

Remember when fish oils were just a glimmer in Captain Ahab's eye? Or fibre before the new food pyramid helped launch its renaissance? What if you were in on the ground floor, developing — and profiting from — these now lucrative markets? With our 2009 trends special issue, Fi points the way ahead with a passel of natural bioactives worth a look for your next functional-product launch in foods, supplements, beverages and cosmetics. Read it and reap!

Body fat
Body fat is the new target for weight management and anti-ageing. Thirty per cent of consumers (ages 18 to 24) equate calories from fat with increased body fat. Ingredients that improve body muscle tone and build lean-muscle mass are expected to be in high demand in mainstream markets.

Kids at risk

Primature (prime + mature) market

Circulation, stroke & artery health

Inevitable ailment of ageing

Naturally functional, or the mainstreaming of phytochemicals
br /> Phytochemicals are reaching mainstream market status. Others, such as anthocyanins and carotenoids, are perfectly positioned for success among very health-conscious and condition-specific shoppers.

Topped off

Baby kaboomers


Y is the ?(x) of health

Think what it does, not what it is

Leave the ingredient jargon behind (no offense, ingredients suppliers). That is the message from consumers in Beneo Orafti's recent EU consumer research project for French, Spanish and UK consumers. "Although consumers might know the names of key ingredients, they do not necessarily equate these with the key health benefits," the report says. Below are the primary benefits that rang true:

Spanish Men
  • Protects your heart
  • Builds stronger bones
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Protects your eyes
  • Keeps digestive system healthy
French Men
  • Protects your heart
  • Reinforces natural defences
  • Keeps digestive system healthy
  • Builds stronger bones
  • Protects your eyes
Spanish Women
  • Builds stronger bones
  • Protects your heart
  • Keeps digestive system healthy
  • Keeps you regular
  • Helps manage your weight
French Women
  • Keeps digestive system healthy
  • Reinforces natural defences
  • Protects your heart
  • Builds stronger bones
  • Helps manage your weight
Natural Foods Merchandiser

Show and tell your green achievements

You've done all you can afford to make your store environmentally friendly—and chances are you spent a good amount of money in the process. But in addition to helping the Earth, your shrinking carbon footprint could mean big business. New research from the Natural Marketing Institute shows that more than 80 percent of American adults value sustainability on some level. And they're probably aware that some stores try harder than others to take a load off Mother Nature.

Sometimes your most eco-friendly efforts aren't readily apparent to shoppers

Sometimes, though, your most eco-friendly efforts aren't readily apparent to shoppers: It can be difficult to tell the difference between unsustainable wood floors and renewable bamboo, plastic versus compostable flatware or coal versus wind power. Now's the time to make sure your shoppers know all you do to be eco-friendly. Here are some tips for telling your store's green story.

Show them the signs

Signs are cheap and easy to create and can do much more than guide your customers to the restrooms. Jay Jacobowitz, president of natural products consulting firm Retail Insights in Brattleboro, Vt., recommends using signs to indicate the green building materials you've used. "You could have a sign on the floor saying, ‘You are walking on a floor made of recycled materials,'" he says. "Anywhere where you have a significant green investment, go ahead and point it out to the shopper at the point of contact." Make sure all your sustainability signage is of a similar design. "If you're really looking to promote green, you need to create some sort of consistent campaign that has a certain look to it, so when a consumer is walking down an aisle and they see a certain sign, they know that this product is green," says merchandising consultant Debby Swoboda, founder of

You can also get creative with signage locations. Even a coffee table can be a vehicle for green messages. At the Denver location of natural and organic personal care store Origins, the company shows off its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification and use of recycled materials by placing samples of the materials next to background information underneath the glass top of a coffee table surrounded by comfy chairs. As customers pause to sip the store's tea, they get an education in the company's green efforts.

Be creative with shelf talkers

Shelf talkers are a quick and effective way to communicate with your customers. Ellie's Eco Home Store in Boulder, Colo., opened by Eco-Products founder Steve Savage, has 12 signs on the wall identifying the criteria the store uses when purchasing products, such as "energy efficient," "rapidly renewable," "improves air quality" and "local." Then shelf talkers call out each such product. "What we wanted was a key to identify to our customers why we bought our products," Store Manager Carly Marriott says.

Involve the customer

Try to make shopping at your store more personal than an in-and-out experience. There are many ways to educate and involve the customer, Swoboda says. You could put an environmentally oriented statement at the bottom of your receipt or host a town meeting where your customers can discuss ideas about how to lessen their environmental impact and suggest new ideas for your store. " ‘Did you know?' is a great thing," Swoboda says. "You educate the staff and you encourage them to share their knowledge: ‘Let's focus our message on green this week.'"

Ellie's Eco Home Store plans to host weekly community education programs to help get the word out about environmentally friendly products and causes. Milwaukee-based Outpost Natural Foods Co-op also hosts events that promote green ideas. For example, one store celebrated its new solar panels by throwing a "solarbration" complete with a ribbon cutting and a hybrid car show. Afterward, people went for test drives, flew kites and exchanged ideas to help the environment. "On that day, our traffic increased significantly," Outpost spokeswoman Margaret Mittelstadt says. Outpost has also hosted a two-week film festival featuring documentaries about sustainable causes. "It's really fun to do these kinds of things with the community because [customers] respond so well to it," Mittelstadt says. "It's a win-win situation."

Get involved

Direct some charity and philanthropy toward sustainable efforts. "Sustainable community outreach could be as simple as giving to the food bank or lending store labor for what needs to be done in the community," Jacobowitz says. Outpost, for example, contributes volunteers for local river cleanups and for years has worked with local energy utilities to help promote renewable energy and conservation programs. "Back in 1999, we were approached by [Wisconsin energy company] We Energies to see if we were interested in one of their new programs called the Energy for Tomorrow program, which at the time was trying to let businesses offset a portion of their bill to help develop renewable technologies," Mittelstadt says. "We were the first business to sign onto that program." Since then, Mittelstadt says the company has participated in a number of energy-saving programs, which has helped inform people of Outpost's environmentally friendly values. "We hope to promote their programs because it's the right thing to do and it fits so nicely with what our organization does."

Shoppers assume that you are doing everything you can to be green

Keep it honest

Green hasn't always been in fashion, but now that it's the trend for retailers large and small, customers are becoming savvier about what truly hurts and helps the environment. For example, carrying reusable bags used to be something unique to tout, but now everyone has them. So what if your store doesn't have much to brag about, environmentally? There's no reason to start greenwashing, according to Jacobowitz. "The independent natural products retailer enjoys a green halo because of the industry," he says, and unless you've really spent some time trying to help the environment, "It might be better to say nothing and let the green halo exist without calling attention to it." But taking real steps toward sustainability are likely to pay off. "Today, shoppers assume that you are doing everything you can to be green," Jacobowitz says, "and if you're not, then you're at a disadvantage."

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXX/number 1/p. 12

Delicious Living

January 1, 2009

Is high-fructose corn syrup natural?

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a highly processed sweetener and preservative, is manufactured from chemically altered cornstarch. Does that sound natural to you? It does to the FDA, which recently reversed its original stance (from April 2008) and ruled that products containing the sweetener may be labeled “natural,” since synthetic agents used during processing don't actually come into contact with the corn syrup.

“We do not restrict use of the term natural except on products that contain added color, synthetic substances, and artificial flavors,” says FDA spokesperson Michael Herndon.

Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, disputes the FDA, saying, “HFCS does not occur in nature and should be considered an artificial ingredient.”

But although the sweetener may not exist in nature, it abounds in our food supply, lurking in sodas and sweetened beverages, as well as in staples, including cereal, bread, yogurt, and salad dressing. And even though some studies have linked HFCS to obesity, diabetes, and other modern-age maladies, nutritionists continue to debate whether it's unhealthier than regular sugar. To keep HFCS out of your diet, buy unprocessed foods and study ingredient lists. For more about HFCS, go to and enter the sugar debate into the search box.

Natural Foods Merchandiser

What's in store

Topped off
Satiety and appetite suppression are tools in the war on weight. Hold-me-over foods have found a stronghold in the afternoon and early evening snack categories, including snacks that address satiation, sustained energy and blood-sugar control.

Those 50+ are the fastest-growing exercisers. While they may scoff at highly caffeinated energy drinks, they are interested in foods and beverages that help with energy and vitality without the extreme buzz.

Fighting the fat
Body fat is the new target for weight management and aging well. Thirty percent of consumers (aged 18 to 24) equate calories from fat with increased body fat. Ingredients that improve body muscle tone and build lean muscle mass will be in high demand in mainstream markets.

America's Gen-Yers are the heaviest users of functional foods and are the most likely to try a new healthy food or beverage, especially if it contains vitamins and minerals and helps provide energy.

Baby kaboomers
As Gen-Yers enter the parenting age, the number of households with children under age 6 will explode. Products like specially formulated, post-breastfeeding milks, calorie-controlled meals and snacks that support brain and vision development are ripe for development.

The age of aging
With one-third of the population over age 55 and another 31 million turning 65 over the next 10 years, conditions will move center stage—look into products that address sarcopenia (muscle wasting), periodontal disease, dynapenia (loss of strength), diverticular disease and irritable bowel.

What women want
Although 44 percent of women in the U.S. are post-menopausal, there are virtually no products directed at this life stage. Heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, depression/anxiety, periodontal disease, insomnia, reduced metabolism/weight gain, dry eye, dry mouth and UTIs are among the long list of concerns.

Kids at risk
One in eight American children has one or more risks for heart disease; the incidence of high blood pressure has tripled in a decade, and 10 percent of teens have high cholesterol. Preventing diseases later in their children's lives is one of the top three concerns for moms. Parents will be looking for products to reduce these risks.

Circulation, stroke and artery health
Products that aid in circulation, improve artery elasticity and health, help prevent platelet aggregation, and reduce LDLs and inflammation will be a must for aging boomers, especially African Americans and Hispanics.

Mainstream phytochemicals
Phytochemicals are reaching mainstream market status. Anthocyanins and carotenoids are perfectly positioned for success among very health-conscious and condition-specific shoppers.

Liz Sloan is president of Sloan Trends, a San Diego-based consulting firm.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXX/number 1/p. 30

Natural Foods Merchandiser

Pump up the volume naturally

Big hair is back. Though arrow-straight strands have dominated fashion-magazine covers and runways in recent years, bouncy, full-bodied locks are making a comeback. But does committing to a natural personal care regimen exclude your shoppers from the ranks of the luxuriously coiffed?

Luckily, natural hair care manufacturers now have a host of products that can add fullness and body without resorting to the use of harsh petrochemicals, sulfates or allergy-causing preservatives. Some are targeted at customers with very fine or thinning hair, while others simply help restore hair to its natural, healthy state, starting from the follicle.

These products use a mixture of vitamins—particularly B vitamins, proteins, amino acids and essential oils to nourish the hair and stimulate the scalp. "Our Biotene H-24 line is a three-phase process for people with thinning hair, which uses biotin [vitamin B7] along with 22 amino acids and hair proteins to create better hair growth and thicker, fuller hair," says Rajeev Prasad, director of sales and marketing for Las Vegas-based Mill Creek Botanicals.

Natural ingredients can help undo the damage done by petrochemicals

One of the keys to achieving fullness, Prasad says, is Ph-balanced formulation that neither strips hair with acidity nor leaves oily buildup. Another key, especially for thin hair, is to stimulate the blood flow to the scalp while nourishing the root with proteins. The H-24 line is comprised of a shampoo, a conditioner and a leave-in emulsion that is massaged into the scalp after washing.

Ingredients from the sea can be body-boosting, too. "We came up with a combination of essential oils to stimulate the scalp and keep the root or papilla of the hair healthy," says John Masters, owner of the John Masters Organics Salon in New York City. "Then we combined this herbal elixir with ingredients that add body naturally, including carrageen extract from seaweed, nettle extract and panthenol. The synergistic effect of the ingredients helps give hair volume." Masters' line includes a number of products for adding volume and body, such as Deep Scalp Follicle Treatment and Volumizer.

The Sweet Orange and Silk Protein styling gel uses proteins, mushroom extract and sea-algae extract to give hair body without the use of petrochemicals. "Most styling gels contain copolymers, and it can't be good to put a layer of plastic over your hair and scalp," Masters says.

Jason Natural Products, based in Culver City, Calif., recently relaunched new formulations of its Thin to Thick line of hair products. The four-product line includes an elixir containing biotin, folic acid and inositol, all forms of vitamin B. "You massage it into your scalp before bed, and it helps nourish and moisturize the scalp and strengthen the hair shaft," says Catherine Blackwell, brand manager for Jason.

The Thin to Thick system, which also includes shampoo, conditioner and spray, uses vitamins A, C and E for their antioxidant benefits and peppermint to stimulate the scalp. "Though the line targets those with thin hair, many people buy it just to get more body," Blackwell says.

Horsetail extract is another body builder. Compton, Calif.-based Giovanni uses the herb in its Root 66 Max Volume set for its healing qualities and high silica content. The line's lifting spray is also designed to encourage hair to lift off the scalp.

So when your customers come in pining for more voluptuous volume, remember the secrets to naturally full-bodied hair: B vitamins and proteins add thickness and help nourish the follicle. Essential oils help stimulate blood flow to the scalp and hair base. And nourishing natural ingredients in a balanced formula can help undo the damage done by hair-coating petrochemicals and harsh preservatives and foaming agents.

Getting the most from hair care products

When your shoppers yearn for the locks of Eva Mendes or Beyonce, help them get the most out of their body-building products with these tips from spa owner John Masters:

1. A little goes a long way.
"Never overuse anything," Masters says. "A dime-sized amount of conditioner is enough, but most people overdo it."

2. The upside-down trick.
"When you're drying your hair, bend over and force the roots upside down to create more lift."

3. Change up the routine.
"If hair is brittle or has been damaged by color treating, condition first and then shampoo right over the conditioner and rinse them both out together."

4. Try a new blow dryer.
"A ceramic ionic, low-EMF blow dryer works 50 percent to 70 percent faster, locks moisture in and sends out negative ions, which is a good thing," Masters says. The negative ions are said to help hair retain moisture for smoother texture.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXX/number 1/p. 28

Tilapia, Jicama, and Fennel Salad


Serves 4 / Serving tip: Sesame breadsticks are the perfect accompaniment to this hearty salad.

1 medium jicama, peeled and cut into thin strips

1 small fennel bulb, halved, cored, and cut paper thin

1 mango, peeled and sliced

1 jalapeño pepper (or to taste), seeded and finely chopped

2 medium-large pink grapefruits, peeled, pith removed, and sectioned

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or minced green onion

4 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice

¼ cup canola oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 5-ounce tilapia fillets

Olive oil, for brushing

1. In a large bowl, combine jicama, fennel, mango, jalapeño, grapefruit sections, cilantro, and chives; toss together carefully. In a small bowl, whisk together grapefruit juice, canola oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.

2. Preheat broiler. Brush fillets on both sides with olive oil, season generously with salt and pepper, and place on a well-oiled rack. Broil 4 minutes, until cooked through. Do not turn over.

3. Drizzle about 4 tablespoons dressing over salad and toss well. Divide salad onto four plates. Top each with a fillet and serve immediately.

PER SERVING: 392 cal, 23% fat cal, 10g fat, 1g sat fat, 92mg chol, 38g protein, 39g carb, 12g fiber, 139mg sodium