Main Nutritious Intent Website

Monday, November 28, 2016

This? or That?

There are so many food choices out there, that when it comes making healthy food choices, it goes way past daunting to downright discouraging.  It may be simple for me to say, instead of eating out or eating pre-packaged, processed foods, eat home-cooked meals full of fruits and veggies.  But it’s not always realistic to assume you can always pack the ideal lunch for school or work, or prepare a completely homemade, balanced breakfast or dinner every time.  So, here are some guidelines for knowing to eat this not that when it comes to some common foods most everyone has had in their kitchen at one time or another.

Cereal Choices: 
Raisin Bran - Go as simple as possible to avoid excess added sugars.  It's a great fiber choice and don't let the sugar from the raisins scare you off. It's added sugars we want to avoid.
Chex - Wheat will provide whole grains and more fiber than corn or rice.
Convenience Choices:
Soup - Sodium can vary a lot in canned soups, so choose the lowest sodium option
Frozen pizza - Check total calories as well as sodium content
Chocolate - Choose dark over milk for higher fiber and antioxidants as well as less sugar

Eating out is another opportunity to feel overwhelmed with food choices.  My first tip is to research your favorites sit-down and fast food restaurants.   

Eat this:
Grand turkey club 480 calories 24 g fat 1610 mg. sodium
Not that:
Roast turkey ranch and bacon 800 calories 34 g fat 2420 mg. sodium
Eat this:
Roast beef classic 360 calories 14 g fat 970m mg. sodium
Not that:
Beef ‘n Cheddar Classic 450 calories 20 g fat 1280 mg. sodium
Eat this:
Potato cakes (2 piece) 250 calories 14 g fat 430 mg. sodium
Not that:
Onion rings 420 cal. 21 g fat 1740 mg. sodium

Eat this:
Egg white delight McMuffin 250 calories 8 g fat 720 mg. sodium
Not that:
Big breakfast 750 calories 49 g fat 1490 mg sodium
Eat this:
Double cheeseburger 430 calories 22 g fat 1050 mg. sodium
Not That:
Double quarter pounder with cheese 780 calories, 45 g fat 1310 mg sodium
Eat this:
Hamburger 250 calories 8 g fat 490 mg sodium
Not that:
Chicken McNuggets 6 piece 270 calories 16 g fat 510 mg sodium

Chick fil A
Eat this:
Grilled market salad 320 cal. 14 g fat 600 mg sodium
Not that:
Cobb salad 500 cal 27 g fat 1360 mg sodium
Eat this:
8 count nuggets 270 cal. 13 fat 1060 mg sodium (honey mustard sauce 45 cal. 150 mg sodium)
Not that:
Chicken sandwich 440 cal. 18 g fat 1390 mg sodium

Convenience foods and fast food will most likely play a role (hopefully cameo-sized role) in our eating patterns, and choosing wisely will keep everything on track and in balance nutritionally. 

Holiday Eating on a Budget

When we think of holiday eating, we often think of the strain the extra calories puts on our waistbands, but what about the strain on our wallets?  With additional goodies, gift giving, entertaining and eating out, eating this time of year can be expensive.  Here are a few tips to keep your food budget in check while enjoy the flavors of the season. 

1.    Go potluck when entertaining.  Instead of spending $50-60 dollars throwing a lavish dinner party yourself, farm out some of the dishes and save your favorites to make yourself.  You can easily trim the cost of the evening down by half. 
2.    Keep eating out occasional.  There are all sorts of opportunities to eat out this time of year.  Take a look at your event schedule and make an eating out plan for some, but not all events.  Make an effort to reprogram your thinking.  Just because you’re out shopping, or looking at the lights, doesn’t require an expensive meal out. 
3.    Be restaurant savvy. Restaurants generally have a big markup on non-alcoholic drinks and items such as pasta, pizza and dessert. When you do eat out, drink water, and skip dessert.  Split your order and take half home to enjoy for lunch or dinner the next day or two. 
4.    Plan your leftovers in to your weekly menu.  For example, If you’re having a large family dinner and cooking a roast, plan to use the leftover beef in a beef and barley soup, or for BBQ beef sliders.  Take stock of your fridge and freezer and work those items into your menu before they liquefy in your veggie drawer or taste like freezer burn.  We hang on to and freeze leftovers with the best intentions.  Now is the season to feast on those intentions.

5.    Shop seasonal.  A flourless chocolate cake topped with raspberries might seem festive, but you’re better off making a cranberry cake than spending a fortune on out of season produce.  Sautéed root veggies instead of fresh asparagus, citrus and apples instead of berries and tropical fruit are other examples of enjoying the flavors of the season while saving your pocketbook.

The key is planning ahead and sticking with your plan.  Not only will this prevent going overboard on your spending, but on your calorie intake as well. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thanksgiving: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

As I think about and start cooking for Thanksgiving, I can't help but break into song, "these are a few of my favorite things . . ."  But in place of "blue satin sashes" and "snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes," I'd have to substitute cranberry sauce and cherry pie.  Yes I love the turkey (especially a brined turkey, see Wolfgang Puck's recipe: - slight disclaimer, this is a labor and time intensive recipe, but oh-so-worth-it!), but I also love the sides.  I'm a big fan of the cranberry relish - you know the one with the cranberries and whole oranges all ground up with a little sugar.  However, I like other types of cranberry sauces.  One recipe that I've adapted from the Barefoot Contessa's Cranberry Fruit Conserve recipe is my
Cranberry Compote:

In a medium saucepan combine:
1 bag (12 oz) fresh cranberries, rinsed*
1 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 granny smith apple peeled and diced
1 orange - zest and juice
1 lemon - zest and juice
Bring all these ingredients to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Let cool and chill.  
*Fresh cranberries freezer very well.  When cranberries are in the grocery stores, I always toss a few bags in the freezer to use throughout the year.  
This recipe makes a great sauce for a leftover turkey sandwich, as well as enjoyed alone in a bowl with a spoon!

Another of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is of course the pie.  Call me a heretic, but pumpkin pie doesn't do it for me.  Not a fan.  So while my husband bakes and enjoys his pumpkin pies (If I don't eat it, I shouldn't bake it . . . right?), I bake and enjoy lattice-topped tart cherry pie.  Ever since I can remember, this is always what I chose as dessert for my birthday dinner growing up. Lots of candles in cherry pie come July.  Anyway, I've put the recipe for this cherry pie and the fantastically flaky pie crust on my other blog.  Click on the cherry pie link below for the full recipe.

Well, all this talk about Thanksgiving won't get dinner prepped and on the table, so I'd better start cooking.  Whatever Thanksgiving food favorites and traditions you have, be sure to savor and enjoy the entire process from preparation to digestion.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Thank Heavens for Thanksgiving!

While most people view Thanksgiving as the most notorious meal of the year for over-indulgence and gluttonous calorie consumption, I propose that Thanksgiving may just be the most healthful meal of the year. Wow – did a dietitian imply that we enjoy Thanksgiving guilt-free?  You bet.  Here’s how:

1.    Think beyond the main meal.  November is National Diabetes Awareness month and Thanksgiving can be a tricky time for any of the 29 million Americans with diabetes.  Plan healthful snacks such as pumpkin pie popcorn mix.  California raisins are all natural, no sugar added, dried by the sun fruit with one ingredient: raisins.  And a 12-week study of individuals with type 2 diabetes showed that regular consumption of raisins instead of snack crackers positively impacted post-meal glucose levels and systolic blood pressure. So to keep blood sugar under control, it’s important to keep the carbohydrate intake consistent throughout the day.  
2.    Think about the menu.  First of all, it is a refreshing change to have a meal that is driven by culture and tradition instead of marketing.  Food is not just about a calculated sum total of calories and nutrients, but also about tradition, culture and identity.  So embrace your unique or typically American traditions when it comes to this yearly feast. 
3.    Veggies and fruits usually play large supporting role.  Turkey may take center stage for this meal, but when you tally up all the seasonal veggie and fruit side-dishes, they often outweigh the bird when it comes to plate space.  Healthful recipes of potatoes, yams, beans, corn, cranberries, fruit salads etc. are an excellent way to up the produce in your diet.  This may be the one time during the year that Americans easily meet or exceed the proposed daily 9 servings of fruits and vegetables. 
4.    It’s homemade.  Typically, the Thanksgiving meal is prepared at home.  How many other meals can claim that ideal title during the year?  With the daily grind and the hectic pace of today’s society, so many meals come in Styrofoam, plastic, or microwaveable cardboard.  There’s a huge nutritional disparity between processed and prepared at home. 
5.    It’s enjoyed with family.  We eat lots of meals with many loved ones throughout the year, but in reality, how many meals do we really enjoy?  We may be squeezing dinner in between music lessons and soccer practice, inhaling it in the car on our way to some event or other, or zoning out with the TV at mealtime.  Thanksgiving is a long, lingering meal that we savor, and enjoy while renewing relationships with those most important to us.  This is a vital and often overlooked role of food. 

The rest of our mealtimes during the year could stand to take a lesson from this yearly feast.  So with the culture, tradition, produce-packed, homemade, enjoyable meal – I say thank heavens for Thanksgiving!