New 2010 Dietary Guidelines released. Selected Messages for Consumers:
Enjoy your food, but eat less. Avoid oversized portions.
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals-and choose the foods with lower numbers.
Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
Interesting article. How do you use your smartphone?
“There’s been a very rapid sea change in consumer behavior,” said Elliott Grant, the chief marketing officer for HarvestMark. “With very high-profile food recalls, cellphones and iPhones, people have been trained that they can access information very quickly. They want to know, ‘Where does this come from and is it safe? How far has it traveled? What are the growing practices?’ “
HarvestMark is being used by more than 200 companies, including the national chain Kroger’s, which is applying it to all of its private label fruits and vegetables in its more than 2,400 stores.
Not only does the technology provide information about the food, but it also allows the consumer to send a comment to the farmer, Grant said. “You can click a button and tell the farmer ‘These are the greatest strawberries I’ve ever had’ or whatever. . . . It’s about using technology to put people back in touch with the people who grow their food.”
I was listening to a local radio host the other morning complaining about being in a buffet line when a young boy coughed while filling his plate. The radio host was asking for listener input as to whether or not he should have said anything to the parent (who was heard telling the child to cover his mouth while she sat at the table). You can imagine the responses he got for that question! Everything from mind your own business to tell the manager that some food and utensils need to be replaced. But I didn’t hear a single listener comment on the sensibility of going through buffet lines during cold and flu season. You take an inherent risk in catching germs in this environment. Just think about how many possibilities there are for one infected person to spread their germs to the remainder of diners in one afternoon or evening. Begin with the door handle to the restaurant, the stack of plates, the serving utensils that never get replaced, the “sneeze guard” that is taller than most children and some adults, and the food itself that is exposed to sneezes, coughs and hands. If you are trying to stay healthy and avoid catching the flu or other cold viruses, avoiding buffet lines is one simple step. We all know washing our hands is critical in not passing our germs on to others, so unless you can honestly say that every diner before you in line has taken the utmost precautions, best to steer clear for now. How do you feel about buffet lines or eating out in general during flu season? I would love to hear your input.
Have you stuck to your meal plan all week, did you make it to the gym or accomplish your running goals this week? If you feel like you deserve a little celebration this weekend because you were vigilant about your calories, food choices, exercise habits, etc; then go ahead and reward yourself! Choosing non-food related rewards are always a good option; such as a mani-pedi, a new lovely scented lotion, or a “date” with your spouse or child where you have uninterrupted time to really talk and share your week with each other. Please share some of your rewards with readers.
On the other hand, sometimes we want to share food and drink with our friends and not feel like we totally blew our good week! Meal planning is still the key here. If you can plan your appetizers, main dish, sides, desserts and beverages ahead of time you have a better chance of sticking closer to your intended calorie consumption. Here’s a beverage idea to help get you started!
Low-calorie Margarita (serves 4)
Combine 4 shots quality tequila (preferably 100% agave); 3 shots Triple Sec or other orange liquor; 3 shots fresh squeezed lime juice. Mix together.
Fill 4 glasses with crushed ice. Split the above margarita mix equally between each glass, top each glass with Fresca or other no-calorie citrus flavored soda. Enjoy!
Nutrition info: the recipe as written, divided among 4 glasses is 194 kcal per drink. If you want to lower it more then reduce the amount of triple sec. Here is the individual ingredient information.
Tequila =64 kcal/oz
Triple Sec =80 kcal/oz
Fresh squeezed lime =7.7kcal/oz.
Fresca is 0 kcal.
Typically one shot is 1.5 ounces each.
Note: If you are in Texas or just like spicy drinks, try a jalapeno infused tequila and make this mix a Mexican Martini by leaving out the fresca and adding a splash of olive juice and jalapeno stuffed olives!
My 10 year old was primarily responsible for this dinner last night, as it was just the two of us for dinner so we decided to go with something simple and quick. Teaching kids how to plan and prepare meals is tremendously helpful for them. They learn more about where their food comes from, they practice math and measuring skills, you can talk about food groups and nutritionally balanced meals and they develop a better appreciation for the meals in front of them. Cooking can also be a hands-on science experiment, especially baking bread where they can see the chemical changes taking place. The nutritional benefit to having kids help with meal planning and preparation is that they are more likely to try new foods (think vegetables ) if they have a hand in selecting and preparing them.
Here is what we made last night with only 5 main ingredients on hand!
Tortellini and Spinach soup with grilled cheese sandwich.
Soup: V8 juice, frozen cheese tortellinis, fresh spinach
Grilled Cheese: whole wheat bread, extra sharp Vermont Cheddar cheese.
We poured about 2 cups of V8 juice into a medium saucepan and added dried basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Add to that about 2 cups of frozen tortellinis (my kids LOVE pasta-use less if you are counting calories) and heat over medium heat until pasta is cooked through. Because I had fresh baby spinach on hand, I put my spinach fresh in my bowl and then ladled the soup over the top. If you have frozen spinach on hand then add that to the soup with the tortellinis and cook all together. Fresh basil goes great with the soup as well, unfortunately my garden is currently frozen!
The grilled cheese is pretty simple. We use whole wheat bread, a very light spread of Smart Balance on the outside of the bread and one slice of extra-sharp Cheddar cheese. I love my cast iron panini pan as it makes these great looking grill marks and the top press cover helps melt the cheese without overcooking the outside of the bread.
This was too good not to share. Thanks to Darya Pino at Summer Tomato for creating this fun diagram.
I have always recommended that you shop the perimeter of the grocery store to find the healthiest foods. This flowchart pretty much says the same thing, in a fun lighthearted manner. By sticking to the outside of any grocery store you will be focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats and dairy/eggs. Add in your staples of grains (preferably whole grain: rice, pasta, cereal, bread), some dried or canned beans and you have a complete meal plan. All the other interior isles in a grocery store are primarily processed, low-nutrient filler foods and condiments. That’s where a list comes in handy! If you need hot sauce, mustard, canned artichoke hearts, nuts or other fairly healthy canned/jarred foods make one trip down that interior isle for ONLY the foods on your list. And don’t always be tempted by the end of aisle attention grabbers! They aren’t always sale items that are a good deal, sometimes it’s food that the store needs to unload because of overstock.
Next time you are at your favorite grocery store, take a moment to really notice the layout and begin to organize your shopping list according to how you can most efficiently move through the store. This will help cut down the time you spend wandering the isles.
warm and hearty breakfast!
Thought I would share my favorite winter breakfast food with you today. This warm and satisfying bowl of oatmeal helps me get through a morning workout and starts me off on the right foot towards reaching my calcium needs each day. Being a non-milk drinker, I have to work harder at meeting my calcium needs. Aside from yogurt, cheese and calcium fortified orange juice, my new favorite product is the Silk line of almond milks (they have everything from unsweetened plain to the sweetened vanilla). Calcium and Vitamin D are not only important for strong bones, but have also been shown to protect against high blood pressure, diabetes and weight gain.
Making oatmeal (any variety from instant to stove top cooked) with milk instead of water is a good way to boost your calcium intake. If you are not using cow’s milk, be sure your milk alternative is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
Andrea’s hearty Oatmeal
½ cup Quaker quick 1-minute oats
1 cup Silk Pure vanilla flavored Almond milk (calcium fortified)
1 tbsp slivered almonds
1 tbsp dried cranberries
Mix oatmeal and milk and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes, stir and top with almonds and cranberries. Enjoy!
Nutrition Facts: 1 Serving Calories 332.2 Total Fat 10.5 g Saturated Fat 0.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat 2.2 g Monounsaturated Fat 4.1 g Cholesterol 0.0 mg Sodium 150.5 mg Potassium 254.0 mg Total Carbohydrate 54.9 g Dietary Fiber 6.8 g Sugars 24.3 g Protein 8.0 g Vitamin D 25.0 % Vitamin E 62.4 % Calcium 45 % Iron 14.6 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Food groups included: Whole grain, dairy, nuts and fruit.
To boost your vitamin C and make this a complete meal, add a piece of citrus fruit or 6 oz juice. Rio Red grapefruits are in season and delicious!
Exercise because you enjoy it and know it’s good for you in so many ways.
New Year’s resolutions to lose weight are extremely frequent, but how one approaches this goal can be very different from another. I recommend taking a lifelong approach to improve your overall eating and exercise habits. Weight gain did not happen overnight, and weight loss will not be permanent unless we make healthy changes that we intend to stick with for the long haul. I still remember my college professor saying “there are only two ways to lose body fat: cut it out or burn it up!” The way we burn excess body fat is by having a calorie deficit at the end of each day….this means that you burn more calories than you consumed. Well, doesn’t exercise burn calories, you ask? Yes, indeed it does, and we also burn calories by just being us (our basal metabolic rate), by moving through our everyday activities, and the thermal effect of digesting food. Moderate to vigorous exercise burns additional calories and should be accounted for when we calculate our daily calorie balance, but additional exercise usually also makes us hungrier! The point I wish to make is that we shouldn’t focus solely on exercising more so that we can afford to eat more. We need to look at our daily intake and ask ourselves 3 serious questions: 1) am I eating an appropriate amount and making the healthiest choices available to me; 2) am I eating because I’m hungry or is there another motivation for my snacking; and 3) am I eating breakfast and at regular intervals to maintain my energy? There are many great websites to help you keep track of your food intake as well as calculate your energy (calorie) needs. If you are finding it a challenge getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet, try the mypyramid plan at http://www.mypyramid.gov/mypyramid/index.aspx to show you how much of each food group is appropriate for your calorie needs.
What are some of your tricks to help you stay focused on your new lifestyle changes?
With this new year I am looking to stretch myself and add new social media venues to my toolbox to help spread healthy eating messages!