Friday, February 3, 2012

Superbowl Sense

I know very little about the Superbowl; to be frank, I have probably only seen it a few times in my life. Over the years however, I have come to be pretty familiar with the Superbowl in regards to the food associated with it- but sadly, my knowledge of football has not improved. The Superbowl, as with many other social activities, has developed its own food repertoire- mostly centered on food that is convenient to eat while watching a television. As a nutritionist, I feel confident going on record to say that eating while watching TV is never a good idea, but on certain occasions such as this, it is going to be done. The food is typically finger food, or food that you don’t have to necessarily look at, since, again you will be focused on TV or socializing. Alcohol also plays a leading role in this festivity- and the food that is eaten pairs accordingly. So, how does one who typically strives to eat balanced and healthy make it comfortably through this event? Here are some tips:

Go in with a game plan in regards to alcohol and food intake. Remember, that game plans often have to be re-evaluated mid game- so don’t feel bad if it doesn’t go exactly as planned.

CHIPS: buy baked chips and avoid the fried ones. When serving yourself, put them in a bowl and try not to eat directly out of the bag.

Do your best to ensure there is a veggie plate. If you are making it, then make or buy a low-fat dip that uses yogurt instead of sour cream.

What really adds on the calories, fat, and sodium is often the cheese. If there are nachos, go for the guacamole and salsa instead of the cheese.

Try to buy lean meat and/or grass fed beef if burgers are being served. Buy whole wheat buns instead of white buns.

Chicken wings appear to be a MUST during the Superbowl (I know, I have watched my husband eat about 30 at one game). Steer clear of the sauce served with it, and be mindful of the amount consumed.

Drink WATER. Even if you feel silly with a beer in front of you and a glass of water. Staying properly hydrated is super important, especially when you are drinking and eating high fat and sodium heavy foods.

Chili is actually a great main dish to serve, and it takes about 15 minutes to make. Use either lean meat or turkey. Serve with avocado.

Remember that anything you make at home will be healthier than what you buy at the store.
Most importantly, enjoy what you are eating. Stand by your decisions- if you really want to eat a hot dog, eat one, know that it is not the best choice, and move on. So many times the stress of celebratory occasions that involve food cause us to overeat or feel guilty- the Superbowl comes once a year, and its isn’t every year that the Pats are involved. The food that is often served at this event may not be the healthiest, but there are certainly ways to stay mindful, and make the better choice, even if it isn’t the best. I have included a great recipe of a bean/tomato dish that you can serve on good whole wheat crostini or mix with some avocado and olives and eat as a stew.

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
5 Cloves of garlic sliced
30 oz of Cannellini Beans (Canned)
14 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes

1) Sautee Garlic and Sage over low-med heat until Garlic is Golden
2) Add Beans and Season w/ Black pepper or a pinch of cayenne
3) Stir Mix together and add tomatoes, simmer for 15 minutes

Recipe provided by Tony Carbone, local Boston chef

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ice Cream for Lunch

The other day I had ice cream for lunch. Yes, I know, I am a nutritionist and I should know better, and yes I know, I have told hundreds of people that ice cream was not the best lunch. But I was really craving it! So I allowed myself to have a big bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate peanut butter cups in it (by the way for those of you who know me well, I only like ice cream with "stuff" in it). I tried to justify my lunch selection by telling myself "well it has calcium and since this is all I am having for lunch it isn't too high amount ofcalories", I even went so far as thinking "I have my period, AND I have to pump twice today, so that has to count for something".....sound familiar?? Even though I counsel people on how to eat for a living, I don't make the best choices all of the time. I think part of my success as a nutritionist is relating to how people feel about food. As soon as I finished the bowl, I was reminded once again why ice cream is not a good choice for lunch. It makes me feel sick and it doesn't satisfy me. The milk made me feel lethargic and mucousy, the sugar me me feel super hyper and then turned me into a sloth. And the chocolate peanut butter things? Okay, I do love those, but they definitely had their share in making me stomach feel bloated.
Don't get me wrong, I love ice cream, but it wasn't the right choice to keep me going through the day, give me a balanced gentle full feeling, or set a good example for my 15 month old. The funniest part? She was eating a sliced hard boiled egg, steamed vegetables, and a bit of time I need to take her lead!
Lunch is a hard meal for a lot of people. I think it is especially hard for moms that are at home for the children. So often we make food for them first, and then eat their leftovers or grab ourselves a piece of bread with peanut butter. That's why I recommend making enough at dinner so you have leftovers in the morning. There is nothing like opening your fridge and realizing that you have a meal already made for you (granted YOU made it last night, but still...). Also, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have some really good frozen burritos and other dishes that aren't too high in sodium and actually taste pretty good. Eggs make a perfect lunch too- throw some veggies in of any kind, add some herbs and there you go! Your kids will like it too. You can also take a cue from your toddler, for example of you are giving them yogurt- have some yogurt yourself, if they are eating vegetables, have some too :).
Going back to the ice cream for lunch, it isn't necessarily the calories or saturated fat that one needs to worry about, it is the fact that it is taking up precious time that one could be eating food that is so much better for you nutritionally. So the next time I get a craving for ice cream at noon, I am going to make myself a hummus and vegetable sandwich first and then see if I still want it afterwards. I probably won't.
We can all strive to make the best decisions for ourselves, but we aren't perfect. It is from the mistakes that we learn what is best for us. The kind to yourselves, listen to your body, make mindful food choices, and ENJOY what you eat.

Friday, June 11, 2010

lunch date at whole foods

My daughter and I just came home from our lunch date at Whole Foods. As we shared our chicken burrito, I couldn't help but look around at what others were eating. Actually, first I looked at what I was eating. The burrito was HUGE, it had chicken, rice, black beans, guacemole, corn, and a bit of cheese. The wrapper itself must have been 150-200 calories. Granted, when I was designing it I was thinking of Izzy (my 15 month old), but if I had eaten that burrito all by myself I probably would have consumed between 700 and 800 calories. It wasn't all bad, as it contained good sources of protein, carbs, and fat- BUT I couldn't help but think that so many people would eat that whole burrito thinking that it is "healthy" because it was from Whole Foods.
So the food choices that others were eating:
beans with melted cheese and rice
huge sandwiches, bags of chips, and all natural soda

just to name a few....I didn't see one person eating a salad that didn't contain about a dozen things that pretty much made that salad just a hodgepodge of extras all negating the health potential of that salad.
The truth is is that most of the food at the prepared food section at Whole Foods is not made with their free range meat, contains a lot of sugar and salt, and generally the portions are way to large. On a positive note, the prepared section is now so large, there is still so many options that would fit into almost anyone's nutrition plan. The key is to not get sucked into thinking that everything is healthy because of the name of the store. Think about portion, nutrients, and make mindful choices.

I also want to add that eating at a grocery story can be VERY dangerous, especially Whole Foods, because there is much wonderful food for any foodie. After I finished my lunch, I was thinking "how great would it be to have something sweet now, and hey, the bakery/gelato is right on the other side of the cafe (how convenient, right?). I didn't get anything else, as I waited a few minutes and realized that I was really full, and what I really wanted was a bit of water. That did get me thinking of how many people overeat because they realize that there is an entire store filled with anything they want right on the other side of their table. Hmmmm......
So again, remember that when you are at Whole Foods- focus on the foods that are WHOLE, that is where the goodness is. Maybe after you have lunch, you can go back through the aisles and grab a new green veggie to try for dinner, or a tea to brew overnight for the morning. Explore the bulk section- never had quinoa? Get a couple scoops of it and try it with some fresh fish and fresh salad. That's what Whole Foods is good for :).
Happy Eating!

food thought of the day

As a nutritionist, I think I must talk about yogurt at least half dozen times a day. which one is better? nonfat or low-fat? Greek? Australian? Fruit at the bottom? What if you add your own fruit? How much granola is okay to put in it?
Here it is. First off, you have to like what you are eating. With that being said, sometimes it takes a few times eating something to really appreciate the taste- expanding your pallette is one of the best things you can do for yourself in terms of your health. But if you don't like blueberry yogurt, don't eat it. Have raspberry.
The best way to eat yogurt is to buy plain low-fat yogurt (I love Fage), put it in a bowl, add fruit, and decorate with granola or sliced almonds if you need "crunch". You know that you have added too much if all you can see is the granola. If you need more sweet- drizzle with a bit of honey. Yogurt is a great food because of the probiotics it contains (helps your digestive system)- so when you look at the ingredients you want to see words like acidophilis.
The Chobani brand has a fantastic 0% yogurt with fruit. I surprised myself when I realized I like this because I thought I hated fruit at the bottom yogurt. I think I have realized what I hated was having to stir it all up. So I guess I was being lazy. Kindof how I dislike natural peanut butter because stirring it makes such a mess and drives me up the wall. But once I do it, it is so worth. speaking of which I can go for a piece of toast and peanut butter.
One more thing about yogurt, it makes a great breakfast or snack, as long as it fills you up for about 2 hours. If it doesn't, play around with different combos- like nixing the granola and having a pice of toast with flax oil instead (along with yogurt).
More in a bit......

Friday, January 29, 2010

hungry cricket all by her lonesome

I am new to this whole blog world. Its strange to think that people will be reading what I write. It makes me a bit uncomfortable because I have never been a "creative writer". With that being said, I do believe I am a good storyteller, so I am going to have a go at this blogging thing and see how it turns out.
This week has been LONG. I definitely overbooked myself- finding balance is a constant struggle for me. Its funny because part of my job is to help others find balance in their life- with the foods they eat, the wine they drink, and the exercise they do.
Sooooo...this first post is going to be short. Izzy, my 11 month old daughter is asleep, my husband is out with a friend for some drinks, and I have the house to myself to cuddle with my dog- but not before I make myself something to eat. To be honest, I have very little motivation to cook anything- but I am definitely hungry. The small handful of cheerios I shared with my daughter just made me more hungry. My theory on cereal: A bowl of cereal just makes you want more cereal". There are some exceptions to this rule. If you put fruit, like berries or banana in your cereal, than it will do a much better job at providing satiety. My daughter can eat a whole box of cereal- and nearly did, the last time my father babysat for her!
So tonight, I am going to whip up something quick, my version of "pizza". I use whole wheat na'an bread. I drizzle it with a bit of olive oil, throw on some chopped tomato, haloumi cheese (a sheep's milk cheese that cooks without getting all melty gooey- very cool), and then dust with mint. Cook it on 425 for just a few minutes. Then I will have a side salad of spring mix, cucumbers, artichoke hearts and balsamic vinegar. YUM.....
Oh, and once again, I am going to try to become a tea drinker. So, I will make a cup of tea, whether I drink it or not? We shall have to wait and see.....Stay warm everyone!
chirpy chirp :)