Reduced sodium cold cuts: Avoid them too

Whether you call them cold cuts or luncheon meat, those things you buy in the deli case or from packages in grocery stores, or get in sandwich shops like Subway, all are loaded with sodium. Eating them is strictly a no-no on a low-sodium diet.

Whether you call them cold cuts or luncheon meat, those things you buy in the deli case or from packages in grocery stores, or get in sandwich shops like Subway, all are loaded with sodium. Eating them is strictly a no-no on a low-sodium diet.

I dearly miss cold cuts. As a child, I ate bologna sandwiches daily. On Saturday’s we would have ham, salami, roast beef and bologna sandwiches as a lunch treat. And getting a hero sandwich from the local Italian deli that included salami, ham and a host of other cold cuts was truly amazing.

Subway has pledged to cut the sodium in the cold cuts it uses and I recently noticed some Sara Lee reduced sodium offerings in my local Jewel supermarket. I quickly checked them out, hoping perhaps I could again have some sliced turkey or ham. But when I checked the nutrition panels I was sadly disappointed. Continue reading “Reduced sodium cold cuts: Avoid them too”

Advertisements

Houlihan’s: how I found a healthy option at this old standby

Not only was I surprised by the pleasant new decor, I also was able to get a meal to my low-salt specifications with only some modifying of a menu item.

Casual dining places like Ruby Tuesday’s, Houlihan’s, Applebee’s, TGIFriday, Chili’s, etc. all have a way of blending together in my mind. And they also all spell foods I can’t eat on a low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet (Ruby Tuesday’s salad bar is a wonderful exception). So my wife and I walked into a Houlihan’s in Naperville, a Far west Chicago suburb, for lunch with some trepidation recently. I thought perhaps I could order a stripped-down salad and use my own oil and vinegar as dressing.

But not only was I surprised by the pleasant new decor, I also was able to get a meal to my low-salt specifications with only some modifying of a menu item.

I ordered a five-ounce piece of salmon that normally is cooked basted in a butter sauce; I ordered it without the butter. And instead of mashed potatoes as a side, I asked for two vegetable portions (the meal normally comes with one veggie and the potatoes) and received asparagus and green beans. I asked both be made without butter or salt and that’s how they came out.

The asparagus were grilled as was the salmon and both had a wonderful charcoally flavor to them as a result. A small cup of tartar sauce was served on the side, a bit odd for salmon which doesn’t need something like sauce to taste delicious. I think chefs can’t bear to send out a dish without at least one sauce.

MY wonderful lunch at Houlihan's,
My wonderful lunch at Houlihan’s, salmon without butter or salt, asparagus and beans, also plain. And, for some unknown reason, tartar sauce which I didn’t eat.

For an appetizer, my wife and I ordered edamame without salt. It’s listed as salted on the menu but getting it plain was no problem, which was nice. Continue reading “Houlihan’s: how I found a healthy option at this old standby”

Healthy Takeout Food: I’d think again

And a turkey burger, mentioned in the piece, can be just as fatty as a regular burger depending on whether dark meat turkey was used in it, which it is in most commercial pre-made turkey burgers. My nutritionists warned me off those.

Any article that talks about healthy restaurant food gets my attention, so I was drawn to this piece headlined: “Healthy Takeout Cheat Sheet.” Unfortunately the recommendations left me sadly disappointed.

I've come up with a relatively low-salt, low-fat pizza, but any takeout will have both too much salt and too much fat in the cheese, even without adding meats.
I’ve come up with a relatively low-salt, low-fat pizza, but any takeout will have both too much salt and too much fat in the cheese, even without adding meats.

Basics like don’t get meat on pizza to save on fat are fine if you’re in your 20s or 30s and not all that concerned about fat or salt intake. But for anyone watching fat and salt, pizza is basically off the table, literally. I’ve come up with my own homemade version that cuts fat but is still borderline high in sodium. It’s light years better than any takeout pizza, however. Continue reading “Healthy Takeout Food: I’d think again”

Diet soda and eating more: more sad news

For me, the study just adds more ammunition to how dull my diet has to be to conform with all the concerns out there these days about food and beverages.

I once used diet soda as a substitute for all the sweet, creamy treats I couldn’t have. These days, I’ve cut down on diet soda along with everything else as I redo my eating and drinking habits since having an angioplasty done 18 months ago. But twice a week, I still allow myself a diet beverage.

So I was sad to read this Reuters article about a new study saying people who drink diet beverages tend to consume more calories. Sad, but not really surprised, since I think people regularly assume if they have diet products, they can eat more than they otherwise would and still be ok.

My Super Big Gulp days are over when it comes to diet soda, but I miss it.
My Super Big Gulp days are over when it comes to diet soda, but I miss it.

“People who were overweight or obese generally consumed the same amount of calories a day no matter what they drank, but those who chose diet drinks got more of those calories from food,” the article notes.
Continue reading “Diet soda and eating more: more sad news”

Nutrition labels could be changing

I, for one, would love some direction on sugar and more prominent salt content displays. I think the emphasis on calories alone misses the point of where the calories are coming from.

Do you read the nutrition labels on everything you buy? I can’t imagine not doing that and still being able to stay on a low-salt, low-fat, low-added-sugar diet. I read and compare labels on every packaged food I buy and they often tell me of hidden salt or fat I didn’t know was in something like everyday bread, for example.

Now there’s talk the Food and Drug Administration may be revising the standard nutrition labels. An Associated Press story on the topic notes:

Do you read nutrition labels? They may be changing.
Do you read nutrition labels? They may be changing.

“Nutrition advocates are hoping the agency adds a line for sugars and syrups that are not naturally occurring in foods and drinks and are added when they are processed or prepared. Right now, some sugars are listed separately among the ingredients and some are not. Continue reading “Nutrition labels could be changing”

Mushroom, Chicken Linguini

I’d leave out the salt, switch to skim milk to cut fat, also switch to low-fat parma and whole wheat or multigrain pasta. Should be tasty, can’t wait to try it.

Dinner of Herbs

Mushroom, Chicken Linguini  Dinner of Herbs.jpg

Sometimes I have no idea what I am doing while I am cooking.

I knew we needed to use up the last few King Trumpet mushrooms in the fridge.  Other than that, I had no idea what to do.  I slowly started piecing together ingredients:  Mushrooms…..pasta……chicken….broccoli?

This seemed to be a fairly common combination, but I still had no idea what flavour to add to it, or what sauce.  So, I started looking up recipes.  Sadly, most recipes used a can of cream of mushroom soup.  That was their idea of “mushrooms”.  I don’t like cream of mushroom soup; I don’t think you can trust a food that is grey, and comes out of a can but stays the shape of the can, and just….jiggles.  I had my own mushrooms to use, anyway!

I knew the mushrooms would provide a nice buttery flavour, so I started hunting in the fridge…

View original post 356 more words

Low-fat cake with sugar-free frosting: a taste test

A box of mix sells for $4.38 on the Heart Healthy Market. Frosting also costs $4.38 a box, so a cake that makes four pieces will cost you $8.76 before shipping.

Cakes and chocolate frosting are two things I miss dearly since switching to my low-fat, low-salt, low-added-sugar diet. As a parent of grown children, I sometimes wonder if my offspring realize just how difficult the eating change in my life has been for me. As adults themselves, they have their own lives to live, of course, and looking back I wonder how aware I was of my father’s health problems.

So that said, it was a wonderful surprise to receive a Christmas present from my daughter that shows she is aware of what I’m going through. She sent me a low-fat cake mix along with some sugar-free low-fat frosting mix.

low-salt, low-fat frosting mix
The low-salt, low-fat frosting mix my daughter sent me.
Continue reading “Low-fat cake with sugar-free frosting: a taste test”