I’ve written a lot about all the low-salt, low-fat and low-sugar food items that have disappeared during the pandemic as processors and restaurants concentrate only on their highest volume offerings. McDonald’s salads were an early pandemic food casualty.
But I think they’re coming back. I recently stopped at a local McDonald’s for some diet Coke, really the only thing I’ve ordered there since they dropped salads and yogurt.
My order came with a flyer listing a ‘buy a salad, get one free’ offer at some local McDonald’s (presumably all owned by the same franchisee).
I checked my app for my local McDonald’s and see one salad, the Ceasar chicken, again available for order. The Southwest Salad is listed as not available.
Let’s be clear, there are many, many other lunch choices that would be healthier than a McDonald’s salad which is still loaded with salt. Healthier lunch choices would be things you make yourself so you can control the salt, fat and sugar content.
But if you have to buy lunch at McDonald’s, the salad is the least unhealthy choice. Don’t use the dressings, there add even more salt. Carry your own in small plastic bottles like I used to do pre-pandemic.
Sea bass is usually an expensive fish, but if you get a deal on it (as I did buying in bulk at Costco), here’s a simple baked bass recipe that I found surprisingly tasty and quick to make. You can find the complete recipe on Food.com.
First, the ingredients, most if not all of which, you should already have handy:
1lb sea bass (cleaned and scaled)
3 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon italian seasoning or 1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves
2 teaspoons fresh coarse ground black pepper [I found this a lot of pepper, adjsut accordingly]
1 teaspoon salt [omit this to stay low-salt}
2 lemon wedges
1⁄3 cup white wine vinegar (optional) or 1/3 cup white wine [I used white wine vingar, it made the dish].
To make the dish:
Preheat oven to 450F°.
In a cup, mix garlic, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
Place fish in a shallow glass or ceramic baking dish.
Rub fish with oil mixture.
Pour wine or vinegar over fish.
Bake fish, uncovered, for 15 minutes; then sprinkle with parsley or Italian seasoning and continue to bake for 5 more minutes (or until the thickest part of the fish flakes easily).
Drizzle remaining pan juices over fish and garnish with lemon wedges.
I served my sea bass with a side if steamed carrots as you can see in my photo.
Remember when supermarkets put out cards with recipes on them? These used to be pretty common at fish counters especially. Well, that function has moved online — you may find it helpful when doing your own weekly meal planning.
I recently got an email from the Jewel supermarket chain (which is owned by Albertson’s) about a meal planning option in its app. My first reaction was that it would feature high-salt, high-fat, high-sugar processed ingredients. But I was pleasantly surprised.
The app let’s you begin by putting in your dietary restrictions. It doesn’t;t include low-salt as one, unfortunately, I put in carb-conscious instead. Other restrictions I included were dairy-free, no nuts, no soy sauce, no eggs and no sulfites.
Every year starts with a flurry of stories about diets and people making resolutions to lose weight. We’ve all gained Covid weight haven’t we, sitting around these past two years with no particular place to go?
I just wrote a post about the Mediterranean Diet, which constantly seems to rank at the top. So I wasn’t surprised to see this FoodNetwork.com piece rating it among the three top diets for 2022.
The D.A.S.H. Diet, a close cousin of the Mediterranean, is on here too. The third one is the Flexitarian Diet. This involves a “mix of mostly vegetarian foods, with the freedom to eat meat whenever you feel like it,” FoodNetwork.com reports. That sounds a lot like the first two to me. See what you think, just click here to see the complete article.
One-pan dinners have become a thing during Covid as people who never cooked before look for simple recipes to make at home. I wrote about one salmon one-pan recently and here’s another from EatingWell.com, rosemary roasted salmon.
It includes salmon, asparagus and potatoes, all roasted together in one sheet pan. The sodium per portion, 711 mgs, seems a little high. I’d leave the salt out of the recipe. One teaspoon of salt has 2,325 mgs of sodium, much more than one day’s worth for anyone monitoring their salt intake.
The recipe and prep details, along with nutrition information:
Our site, the No Salt, No Fat, No Sugar Journal, topped 80,000 views in 2021 for the first time in its nine-year history, easily surpassing its previous one-year high of 65,965 views set in 2017.
The number of visitors to the site in 2021 also was a record at 43,500, surpassing the previous high of 34,800 set in 2020.
“The Pandemic has caused people to cook at home more and they’re looking for healthy recipes,” says Journal Founder and Editor John N. Frank. “Our recipe page was by far the most popular item on our site last year with more than 16,000 views, followed by our home page with 11,100 views”
“People who have dropped salt are looking for flavor alternatives for their cooking. Salt-free teriyaki sauce is a must for anyone trying to do healthier Asian recipes,” Frank explains.
Frank launched the blog in 2013, not long after his first stent was inserted. HE has since survived a second stent as well. More than 234,000 visitors have come to his blog since its founding, with more than 4445,000 views.
With Thanksgiving over, I was looking for ideas on how to use all the turkey we had left. I decided to make some soup using low-sodium ingredients and whatever I could find in my refrigerator.
The result was tasty and low-salt, not as easy trick for soup.
I started with two boxes of leftover low-sodium broth, one chicken and one beef, that we had in our refrigerator. I had used the chicken broth to inject into my Thanksgiving turkey to moisten it up from the inside.
Next, I looked in our veggie drawer to see what we had — I found a leek, an onion, some small tomatoes, baby carrots and mushrooms. All were cut up and went into my soup. For seasoning, I used a salt-free Italian spice mixture and pepper. And I took pieces of turkey from our leftover, including a turkey wing with its skin to add some fat content and flavor. I discarded the wing before eating the soup but left other bits of turkey meat in it.
I reduced the veggies a bit in olive oil in my big soup pot before adding the broth and letting it simmer for a few hours to blend and build the flavors.
I loved the result, the mushrooms gave some heft to it all and gave me something to chew so I wasn;t just slupring liquid. The cherry tomatoes were fun to bite into as well, tasting their juices as I squeezed them.
I splurged with a small dinner roll which I dunked in the soup. You could really taste the salt in the roll using it that way.
My apology for not having a more formal recipe, don’t be afraid to experiment yourself, adding whatever you have on hand. Anything you create will be lower in sodium than almost every canned soup out there!
Anyone with heart issues, or anyone who wants to eat healthy, should be familiar with the Mediterranean Diet, it consistently comes out on top in comparisons of popular diet trends, as I wrote here. So here’s a great holiday gift idea — The Everything Green Mediterranean Cookbook.
Author Peter Minaki put this together during the Pandemic to help people lose weight and get in shape after all the pandemic pounds they may have gained.
And while the name might lead you to think otherwise, there are fish and chicken recipes in here, just no red meat options. If you love artichokes like I do, you’ll find some interesting recipes for those, along with a variety of other options.
Each of the 200 recipes includes nutrition information so you can gauge salt, fat and sugar content and make ingredient substitutions as you like.
Amazon sells the book for $15.19 new, prices vary across various websites.
Are you tired of turkey yet? If, like a lot of us, a week of eating Thanksgiving leftovers is a bit much for you, here are five sites offering creative ways to make those leftovers into something else. Just beware, not all of these are naturally low-salt or low-fat, so adjust recipes accordingly.
9 Great Recipes for Leftover Turkey. One of those annoying slide shows where you have to keep clicking to see each recipe. But the good news is the recipes themselves do list nutrition information including salt content.