Vacation eating — joy or fear?

I’m trying to walk a middle ground, which has meant ordering seafood as often as possible and minimizing my pasta, pastry and gelato intake.

Maintaining a heart-healthy diet takes a lot of inner discipline given that we’re surrounded by so many food options that are high in salt, saturated fat and sugar. The task becomes even more daunting when you’re on vacation, especially in a foreign country with even more foods you love.

I’ve been vacationing in Italy, my ancestral homeland, with a large group of cousins. That means meals here have been wonderful family affairs with so many food options its difficult to count them all. But most involve salt and sugar. What to do, fear everything I eat or put diet concerns aside for the duration of the trip?

Pasta portions are smaller in Italy, thankfully.

I’m trying to walk a middle ground, which has meant ordering seafood as often as possible and minimizing my pasta, pastry and gelato intake. Southern Italy is a wonderful place to eat seafoods. I had a piece of amberjack in a light tomato sauce last night, for example, something I rarely see on US menus.

I’ve also had oysters and clams, albeit with pasta. Pasta portion sizes are smaller here than in the US, which is a good thing since we tend to fill plates to overflowing at home.

Gelato, of course, is the hardest goodie to pass up, especially when everyone else keeps pushing for it. And with that, I don’t do small portions well.

Grilled vegetables are on every menu in Italy, a wonderful, simply side dish .

I’m assuming I’ll gain weight on this trip, we’ll see how much when I’m back in the States and have a scale again. Then it will also be back to strictly watching the salt, fat and sugar,

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Cooking Light goes in for some ‘This is Us’ clickbaiting

Cooking Light often has great recipes, some of which I’ve shared on my recipe page. It’s daily e-mails try, as do many others, to come up with the most provocative subject lines imaginable to get us all to open the newsletters. Recently that included trying to piggyback on the popularity of NBC’s This is Us series.

I found the whole thing goofy enough to blog about it, so indulge me.

The Jan. 27 Cooking Light newsletter came with the subject line “Can Your Crock Pot Really Catch on Fire?” This just after the This is Us episode where a faulty pot burns down a house (if you’re a fan, as I am, you know the rest. I hate that neighbor now, don’t you?)

Clean eating crock pot chicken
Clean eating crock pot chicken is a favorite of mine. My wiring is fine.

I chuckled at the topic line not only because I saw it as Cooking Light shamelessly putting out some clickbait tied to This is Us but also because I can just imagine the poor reporter who was assigned that story having to call around to get comments for it.

She ended up talking to customer service at Crock-Pot and quoting someone who had talked about the same topic on the Today show apparently. Continue reading “Cooking Light goes in for some ‘This is Us’ clickbaiting”

Big Game low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar menu options

Holidays and special events like the upcoming Super Bowl LII (or the big game as most marketers’ now call it because they can’t use the term Super Bowl) often are the most difficult times to stay on your preferred eating plan, be it low-salt, low-fat and/or low-sugar. I’ve written a lot about this over the years here, trying to create alternatives you can enjoy.

My low-fat, low-salt manicotti, One of these has 128 calories, 1.8 grams of fat and 70 mgs of sodium. I eat five at a time

My first post about Super Bowl eating dates back to 2013,  shortly  after I started the blog, and it looked at items I bought, like no-salt potato chips and low-fat cookies.

But in subsequent years, I started making my own treats, like my home-made, no-salt, no-fat potato chips.

I also suggested a great entrée like swordfish steaks. That will dazzle and surprise your guests for sure.

As always though, my go-to Super Bowl entrée is whole wheat stuffed manicotti, using fat-free ricotta and fat-free mozzarella. I was just speaking with a group fo heart patients about eating when one mentioned to me how the thinking about fat being evil is being turned upside down these days.  Continue reading “Big Game low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar menu options”

First Look: Innit recipe app has lots of easy-to-follow instructions

The creators of the new Innit recipe and cooking app recently asked me to review it. I’m getting some thank-you items in return (a shopping bag, T-shirt and spatula so far, just thought you should know. That’s not enough to really change what I’m about to say one way or another). The app is free, you can download it by clicking here.

My first impression is Innit is suited to people who don’t like to cook or who have never cooked. Its step-by-step videos, some as basic as how to boil water, can take the novice past any jitters about cooking so they can prepare their own meals rather than relying on take-out every night.

Innit_homescreen
Innit’s_homescreen

The app even provides a shopping list for each dish and can talk to smart appliances  (I don’t have a smart oven, so I can’t test that out).

The app also tells you how long it will take to prepare your meal, giving you an end-time. I’m sure type A people will strive to beat that to show just how good they are.

I was able to find 10 possible recipes. The app’s website says you can personalize recipes to take into account allergies, etc. I haven’t found how to do that yet. I’d like to customize the recipes available to take out fat, salt and sugar, my three evil foods.

One salmon teriyaki recipe,for example, has 3,560 mgs of salt, two days supply for me. I’d substitute Mrs. Dash salt-free teriyaki sauce to cut that considerably. I’ll let you know in a subsequent post if I can find a way to do that.

To find nutritional info for each recipe,you tap on the calorie count to reach the nutrition info screen. Continue reading “First Look: Innit recipe app has lots of easy-to-follow instructions”

Sugar or sleep, which one do you pick most often?

A recent British study seems to confirm something I’ve always known instinctively from my own behavior — people who don’t get enough sleep eat more sugar than those who do.

I know when I was working I regularly would get only 5-6 hours of sleep a night and so eat sugary treats throughout the day to keep going, even though the sugar energy bursts were not all that long-lasting.

Cutting sugar, as found in treats like this, is extremely tough work, confirms a new study.

Now a new study published in  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that people who get at least seven hours sleep a night may be able to eat less sugar than those who get less sleep.

Some participants in the study were counseled on how to get to bed earlier — things like less screen time, not drinking coffee before bed time and establishing a relaxing going-to-bed ritual. Continue reading “Sugar or sleep, which one do you pick most often?”

Pinterest’s Top 10 Food Trends to Watch in2018

January 2018 is almost half over and I still have a lot of January predictions and review stores to post, so I’ll do my best to get them online this week. Here’s the first, a look at Pinterest’s annual Top 10 Food Trends, as reported in Cooking Light magazine.

Imagine low-sodium soups: I applaud the effort, but taste is lacking, big time.
If you plan to join the souping trend, make your own or check salt content, even on so-called low-salt soups.

Continue reading “Pinterest’s Top 10 Food Trends to Watch in2018”

Top 10 No Salt, No Fat, No Sugar recipes for 2017

It’s top 10 year-in-review list time again and we’ll join the trend by writing about our Top 10 Most Viewed No Salt, No Fat, No Sugar Recipes for 2017. Our No Salt, No Fat, No Sugar Recipe Page, featuring scores of recipes we’ve found and/or tried ourselves, was far and away the most viewed thing on our site in 2017, drawing 14,101 views.

Baked mostaccioli, gotta love it, and it’s low salt and low fat.

But I wanted to drill down a little deeper to see which recipes on the page visitors were clicking on most. The results :

  1. Clean Eating Crock Pot Chicken: tried it, loved it.  Unfortunately the source blog for this disappeared, so you’ll have to wing it from the pictures I posted.
  2. Low-sodium Thanksgiving stuffing: here’s how to make it. The secret’s in the bread you start with; you can find sodium-free bread!
  3. Simple can be delicious, try this no-salt chicken recipe.  It’s called Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Baby Potatoes.
  4. 5 low-sodium meals to consider. This links to five recipes on Cafemom.com and thankfully those are still there for you to try.
  5. A Chinese food recipe that actually works as low-sodium? This is a broccoli beef stir-fry recipe form the American Heart Association.
  6. How to make a low-fat, low-salt turkey meatloaf. I love this recipe and make it at least once a month.
  7. Chicken parmigiana for everyone: here’s a low-salt recipe. The secret, again is in the bread, or breadcrumbs in this case. Go with panko, they are generally much lower in salt than other breadcrumbs.
  8. Ahi tuna on the grill, with a lime twist. How can you not love Ahi tuna?
  9. Low-fat mashed potatoes — here’s how. This time, the secret is in the milk and fat used.
  10. Low-salt, low-fat baked mostaccioli. A holiday favorite for me, it’s a splurge but still a lot lower in fat and salt if you use this recipe.

Happy New Year, and check our recipe page for lots more you can cook up in 2018!!!