First look: McDonald’s 2022 salads – a shadow of what they used to be

McDonald’s has always had a love-hate relationship with salads, offering them primarily for mothers of small children who came demanding Happy Meals. But for me, salads were the only half-healthy item I could eat at McDonald’s, so I modified them to cut salt and carried on.

When the Pandemic hit, McDonald’s pulled salads completely from its U.S. menu. But as this spring arrives, a new McDonald’s salad offering is on store menus. Here’s a first look at the new Southwest Style Salad.

The new McDonald’s salad comes in a deeper plastic bowl than the old one and has a tray of ingredients on top that you add to the salad to build it. I left off the beans.

You can see from my pictures, packaging is radically different than the pre-pandemic Southwest salad. Ingredients are in a little tray that sits atop the lettuce.

Continue reading “First look: McDonald’s 2022 salads – a shadow of what they used to be”

Portion control issues? Here are six hacks to try

How many chips can you eat? Likely the whole bag if you keep it handy. So put some ina small bowl instead.

Portion control is a constant struggle for Americans, we’ve been so conditioned to overeat and always “clean our plates.” I wrote about pre-portioning your snacks as one approach to keep from binge eating treats. Now Cooking Light magazine has tried six other portion control hacks.

These include everything from the color of the plates you use to measuring your portion size with the palm of your hand. There’s also one that counsels to turn off all your screens. Eating while watching TV or being online is a sure way to overeat.

Keeping a food diary also is tried. I used LoseIt for years and it definitely helped, until the point where my daily diet became so repetitious it seemed silly to keep putting it in every day.

A tip to make roasted veggies crispier

Regular readers know I love roasted veggies. You’ll find recipes on my recipe page for roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic lemon broccoli, and roasted vegetables with pumpkin seed gremolata that’s great for special occasion dinners. So when I saw this piece from Eatingwell.com, The #1 Tip for Extra-Crispy Roasted Vegetables, it grabbed my attention.

This simple potato recipe provides a fun summer side dish.
Cornstarch on roasted potatoes? Maybe.

The secret is — cornstarch! Yes, I was surprised too. I use cornstarch primarily to coat my pizza stone so low-salt pizzas we make don’t stick to it while baking.

Keep in mind cornstarch is a refined carb, so don’t use a great deal of it if you’re concerned about heart health or sugar levels in your blood.

The story instructs:

Continue reading “A tip to make roasted veggies crispier”

Healthy fast food alternatives — not exactly but better than some choices

Lists of healthy, or at least the least unhealthy, offerings at fast-food restaurants seem to pop up every year. That’s because those places are ubiquitous. If you’re out and about, it’s hard to avoid them. Plus, if you’re on a restricted diet like I am, every once and a whole you want to feel normal again by eating where the masses eat.

My new tiny oil and vinegar bottles for eating out.
My tiny oil and vinegar bottles for eating out.

This year’s list comes from Good Housekeeping, The 35 Healthiest Fast Food Orders You Can Get at Every Chain. A lot of salads make the list, beware of salt in those and in dressings though. I usually carry my own oil and vinegar in small plastic bottles to avoid salt-laden dressings.

It’s fun to see the classic White Castle slider on this list. “You don’t have to feel bad about enjoying a couple Original Sliders from White Castle — it scores better on the “healthy” scale than even the chicken or fish sliders. But here’s a surprise: if you’re looking for a vegetarian option, go with the Veggie Slider over the Impossible Slider to consume less overall calories and fat,” the article states. It doesn’t;t say anything about having six sliders at a meal as I sometimes do.

Oh well, happy eating.

People still don’t get the connection between salt consumption and poor health

I’ve written about how food processors are not increasing the number of products they sell that have low-sodium claims on them. Maybe its because people still don;t seem to get how harmful all the salt they consume is.

A new survey found that while 64% of Americans know eating too much salt is unhealthy only 37% say they track their salt consumption.

You can read more about the survey — the site won’t let me take excerpts for my blog — by clicking here.

And if you’d like to know the difference between all the salt claims you see on food packages, check this Cooking Light guide to salt claims.

If you find yourself at a fast-food outlet, remember this list

Fast food is not a friend to people trying to eat low-salt, low-fat or low-sugar. I’ve written in the past about such troubles. But let’s face it, fast food outlets are ubiquitous and now that we’re all getting out more, you’re likely one day to find fast food is your only alternative.

McDonald's third-pound sirloin burger has too much salt and fat for me to eat it.

If that happens, review this list 19 Options for Low Sodium Fast Food from Healthline.com. It will give you some least-harmful choices like a baked potato at Wendy’s or soft tacos at Taco Bell (hard shells normally are loaded with salt). A lot of what’s on this list I wouldn’t eat (oatmeal, really?).

But if you do, remember this final warning from the story:

“Be sure to enjoy these foods in moderation, as most are still high in fat, calories, or added sugar.”

For more options when eating out, check my Eating Away from Home Page.

A great guide to grilling times for almost everything

I use these disposable grilling sheets to keep my main grill clean, but this onion trick sounds like a great alternative.

It’s snowing in Chicago today but my mind is already thinking about spring when I can start using my backyard grill for making heart-healthy meals again. I find myself constantly looking up grilling times for various proteins, so I was excited to see this from CookingLight.com, Here’s Exactly How Long to Grill (Almost) Anything.

It has grilling times for chicken, always tricky, beef, pork, fish, shellfish, even vegetables. I’d take a look and print it out since CookingLight.com limits how many articles you can look at each month for free. This is one you’ll likely want to see again and again.

10 best foods for heart health — a guest post

February is national heart month, a time to think about our heart health. If you read my About info, you’ll see I’m a two-time survivor of near-fatal heart incidents. I now head a local chapter of Mended Hearts, a support group for those with heart issues. So I was intrigued when I received this piece and decided to run it as a guest post. If you have any symptoms of heart problems, do not hesitate to see a doctor ASAP. Doing that saved my life, twice!

A whole food, plant-based diet low in sodium and free of fats has been conclusively shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. But which foods are the stars and stewards of healthy hearts?

The list below gives our “Top 10” heart healthy foods. Each item has valuable medical attributes that make them integral ingredients to include in any diet that promotes and maintains heart health.

Continue reading “10 best foods for heart health — a guest post”

Best diets for 2022? Back to basics

A larger dinner veggie plate, very Mediterranean.

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.

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