Be salad smart when eating out

See the word salad on a menu and you assume it’s got to be the healthiest thing on there, right? Wrong, unfortunately. Restaurants love to load up salads with any and every unhealthy thing, like fried foods, to destroy the basic salad.

You're left with a relatively healthy salad with chicken.
You’re left with a relatively healthy salad with chicken.

WebMD recently ran this guide on what to avoid in restaurant salads.  Basics you should already kn0w — avoid creamy dressings, croutons and lots of cheese on a  salad, they’re all fat bombs waiting to destroy your insides.

Olive oil and vinegar is the best dressing option. I now carry my own with me because I’m continually surprised how many places don;t offer that as an option.

Sadly, one option I do like, dried cranberries, is on the bad list here because of the amount fo sugar in dried fruit. Bye cranberries. Continue reading “Be salad smart when eating out”

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Find the hidden sugar…and help yourself eat healthier

Salt, incredibly high amounts of salt, hides in almost all processed and restaurant foods. That’s why I spend so much time looking at food labels and writing here about low- and no-salt alternatives to salty products. Check my smart shopping page and my ingredients page for those.

I've found two brands of low-sodium,low-sugar ketchup, Westbrae and LocalFolks Foods.
I’ve found two brands of low-sodium,low-sugar ketchup, Westbrae and LocalFolks Foods.

But sugar also hides in many foods and these days nutritionists think too much sugar may do as much if not more harm to your body as too much salt does. Continue reading “Find the hidden sugar…and help yourself eat healthier”

Eating fresh means knowing when to dump old food too

Heart-healthy approaches to eating usually emphasize eating a lot of fresh, rather than processed, foods. That means your refrigerator should be stocked with fresh produce, fresh fish and fresh chicken, depending on your tastes.

Start with white meat chicken. Cut it into bite-sized cubes.
How long can you keep chicken in your refrigerator, even after you’ve frozen it? Check this list.

But how long can you keep those before they start to spoil, even in the refrigerator?

WebMD has a handy illustrated guide, although the first thing that struck me about it is that we shouldn’t be eating many fo the items covered here — like deli meats, Mayonnaise, butter, most high-fat ground beef and cheese. Continue reading “Eating fresh means knowing when to dump old food too”

Some happy talk about the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet has become a favorite of nutritionists in recent years, especially for those with heart and other ailments. Now a new study that looked at a lot of earlier studies thinks it also can help mood.

Veggie plates are common in Italy, why can’t U.S. places offer the same?

“The evidence so far pointed to the idea that the foods we eat can make a difference in lowering our risk of depression, even though there is no solid clinical proof yet,” reports the BBC in detailing the new study in Molecular Psychiatry. The study reviewed 41 studies published within the last eight years. Continue reading “Some happy talk about the Mediterranean Diet”

Product review: Sans Sucre sugar-free mousse and brownies

Baking is not usually my thing, I find it a bit too scientific a process as compared to cooking which allows for more freedom to depart from recipes and become artistic. So most of the recipes you’ll find on this blog are for cooking main courses and side dishes rather than desserts.

That said, I love to eat baked goods such as cakes and doughnuts, items I really should try  to avoid on my heart-healthy diet because of sugar and fat they contain.

Sans Sucre Mousse Mix
Sans Sucre Mousse Mix

So when I was approached by a public relations person for a brand called Sans Sucre which makes sugar-free and gluten-free baking mixes, I was intrigued enough by the prospect of guilt-free items that I asked for samples to try to make. (The brand name means without sugar in French, by the way.)

I’ve since tried the sugar-free, low-fat Chocolate Mousse Mix and the sugar-free chocolate fudge brownie mix. Of the two, I enjoyed the mousse more and found it relatively simple to make, even for a baking-challenged cook like me. Continue reading “Product review: Sans Sucre sugar-free mousse and brownies”

Saturated fat is the bad stuff, here’s where it hides

“Fat, fat the water rat,” is an expression I remember vividly from my childhood as one mean kids would yell at other children they thought were too heavy (including me).

Oddly enough, I can’t find its origins via an Internet search, but I thought of it while reading this piece on where saturated fat hides.

I love donuts, but they don;t love me, they carry saturated fats.

When I started this blog back in 2012, nutritionists were saying avoid fat (hence the blog name includes No Fat). That thinking has evolved a bit, now it’s just saturated fats that need to be avoided. Those are fats that are solid at room temperature, a nutritionist recently told me, like butter (although margarine is bad too, sorry).

Saturated fats are in lots of foods Americans eat as well, and many people miss that fact. This piece from WebMD is a handy way to understand that there are hidden saturated fats in foods like dark meat chicken (not all chicken is good unfortunately), milk, pizza (sorry again), and donuts. Continue reading “Saturated fat is the bad stuff, here’s where it hides”

Consider mushrooms for your Easter table

Mushrooms have always been something I enjoy, from cutting up small ones for salads to roasting giant portabellos on the grill with a salt-free teriyaki sauce for flavoring.

So it’s nice to know they have lots of healthful properties, as this slide show from WedMd.com shows.

Trout, with mushrooms as a garnish.

“If you’re looking for an all-natural multivitamin, skip the supplement aisle and pick up some mushrooms,” WebMD says. “Among their many nutrients: B vitamins — including pantothenic acid (B5), niacin (B3), and riboflavin (B2) — plus copper and selenium. Mushrooms also have protein, fiber, potassium, vitamin D, calcium, and more.

“Mushrooms may do a lot more for your health than fuel your body. They have antibacterial properties. They can help lower cholesterol. They’re good for your immune system. They may even help prevent or treat Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, and cancer,” the slide show goes on to state. Wow. I tend to be doubtful about such superfood claims, there’s still so  much about nutrition and our bodies that science hasn’t figured out, after all.  Continue reading “Consider mushrooms for your Easter table”