The Pandemic, and how supermarkets and other food sellers have reacted, has certainly made it more difficult to eat healthy. Last Thanksgiving, for example, I wasn’t able to find fresh, low-salt turkeys at Costco for the first time in years.
Readers also keep writring me to tell me low-salt products I’ve written about in the past are no longer aavilable at Trader Joes, so I’ve created the hastag #ShameonTraderJoes.
Here’s a list of items I was able to buy pre-pandemic which are no longer available on store shelves in my area:
Trader’s Joe’s salt-free shrimp sauce.
Trader Joe’s salt-free marinara sauce
Mrs. Dash salt-free teriyaki sauce
Salt-free fresh turkeys at Costco
Low-fat frozen yogurt at Costco (chocolate was dropped pre-Pandemic, but vanilla is gone now too, replaced by ice cream)
Low-salt canned olives at several retailers (others still have them)
Trader Joes salt-free wheat bread (this disappeared before the pandemic, but its worth mentioning for #ShameonTraderJoes)
Stores are stocking the highest volumes products they sell now, and dropping others to simplify thier supply chain problems. And tjhose of us wanting to eat healthy are suffering as a result.
eI’ve turned to more stocking up when I do find items that can be stored. I’ve also done more shopping online at Amazon and Healthy Heart Market, despite the higher prices and shipping costs involved. I’m willing to pay those prices now, I want to survive this Pandemic and that means not letting the virus, or salt kill me.
What you’re reading now is the 801st post in the history of the No Salt, No Fat, No Sugar Journal. When we started in late 2012, we never imagined we’d still be going all these years later.
Our initial goal was to help people who, because of heart disease or other ailments, had to radically change their diets to cut salt, fat and sugar. Those three things are in almost everything Americans routinely eat, so eliminating them is a herculean task.
When the Pandemic hit, we pivoted to posting recipes that would work for families stuck at home together. We also starting labeling posts with topics such as Pandemic Shopping, to let you know about which no-salt, no-fat, no-sugar items were disappearing from local stores shelves and how to find them in alternate outlets.
We’re on track for a record year for views, thank you, and keep coming back! And tell your friends.
Eating less salt, fat and sugar can benefit anyone, not just those with health conditions already. Hopefully eating healthier can help you not get some of the health conditions that originally prompted the launch of this blog.
Stay safe, stay masked, get vaccinated and stay no-salt, no-fat, no-sugar.
Memorial Day cookouts should be a little more special this year as families become fully vaccinated and so gather again. You can grill and eat relatively low-salt, low-fat and low-sugar, just check some of the recipes on my recipe page. Or try this new recipe I found recently for stuffed turkey burgers.
This burger is basically healthier take on the Minnesota classic jucy Lucy, which is two burger patties squished together around a center of cheese.
For the turkey burger, the creator (she has a video you can watch) suggests lean ground turkey and part-skim mozzarella. I go farther and get either fat-free mozzarella or reduced fat mozzarella which has even less fat than the skim kind.
You stuff your turkey burgers with mozzarella and roasted red pepper, seal them, and then grill like you would any other burger. The full recipe is here, just click.
Lean ground turkey is a great substitute for ground beef. I use it in meatballs, tacos and even meatloaf, as well as for burgers.
Oil and vinegar was the salad dressing we used when I was growing up in my Italian-American household and it has been my go=-to choice since my first angioplasty in 2012. That’s because almost all commercial salad dressings are loaded with fat, salt and sugar, liklely why we enjoy them.
But all that said, I’m always on the lookout for alternatives. And I found one recently on the Healthy Heart Market, a product called Farmer Boy Lite Greek dressing. It has zero salt, a relatively low three grams of sugar and 2.5 grams of fat per serving with no saturated fat. (You can see the nutrition panel below by sliding the center line, a new feature on my blog.)
I bought a bottle to sample it and have been enjoying it since. Irt is a bit peppery for my taste but that’s often the case with products that take out salt and sugar or fat. Pepper is added instead to give it some flavor.
Also keep in mind, a serving is two tablespoons. I have not measured how much I use on my typical lunch salad (which can be pretty large), but I’m guessing it’s more than that.
Also keep in mind, it costs $5.99, plus shipping, for a 16-ounce bottle. If you can find it at a local store, you can save the shipping cost. The manufacturer sells it for slightly less, but you have to buy six bottles at a time. The company site notes a forerunner of the dressing has been available in the Clearwater, Fl. are for more than 30 years. The Lite version is relatively new, it says.
The processor’s site doesn’t have a list of retailers carrying the brand, I’ll contact them to see if I can get more information.
Olive oil is on the ‘good food’ list these days and thanks for that. I love it on salads of all kinds, fish and veggies I grill on my barbecue. But even with all the praise it’s gotten nutritionally, there’s been a long-held caution about cooking with it.
“Many healthy chefs exclusively use it as a finishing oil because of the oil’s low “smoke point.” The concern was that if olive oil gets too hot, it starts to burn and smoke—which can mess with the flavor of the finished dish as well as degrade some of the oil’s health benefits,” recounts Wellandgood.com in a recent article.
I never believed that, by the way. Now thankfully, it’s being called a false bit of information.
A recent study, “debunks a lot of people’s concerns about olive oil’s smoke points. For one thing, researchers found that both regular olive oil and extra-virgin olive oil can withstand temperatures over 475℉, whether on the stove or in the oven. (When sautéing, the temperature is typically 248℉.),” the article notes.
A lot has been written about people gaining weight while they sit home in quarantine because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The so-called “Quarantine 15” likely resulted from people loading up on high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar snacks. It’s been difficult for me not to do the same, and I have had my mini-binges as stress levels rose to hideous heights.
But I have found one snack that has no sugar and minimal fat — sugar-free chocolate pudding. You can buy it in pre-made cups, but those became harder and harder to find in my area as the pandemic persisted, so I bought the box variety instead and made it myself.
Chocolate pudding comes in two varieties, instant which requires no cooking, and the old-fashioned regular kind which requires you to do some very simple cooking. You can use either low-fat or no-fat skim milk, thus controlling the bad-fat levels you eat in the pudding you make.
The instant kind just requires you combines the powdered pudding mix with milk and mix it for a few minutes. I use an electric mixer but you can do it by hand with a whisk or fork too. The traditional kind requires heating the milk in a small pot on your stovetop and adding the mix, combining them in the pot.
One regular-sized box requires two cups of milk, a pint, so two boxes work with a quart. I found a larger size box as well that requires three cups of milk.
Once mixed, you pour it into whatever small serving bowls or glasses you want and then put it in the refrigerator to cool and thicken.
If you need some chocolate every day, this I a great way to get it. Enjoy!
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your house, there’s likely a giant turkey somewhere nearby just awaiting its moment. But if you’re planning to eat out, or going to someone’s else’s home as I am this year (my son is cooking!!!), you might have an urge for turkey when you get home.
So Thanksgiving time could be the ideal time to try turkey burgers, which can be low in fat and salt and satisfy your craving without all the mess of making an entire turkey.
Turkey burgers generally are a good substitute for hamburgers as well since they are generally lower in salt and fat. One caveat, read the package label, some turkey burgers include dark meat and even skin which sends their fat content souring. Many add salt too, especially when they’re flavored somehow.
Applegate Natural & Organic Meats recently sent me some of its turkey burgers to sample. I like them. They pass the fat content (8 grams per burger) and salt content (105 mgs a burger) for a low-salt, low-fat diet. I broiled mine in the oven and was surprised to see them browning. Other turkey burgers I’ve tried usually remain a dull white color.
I think I left them in a bit long, so carefully monitor when you’re cooking them. I had two in a whole wheat bagel (the only whole wheat product in my local supermarket bakery the day I went). I added a slice of low-fat mozzarella cheese and used Localfolks low-salt, low-sugar ketchup to top them off. I also added a side of steamed asparagus.
It was a simple meal but delicious, sometimes simple is best, especially after elaborate Thanksgiving feasts. Thanks Applegate, I’d buy these burgers and serve them to company, especially when I do summer grilling.
Holidays are always difficult when you’re trying to minimize your salt, sugar and bad fat intake. Easter — traditionally a ham or lamb day — is no exception. We’ve posted about trying seafood instead, something we plan. But what about the side dishes? The Food Network recently ran this piece on 20 Healthy Easter Side Dishes which, of course, got my attention.
But how healthy are they, really? The first, Provencal Potato Gratin, isn’t if you’re worried about sugar level since it starts with potatoes and also includes cheese, which is salty and fatty.