McDonald’s new salads are harder to find than I thought

A post I wrote earlier this year about McDonald’s salads coming back to post-Pandemic McDonald’s menus has gotten a lot of attention. But what I didn’t realize when I wrote it was that the decision to bring salads back is being left to operators at the local level.

Apparently finding a salad at McDonald’s these days is a hit-or-miss proposition depending on where you live and which store you try. Very sad.

Not every McDonald’s in a given market has salads any longer. Some comments on my post alerted me about this. And when I tried online ordering from various McDonald’s in Chicago’s northern suburbs, I found only my favorite location in Winnetka, Il., had the new, slimmed-down salads.

Apparently, having any healthy options on its menu takes too much time and labor for McDonald’s to prepare, so it’s concentrating on unhealthy burgers until the day comes when people aren’t eating them any longer. Sort of reminds me of Sears ignoring the Internet while Amazon ate its lunch and its business. Sad, if my local outlet drops salads, my days of going to McDonald’s will be over.

Here’s a 7-day no-added-sugar meal plan

Having eaten a ton of sugar in my two weekend trips to New York City in August and early September, I’m more concerned than usual about my blood sugar levels. So I recently posted about unexpected ways your blood sugar can rise and today I’m posting this 7-day no-added-sugar diet plan from Eatingwell.com.

My lemon salmon. I used leek instead of scallions and it came great. I loved the garlic flavor.
My lemon salmon…salmon is one of the items on this 7-day plan that I do enjoy.

The plan is based on the Mediterranean Diet, which doctors and nutritionists generally is the best to follow for those concerned about their health.

Continue reading “Here’s a 7-day no-added-sugar meal plan”

Advice on why your blood sugar may be high

Of the three harmful foods — salt, fat and sugar — sugar has been the hardest for me to kick because, let’s face it, I love chocolate and chocolate cakes of all kinds. I jsut spent two weekends in my old home, New York City, where sugar embraced me everywhere I turned. Back in Illinois now, I have to get serious again about cutting the sugar.

My wonderful chocolate dessert at the Orrington.
A wonderful chocolate dessert I had in 2015. Cake is extremely difficult for me to give up.

So this piece is very helpful, 5 Sneaky Reasons Your Blood Sugar Is High. It turns out your sugar levels can be impactd by more than jsut what you eat.

Stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, even hormones can impact your sugar levels, the piece outlines. Medications you take also can contribute to higher sugar levels.

The article on Eatingwell.com concludes:

“Getting to know your body and why you may experience an unexpected blood sugar high will help you to be better prepared should it happen. It’s important to stay connected to your care team and seek out the help of your primary care provider when you experience unwanted or potentially dangerous symptoms.”

Don’t open that freezer door — not for these four foods you that should never freeze

Ever try freezing raw veggies? Don’t.

Freezing foods we buy on sale can be an economical way to stock up on deals, especially during these inflationary times. I’ve posted about that, just click here to read it. But not every food can be frozen. Just take a look at 4 Foods You Should Never Put in the Freezer from Myrecipes.com.

I’ll end the suspense for you, the four are whole eggs, soft cheeses, raw vegetables and milk/yogurt (ok, that’s really five but whose counting? Not Myrecipes.com apparently).

“To be clear, it (freezing) doesn’t make the milk or yogurt unsafe, but generally it will separate into thick chunky pieces suspended in watery stuff and is super unappetizing,” the article states.

When it comes to veggies, “if you freeze a raw vegetable, the process will expand the water in its cell structure and burst the cells. The result: soggy, thawed produce that will feel like its overcooked. For better results, blanch your vegetables for about a minute in boiling water and then shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking,” the piece advises.

That said, the same site did say it’s ok to freeze tomatoes, I blogged about that but have not tried it yet. I suppose maybe it knows tomatoes are actually fruit?

For our non-meat-eating friends — veggie fajitas

Fajitas have become a go-to recipe for me after discovering that Mrs. Dash offers a salt-free fajita spice mix. I’ve written about making turkey fajitas as creative use of Thanksgiving leftovers, for example.

Building our turkey fajitas.

So I enjoyed seeing his recipe for veggie fajitas on recipewonderland.com. It includes peppers and onions. Just substitute the Mrs. Dash for the taco seasoning called for in the recipe and you have a tasty dish that’s also low in salt.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 large bell peppers (any color), seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning (use salt-free Mrs Dash fajita spices)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 8 medium flour or corn tortillas

Cooking directions:

  • In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the sliced bell peppers and sliced onions. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Be sure to toss so everything cooks evenly.
  • Add taco seasoning, garlic powder, water and toss. Cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Remove from skillet and place on top of tortillas.
  • Serve with any desired toppings and sides.

I’d add a salt-free taco sauce, as you can see in my photo here.

Is hummus healthy? Depends on who is asking and how they define healthy

Hummus seems ubiquitous these days. Our local supermarket stocks multiple brands and anytime I eat with my grown children, we seem o end up at a Mideastern restaurant that has hummus on the menu. People certainly think it’s healthy, but it is? EatingWell.com tackles that question in this article.

The answer, like any question about “healthy”, depends on who is asking and why.

“Chickpeas (and thus hummus which is made from chickpeas) are not allowed on the Whole30 diet because they are a legume. For the same reason, hummus is not allowed on a paleo diet. Hummus can be keto friendly, if you eat it in limited amounts and allot carbohydrates in order to make room for it. (Many people count “net carbs” or total carbs minus grams of fiber. In this case, a serving of hummus has 3 net carbs.),” the article states.

So if you’re paleo or Whole30, it’s not. If you’re keto, some of it is ok.

What about those of us trying to cut salt, fat and sugar?

Continue reading “Is hummus healthy? Depends on who is asking and how they define healthy”

Jif products recalled in 12 states, check your pantries & food cabinets

The J.M. Smucker company is recalling several of its Jif products, including crunchy and creamy peanut butter, natural peanut butter, no-sugar-added peanut butter, and squeeze packs of peanut butter.

“The recalled products will have lot codes between 1274425 and 2140425. The first seven digits of any potentially affected product will end with 425, denoting that the peanut butter was manufactured in Lexington, Kentucky,” reports Foodandwine.com.

Here’s where to find the lot numbers on your Jif peanut butter jar label.

You can find the lot codes on the label near the Best if Used By dates.

States impacted are Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

The possible presence of Salmonella prompted the recall. At least 14 people have reported health issues because of the products and two had been hospitalized when FoodandWine.com published the news.

For more information, read the Food and Drug Administration release on the recall.

If you love salmon, you will love some of these side dishes

Salmon is a go-to main course for anyone trying to eat less unhealthy fat and more healthy fat. I regularly make it now instead of the steaks and burgers I once ate before my heart surgeries. This piece from Myrecipes.com gives you 30 potential salmon side dishes. Match those with the salmon recipes you’ll find on our recipe page.

In another sheet of aluminum foil, place your four pieces of salmon and separate with aluminum foil. Then rub in marinades for each.
Grilling salmon is a luscious experience.

Avoid the ones with cream (bad fat) and if a recipe calls for salt, leave it out or cut it drastically.

You’ll see several asparagus dishes in here, I normally grill asparagus outdoors in the summer to go with salmon.

I’m planning to try the first side discussed, lemon-feta green beans, but will use the fat-free feta I regularly buy at a local supermarket. I love the idea of searing lemons. And kudos to the recipe for not adding salt — the cheese is salty enough.

Pandemic food casualty: Costco food-court salads are off the menu

I sat down at a Costco food court this week, something I haven’t done since before the pandemic when Costco foolishly eliminated chocolate frozen yogurt from its menu.

Looking at the new ordering touch screens, I realized another of my old Costco mainstay items is also gone now — food-court salads.

The wall says it all — no more salads at Costco, only junk food now.

This picture I took of the menu wall says it all — Costco has nothing even remotely low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar on its menu anymore.

For years, my regular Thursday meal there would be a salad, without the massively fat-filled dressing, and a chocolate frozen yogurt. Both are gone.

I dropped my more expensive Costco executive membership back when the chocolate yogurt disappeared. Now I’m really glad I did that then. I have no reason to eat at Costco food courts. For the stop I made recenty, I only bought a diet Pepsi for the road.

It will be interesting to see if Costco comes back with a simpler salad like McDonald’s did. Its salad joins its sheet cake, the ill-conceived asai it had replaced frozen yogurt with, and its holdout vanilla frozen yogurt as pandemic food casualties at Costco.

As the pandemic winds down, it’s becoming tougher than ever to find healthy, or at least not unhealthy, fast foods.

9 Amazing Broccoli Recipes? Let’s not get carried away, one of these sounds good

Somewhere, P.T. Barnum is smiling at this headline, 9 Amazing Broccoli Recipes Everyone Will Love. It is on a vegan website, but even there, amazing broccoli recipes? Really?

A low-salt broccoli beef recipe from the American Heart Association.
A low-salt broccoli beef recipe from the American Heart Association.

But the headline did its job, it got me to stop and read it. In fact, it’s gotten me to write about it a second time! I wrote this post back in June 2021, picking out the one recipe in nine I thought sounded good, roasted garlic lemon broccoli.

So kudos to the headline writer. As for the other eight recipes, check them for fat and salt content before trying them. And then there are some with nuts, which I never eat. If you’re nut-averse too, eliminate those as well.

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