More advice on what’s healthiest to order at McDonald’s

Salads were on the list, but one tip I didn’t know about was asking for the Southwest salad, my usual, without the cilantro-lime glaze can cut the sugar in it substantially.

McDonald’s is everywhere across the United States, so chance are you’ll find yourself in one for a meal from time to time even if you’re on a low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet. I actually go to a local McDonald’s once a week, getting a salad and bringing my own oil and vinegar packets so I don’t use the high-salt Paul Newman dressings.

A McDonald's breakfast platter my mother once loved.
A McDonald’s breakfast platter my mother once loved.It didn’t make the healthy breakfast list on MyFitnessPal.com

And I’ve written before about what nutritionists recommend there. So I was interested to see a story from Myfitnesspal.com headlined What’s the Healthiest Thing to Eat at McDonald’s? Continue reading “More advice on what’s healthiest to order at McDonald’s”

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Healthier items disappearing from Mariano’s shelves???

I really hope this was a one-time out-of-stock case, but I’m not hopeful of that since I didn’t see shelf tags for either product. Please Mariano’s don’t let me down.

The Mariano’s supermarket chain took Chicago by storm a few years ago, generating so much positive buzz that Kroger in 2015 bought it and it’s parent company, Roundy’s for $800 million.

I've found two brands of low-sodium,low-sugar ketchup, Westbrae and LocalFolks Foods.
Localfolks ketchup, on the right, my favorite.

Mariano’s brought an approach to food sales that Wegman’s is known for on the East Coast — stores with more prepared foods and in-store chefs and eating areas, to the Midwest. What I liked about Mariano’s was that it stocked more low-salt and low-fat products than the major supermarket chains tend to do.

But my latest shopping trip to a Mariano’s in Skokie, Il., caused me some concern about whether that’s all changing under Kroger ownership. I go to Mariano’s specifically to buy three products — Kraft fat-free shredded mozzarella, low-salt canned olives and my favorite low-salt, low-sugar ketchup from Localfolks. But Mariano’s had neither the cheese nor the olives on my latest trip. Continue reading “Healthier items disappearing from Mariano’s shelves???”

A fun seafood restaurant in food-heavy Highwood, Il.

The atmosphere is very casual and the staff was very helpful and friendly. And the menu had several other offerings I hope to try on future visits.

Highwood, a far northern Chicago suburb, has been known traditionally for its Italian restaurants but the foodscape there is becoming much more diverse these days. Lucky Fish Deli is just one example, a fun seafood shack that can make you feel like you’re in some sleepy East coast fishing town. Indeed, the decor was inspired by a trip the owner took to Maine, according to one story I’ve read.

Grilled octopus and asparagus at Lucky Fish, loved it.
Grilled octopus and asparagus at Lucky Fish, loved it.

The seafood was excellent. I went with a half-dozen oysters, which came out clean, fresh and cold as they should be served. I think the waiter said they were bluepoints. I was a little surprised there weren’t several varieties to choose from, but was very happy with what was available. Continue reading “A fun seafood restaurant in food-heavy Highwood, Il.”

Taco Nano, a different sort of taco place

Taco Nano won’t become a regular stop for me because I don’t know how much salt and fat are in its offerings. But it’s obviously gained a following and is worth a try if you’re looking for a different approach to Mexican food.

Charity auctions are a favorite activity of mine. In fact our theater company, the 2nd Act Players, is planning our first-ever charity auction this September. Check our website for more details as we get closer to the Sept. 10 date. But getting back to food, I recently won a gift card to Taco Nano, which bills itself as a fresh Mexican-style place in the Chicago northern suburb of Northfield.TacoNanoLogo

Going there for dinner on a Friday night, my wife and I were surprised by the crowds. It’s obviously a popular place but is it healthy? As a small place, it isn’t required to post nutrition information on its offerings and doesn’t. So eating there was a shot-in-the-dark nutrition-wise. Continue reading “Taco Nano, a different sort of taco place”

Know your chicken — here’s a great guide

Sorry organic chicken lovers, you cans till buy it for the taste, or if you feel it helps the environment overall, but don’t expect massive nutritional benefits.

As red meat has become demonized because of high fat content in recent years, people are turning more and more to chicken, and specifically lower-fat white meat chicken. I’ve been eating more chicken since my 2012 angioplasty on orders from my nutritionists, leading me to continually search for ways to bring some taste to white-meat chicken.chickgravy

When you go shopping for chicken, remember all chicken is not the same and a lot of the things you think you know about what makes for healthy chicken may be plain wrong. Cooking Light recently put out a great overview of the chicken world, The Definitive Guide to Healthy Chicken, which I recommend you read.

It goes after the myths about chickens, which far too many people believe. Continue reading “Know your chicken — here’s a great guide”

Beware any ‘healthy’ food claims

The message here is one I often repeat, read nutrition information, don’t buy products without nutrition information on them or on their website.

I’m always wary of any food, or food maker, that claims to have a health food. Such claims are regularly debunked,as in this post I wrote back in 2014. So I wasn’t surprised to come across this latest list of so-called healthy foods that can be anything but.

Know what you;re buying when you pick a yogurt to eat.
Know what you;re buying when you pick a yogurt to eat.

This list comes from Freshdailyhealth.com which republished a piece Rodale Organic Life had in 2015.Happily for me, of the five listed I only regularly eat one, flavored yogurts, and am very careful to read nutrition information before making my selection. Continue reading “Beware any ‘healthy’ food claims”

The Garden Bar in Portland — a great spot for a salad

The atmosphere was fresh and exceedingly clean with a bit of offbeat humor in a sign I really enjoyed.

Sometimes, you just want a great salad for lunch, one that isn’t loaded up with a lot of the unhealthy items most restaurants put on them so they can think they’re being creative and charge you more in the process.

Portland's Garden Bar, one of its five locations.
Portland’s Garden Bar, one of its five locations.

That’s why I prefer make-your-own salad bars, I can pick — and pay for — only the ingredients I want, avoiding any high in salt or fat. Knowing my salad bar preference, my daughter found a really good one for us to have lunch at during my recent Portland, Ore., trip — the Garden Bar.

The Garden Bar isn’t exactly make your own. Ingredients are under glass and a staffer makes the salad to your specifications. Or you can choose one fo their pre-planed salads. Both the people I was eating with went with pre-planned house salads, I made my own since the menu salads often have one or more items, like nuts, that I don’t eat. Continue reading “The Garden Bar in Portland — a great spot for a salad”