Stella D’oro: an old friend offers a low-fat baked good

Growing up in an Italian-American household, Italian pastries and butter cookies were regular Sunday treats for me. In between those, we also regularly bought baked goods with Italian flair to them, such as Stella D’oro cookies.

Loved these as a kid and now, and they're low-fat.
Loved these as a kid and now, and they’re low-fat.

I crave anything baked these days since most baked goods don’t fit into my low-fat, low-salt needs. So I was wonderfully surprised recently to see old friend Stella D’oro come to my rescue with its anisette toast cookies. Continue reading “Stella D’oro: an old friend offers a low-fat baked good”

Naf Naf Grill: finally some fast food that isn’t loaded with salt, fat

I’ve ranted here before about fast food and other restaurants these days that tout selling “healthy” food when in fact their offerings are still loaded with salt, fat and sugar. Some, like the Protein Bar, in Chicago are growing rapidly with these false health claims, basically pushing salt on unsuspecting patrons.

So it’s nice to be able to write about one new chain in our area, the Naf Naf Grill, that actually has new, tasty variations on familiar foods using low-salt and low-fat recipes. A Naf Naf lunch once a week has become a special treat for me. The menu has Midwestern-inspired offerings, but Naf Naf makes its own low-salt pita bread and uses extremely lean beef and chicken for its pita sandwiches while keeping them tasty and filling!

The menu board from a Naf Naf Grill location in Niles, Ill. Other outlets have slightly different offerings.
The menu board from a Naf Naf Grill location in Niles, Ill. Other outlets have slightly different offerings.

This past weekend I visited one of the chain’s original three locations in Niles, Ill., and tried something it doesn’t offer at its outlet on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue near my office, a chicken kabob sandwich in a pita. Continue reading “Naf Naf Grill: finally some fast food that isn’t loaded with salt, fat”

Fresh figs are a favorite food of mine

Fresh black figs in the fall were one of my favorite treats as a child. My grandfather had a fig tree in his yard behind his Brookyln brownstone and, even after he died, the family maintained that tree so it produced wonderful figs every fall.

Black figs are a wonderful sweet treat that are low in fat and sodium...and taste great.
Black figs are a wonderful sweet treat that are low in fat, sodium and taste great.

An aunt took an offshoot of it and planted that in her yard, creating a second tree that also produced wonderful figs for many, many year until she sold that house and the tree along with it. Her grandson had an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn for years and he would use figs from her yard for special fall treats there. Continue reading “Fresh figs are a favorite food of mine”

Steak: here’s a lean alternative from New Zealand, via Trader Joe’s

I’ve written about my quest for beef lean enough to fit into my low-fat diet. I now buy 96% lean ground beef [4.5 grams of at per four-ounce burger] for my occasional made-at-home hamburger and have given up eating hamburgers out [a Wendy’s single has 24.8 grams of fat], a sad turn of events since I once had them weekly.

Lean grass-fed ribeye from New Zealand, sold at Trader Joe's for $12.99 a pound.
Lean grass-fed ribeye from New Zealand, sold at Trader Joe’s for $12.99 a pound.

And when it comes to steak, another old favorite, I now only have fillet mignon because it is the leanest cut available on restaurant menus [4 ounces has 14.1 grams of fat]. But recently I found another alternative which I really enjoyed, a grass-fed Angus beef ribeye from New Zealand sold frozen at Trader Joe’s. You can see on the nutrition info for it here that four ounces has 10 grams of fat, less than a traditional fillet.And it had a good beef flavor. At that level, it’s leaner than a bison steak I had at Ted’s a while back, which had 14 grams of fat per four ounces. Continue reading “Steak: here’s a lean alternative from New Zealand, via Trader Joe’s”

A birthday with no salt and no fat? Forget it

Today is my birthday and, after nearly two years of basically starving myself on my angioplasty-induced low-fat, low-salt diet, I’m splurging today on some of my old, unhealthy favorites.

Pictured here is how I started my birthday, which I had taken a day off from work for. Wise potato chips are the chips of my youth in New York and still the best in the country, in my estimation. They remain thin, crispy and with just the right hint of oily lusciousness. It is difficult for me to resist buying them now that they’re sold in the Chicago area where I now live too. So today, I gave in and grabbed a bag.

My birthday splurge, part one.
My birthday splurge, part one.

Of the seven ounces in the bag, I likely ate five in one sitting. That’s 750 calories and 50 grams of fat, plus 800 mgs of sodium! I easily could have finished the bag but resisted. Continue reading “A birthday with no salt and no fat? Forget it”

Low-salt, low-fat ingredients: we’ve posted even more of them

Living a low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar lifestyle can be endlessly difficult because almost any food sold in traditional supermarkets these days has too much of one or more of those evil three. The same is true for restaurant meals. So since my angioplasty in 2012, I’ve been building an entirely new shopping list, going to more stores than ever before to find the low-salt and no-salt items I need along with the low-fat and no-fat options.

Grilled vegetables
Grilled vegetables

This blog is my attempt to help all of you in the same boat as me, for whatever health reason. To that end, I’ve created recipe, ingredient and eating away from home pages to help you. Check out the May updates to the ingredients page. Continue reading “Low-salt, low-fat ingredients: we’ve posted even more of them”

Kemp’s low-fat frozen yogurt: a winner in my book

Fat-free frozen yogurt at Costco is a weekly treat for me, one of the few I have these days compared to my pre-angioplasty eating ways. And I’ve been amazed at the limited options to find fat-free packaged frozen yogurts in local supermarkets.

Kemps low-fat frozen yogurt
Kemps low-fat frozen yogurt

Recently, however, I did find a low-fat frozen yogurt, Kemps, which I’ve really enjoyed and plan to buy again. As you can see on the nutrition info here, it has only 1.5 grams of fat per half cup or 3 grams for a cup, which I consider a serving. Salt content is low.  Continue reading “Kemp’s low-fat frozen yogurt: a winner in my book”

Salt-free, fat-free potato chips: why not make your own

I’ve written about salt-free potato chips I’ve bought as a substitute for the regular potato chips I once loved. But while they were salt-free, they still are fat laden, so I’ve stayed away from potato chips, by and large.

Recently, however, I found a microwave device that promised me potato chips in the micro in minutes, no oil needed. The idea was too good for me to pass up, so I bought TopChips by Mastrad for $20.95 at a kitchen store.

TopChips make salt-free, fat-free chips to satisfy your potato chip cravings.
TopChips make salt-free, fat-free chips to satisfy your potato chip cravings.

My wife and I recently bought two potatoes to try it out and I’m happy to report the chips turned out well, although it did take some trial and error. Continue reading “Salt-free, fat-free potato chips: why not make your own”

Soup that’s low-salt: this brand didn’t really make the grade

Canned soups are some of the highest sodium per serving products you can buy today in your local supermarket or food shop. One cup of Progresso chicken noodle, for example, has 690 mgs of sodium, more than half my daily recommended level. And a can often is more than one serving.

Imagine low-sodium soups: I applaud the effort, but taste is lacking, big time.
Imagine low-sodium soups: I applaud the effort, but taste is lacking, big time.

So I’ve missed soup terribly in the 18 months since my angioplasty. My wife has tried making some with only vegetables, but it didn’t really taste all that inviting to me. So I was excited to see some soups at my local Jewel recently calling themselves “light in sodium.” The soups, under the Imagine brand and made by Hain Celestial Group, an organic processor, even came in interesting flavors like garden broccoli. Continue reading “Soup that’s low-salt: this brand didn’t really make the grade”

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