Vacation eating — joy or fear?

I’m trying to walk a middle ground, which has meant ordering seafood as often as possible and minimizing my pasta, pastry and gelato intake.

Maintaining a heart-healthy diet takes a lot of inner discipline given that we’re surrounded by so many food options that are high in salt, saturated fat and sugar. The task becomes even more daunting when you’re on vacation, especially in a foreign country with even more foods you love.

I’ve been vacationing in Italy, my ancestral homeland, with a large group of cousins. That means meals here have been wonderful family affairs with so many food options its difficult to count them all. But most involve salt and sugar. What to do, fear everything I eat or put diet concerns aside for the duration of the trip?

Pasta portions are smaller in Italy, thankfully.

I’m trying to walk a middle ground, which has meant ordering seafood as often as possible and minimizing my pasta, pastry and gelato intake. Southern Italy is a wonderful place to eat seafoods. I had a piece of amberjack in a light tomato sauce last night, for example, something I rarely see on US menus.

I’ve also had oysters and clams, albeit with pasta. Pasta portion sizes are smaller here than in the US, which is a good thing since we tend to fill plates to overflowing at home.

Gelato, of course, is the hardest goodie to pass up, especially when everyone else keeps pushing for it. And with that, I don’t do small portions well.

Grilled vegetables are on every menu in Italy, a wonderful, simply side dish .

I’m assuming I’ll gain weight on this trip, we’ll see how much when I’m back in the States and have a scale again. Then it will also be back to strictly watching the salt, fat and sugar,

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Christmas Eve — Time for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

Christmas Eve is a traditional night for Italians to make the Feast of the Seven Fishes. I’ve written about it before, but the idea seems to be catching on.

Iron Chef Showdown recently had a battle of the feast of the seven fishes and Bon Appetit magazine ran this piece, A Feast of the Seven Fishes Menu That Won’t Take a Week to Cook.

The first question most people ask is ‘what are the seven fishes?’ That’s up to you, and traditionally was up to whatever was available in the local village. So the Bon Appetit take on it is as valid as any other. As a kid, I remember talk of eel and squid and octopus and the horrible-looking salted cod Italians call baccala. Continue reading “Christmas Eve — Time for the Feast of the Seven Fishes”

12 days of no-salt, no-sugar Christmas recipes — try a simple scallop dish

We started our 12 days of no-salt, no-fat, no-sugar Christmas meals with a great new chicken recipe I tried recently that includes a strawberry/pineapple salsa. So let’s follow that tonight with a simple but delicious scallop dish.

low salt low fat recipes
My finished scallops, seared brown and delicious.

Scallops can be made simply on the stove-top in hot oil. Add flavorings that you enjoy to spice them up, or have them plain as I do and enjoy the natural flavor.

I’d pair the scallop with a fun side-dish like the roasted carrots with red onions, fennel and mint that I wrote about as a possible thanksgiving side-dish option. It’s a bit more complex and so would be a nice accompaniment to the simple scallops. One simple, one complex makes a nice combination for your taste buds.

 

 

Salmon so simple anyone can make it

Some people shy away from cooking fish at home because they think it too complicated. But eating fish at restaurants often means getting more salt and fat added than you want or need. So check my recipe page for a variety of fish recipes I think you can handle. Or start with this simple yet tasty way to make salmon at home.

My lemon salmon. I used leek instead of scallions and it came great. I loved the garlic flavor.
My lemon salmon..

Salmon is a great fatty fish, with what’s being called good fat these days, so enjoy it in place of steak or other meats you once ate but are giving up now because of “bad” fat concerns. Continue reading “Salmon so simple anyone can make it”

No salt, no sugar, 4th of July recipes

You don’t have to fast on the 4th when you’re trying to eat healthy. We have recipes for you. Enjoy the day!

Happy July 4th everyone, time to heat up the grills and celebrate. And don’t be discouraged that traditional July 4th food is filled with salt, fat and sugar, the devil’s triangle of food additives in our country. I’ve written about how someone trying to avoid them can starve on July 4th at someone else’s house.

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. Click the links here to see two grilled salmon recipes form Costco.

So take charge of your diet and look to our recipe page for a variety of dishes you can make today, like:

You don’t have to fast on the 4th when you’re trying to eat healthy. We have recipes for you. Enjoy the day!

John

A flavorful take on cod, but is it low-sodium?

I would have preferred less salt but I think the only way to get artichokes with less salt is to make your own and strip out the hearts.

Cod is a fairly bland fish, probably most familiar to you as the fish in the typical fish and chips dish in which you taste the breading more than the fish itself. As you can tell, I’m not a big cod fan, but I came cross this recipe recently that gave a nice flavor boost to the white fish.

My panko-crusted cod.
My panko-crusted cod.

The recipe calls for coating the cod with a mixture of panko breadcrumbs, artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, basil and pepper. It also calls for adding salt but I did not. Fish does not need salt, period, in my opinion.

You mix all those ingredients and coat the cod fillets with it, then bake in a 400-degree oven for about half an hour.

The salt challenge in this is the artichoke hearts. Most canned ones have 4oo or more mgs per serving. with two-three servings in a can. I found one imported brand that had 240 mgs times three servings, or 720 mgs in the can. I used about a third of the can in the recipe, so 240 mgs of sodium spread over the four cod fillets, of which I ate two.  Continue reading “A flavorful take on cod, but is it low-sodium?”

No Salt, No Sugar Recipes for the 12 Days of Christmas — 2015 edition

We’re back with our 2nd annual No Salt, No Sugar recipes for the 12 days of Christmas.

Christmas time is here again and so we’re back with our 2nd annual No Salt, No Sugar recipes for the 12 days of Christmas. Last year’s list drew a lot of views and hopefully led to a lot of enjoyable meals.

This year we’re repeating some old favorites but also coming up with new recipes that we’ve posted in 2015. To give you choices, we’re listing our 2015 picks and our 2014 picks below. We’re off to a later start this year (sorry it’s been busy), so we start on Dec. 23 instead of the 22nd as we did last year.

Your salmon feast awaits.
Your salmon feast awaits.

Enjoy and a very Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates the holiday as well as a Happy New Year to all our readers as well!

Simply click the links below and let the cooking, and holiday cheer, begin!

Dec. 23
2015
A New York lunch with family, what could be better, or healthier?

2014
Can You Ever Make a Quick, Healthy Meal?

Dec. 24, Christmas Eve
2015
Salmon, 5 ways

2014
What Can Someone on a Restricted Diet Eat on Christmas Eve?

Dec. 25, Christmas Day
2015
A party menu that is low in sugar, fat and salt

2014
What Can Someone on a Restricted Diet Eat on Christmas Day?

Recipe: Low-salt, low-fat baked mostaccioli

Dec. 26
2015
Salmon salad for a lazy Saturday dinner treat

2014
Pizza on a restricted diet — an illustrated how-to guide

Dec. 27
2015
A salmon dish for garlic lovers

2014
Turning leftovers into a treat — a wonderful salmon salad

Dec. 28
2015
A new take on turkey meatballs — apples and cranberries

2014
Rosemary chicken: a nice way to add flavor to chicken breast

Dec. 29
2015
An arctic char recipe for Christmas time, or any time

2014
Steelhead trout: a variation better than the norm?

Dec. 30
2015
A Chinese food recipe that actually works as low-sodium?

2014
Walleye: a tasty fish alternative

Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve
2015
Creating a low-salt, low-fat taco dinner

2014
Happy New Year: with no and low salt treats

Jan. 1
2015
Matzo pizza — bringing two cultures together to get the salt out

2014
Extra Lean Beefburgers

Jan. 2
2015
Seafood and pasta, thank you Giada

2014
Chicken Parmesan: a low-fat, low-salt alternative recipe

Jan. 3
2015
Grilled chicken recipe for the 4th? Try this rosemary chicken