Big Game low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar menu options

Holidays and special events like the upcoming Super Bowl LII (or the big game as most marketers’ now call it because they can’t use the term Super Bowl) often are the most difficult times to stay on your preferred eating plan, be it low-salt, low-fat and/or low-sugar. I’ve written a lot about this over the years here, trying to create alternatives you can enjoy.

My low-fat, low-salt manicotti, One of these has 128 calories, 1.8 grams of fat and 70 mgs of sodium. I eat five at a time

My first post about Super Bowl eating dates back to 2013,  shortly  after I started the blog, and it looked at items I bought, like no-salt potato chips and low-fat cookies.

But in subsequent years, I started making my own treats, like my home-made, no-salt, no-fat potato chips.

I also suggested a great entrée like swordfish steaks. That will dazzle and surprise your guests for sure.

As always though, my go-to Super Bowl entrée is whole wheat stuffed manicotti, using fat-free ricotta and fat-free mozzarella. I was just speaking with a group fo heart patients about eating when one mentioned to me how the thinking about fat being evil is being turned upside down these days.  Continue reading “Big Game low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar menu options”

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Another handy way to carry your own oil & vinegar

Salad dressing served in restaurants are loaded with salt, fat and sugar, exactly what you don;t want to put on a healthy salad. I’ve advised in the past that you carry you own olive oil and vinegar to use when dining out. Small packets of each are available on Amazon, i buy them literally by the hundreds.

My new tiny oil and vinegar bottles for eating out.
My new tiny oil and vinegar bottles for eating out.

My resourceful daughter presented me with another option this Christmas when she gave me tiny dressing bottles from Crate & Barrel (full disclosure, she works for the company, so likely got these at a discount. You can get them on the store’s site for $4.95 each).  Continue reading “Another handy way to carry your own oil & vinegar”

17 health eating tips for 2018

WebMd.com is a go-to source on health information for me, I check it several times a week. So I was happy to see among the frenzy of year-end lists that it put out a healthy eating tips list for 2018.

Cutting sugar, as found in treats like this, is on the WebMD list of 2018 eating suggestions.

Some of these 16 tips are basic, like the first two, eat more fruits and vegetables and cut down on fast food. Haven’t we all been trying to do both forever now? Continue reading “17 health eating tips for 2018”

Turkey meatballs, a great side for Italian dishes

Meatballs are an integral part of Italian-American cooking (not so much in Italy, but that’s another story) but red meat is largely off my diet since my angioplasty in 2012. So I’ve switched from beef to turkey meatballs. It occurred to me I’ve referred to them in past posts here but never shown how to make them.

So here’s a quick guide. Start with a pound of lean ground turkey, which has about one gram of fat per ounce. Add four to six ounces of Panko breadcrumbs, some reduced fat Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning you can buy pre-mixed (be sure to get a mix without salt listed as an ingredient). Add cheese and seasoning to your taste preference.

Turkey meatballs are a low-fat, low-salt alternative to beef meatballs.
Turkey meatballs are a low-fat, low-salt alternative to beef meatballs.

Combine the ingredients in a bowl, adding water to help bind it all. Mix it together, then form it into meatballs using your hands, rolling it clockwise across your palms (or you can buy a device to make meatballs).

Turkey meatball ingredients include lean ground turkey, Panko breadcrumbs, low-fat cheese and Italian seasoning.
Turkey meatball ingredients include lean ground turkey, panko breadcrumbs, low-fat cheese and Italian seasoning.

I normally get 17 turkey meatballs from a pound, so each is a bit less than one ounce, or one gram of fat. The breadcrumbs are low-salt, the cheese has salt, so be prudent in how much you add. This is still a low-salt offering, and definitely lower-fat than beef or more traditional beef and pork meatballs.

Turkey meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl, just add water and mix it all up.
Turkey meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl, just add water and mix it all up.

Cook them for about an hour at 350, turning after 30 minutes. Coat the bottom of the pan with water to avoid sticking, you may need to add more water at the 30-minute mark too.

Enjoy!
John

Getting the fat out, a handy guide

I’ve been working hard to get fat, salt and sugar out of my diet since having an angioplasty in 2012. I’ve succeeded, but had to do a lot of my own searching for low-fat, low-salt alternatives to foods I loved.

Substituting low-fat cheese for regular is one way to get the fat out of your diet. But watch the salt content, almost all cheese is high in sodium.
Substituting low-fat cheese for regular is one way to get the fat out of your diet. But watch the salt content, almost all cheese is high in sodium.

Recently though, I came across a handy guide on foods that can help you get the fat out of your diet. It’s on the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute site, where I also found a fun dessert recipe.

It details a lot of fairly easy switches to make, like sorbets and fat-free frozen yogurt for ice cream (keep watching the sugar content though), pasta with vegetables for pasta with cheese sauce, and extra-lean ground beef and ground turkey for regular 85% lean ground beef.

Check it out and also check my ingredients page for some of the items I’ve found that get the fat out.
John

A low-salt, low-sugar, low-fat recipe for the 1st day of Christmas

Only three days until Christmas and you’re likely beside yourself with things to do, people to see, tasks to take care of before the big day. Plus, you’re likely cooking for guests, kids home from school, neighbors you went shopping with, the list goes on.

Your turkey meatloaf ready to cook
Your turkey meatloaf ready to cook

So what to make while staying on your low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar diet? Continue reading “A low-salt, low-sugar, low-fat recipe for the 1st day of Christmas”

What happened to my elk burger, Happy Gnome?

I enjoyed an elk burger blend last year on a visit to the Twin Cities in Minnesota so was looking forward to returning to the Happy Gnome there for another this year.

But when I ordered the bison/elk blend burger this year without the accompanying cheese and bacon, I was told the bacon was in the burger itself and so could not be excluded.

My Happy Gnome seafood plate, once I removed the mountain of bread that came with it, white bread I can no longer eat.
My Happy Gnome seafood plate, once I removed the mountain of bread that came with it, white bread I can no longer eat.

I would not have gotten it last year if that was the case, so was quite perplexed. Either the recipe has been changed or the server who took my order last year did not know the bacon was in the meat and so thought as I did that it could simply be excluded. The link I had in my last post to the menu no longer works, I found, so it’s possible the menu was changed. Continue reading “What happened to my elk burger, Happy Gnome?”

A low-salt, low-fat lunch can get expensive, try $20+

Salad bars are my lunch choice when eating out these days. I’ve written about three near Millennium Park in Chicago, not far from my office.

My very expensive attempt to fill up at lunch -- salad, salmon, edamame and frozen yogurt.
My very expensive attempt to fill up at lunch — salad, salmon, edamame and frozen yogurt.

But salad alone rarely fills me up on any given day, so I often buy add-ons to try to quell my normal hunger pains. When getting my salad at Marinao‘s, I’ll also pick up two ounces of raw salmon for $7, often doubling the cost of lunch from around $7 to $14. Continue reading “A low-salt, low-fat lunch can get expensive, try $20+”

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”

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