Today I am frantically editing references and finalizing a textbook that I am co-authoring (all in time to watch the Super Bowl). As I look ahead at the party I am going to in a few hours I realize that Super Bowl parties could be a train wreck for people who are consciously trying to watch their weight and pull through 2009 carrying around less weight and healthier than they started this year off.
I’ve mainly been talking about goals and weight (a common January theme) for the past month. And I also threw in a few of my favorite Superbowl Sunday appetizers a few days back. Among the chips, dips and spread of food this Sunday, there will be a common snack food: nuts. People seem to fall into one of two camps when it comes to nuts. They either eat them or avoid them because they are high in fat and calories (yet snack on nutritionally-empty chips instead).
This week I’ve had the pleasure of editing textbook chapters. Aside from re-formatting references, the rest has truly been fun and rewarding. I have a fantastic detail-oriented co-editor and top notch authors who wrote each chapter.
I’ve seen many dietitians decide between using intuitive eating and counting calories with their clients. Intuitive eating, coined by dietitian Evelyn Tribole, means separating the emotional and physical aspects of food and learning to eat entirely on physiological hunger and satiety cues (read this article for more information: www.figureathlete.com/readArticle.do?id=2392335). Counting calories means, well, counting calories (food logs etc. – see previous post from a few days ago). However, I view the two as not mutually exclusive. When it comes to nutrition there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that works nearly as well as individual customization.
I am pumped up about Sunday’s game. And no, I’m not the die-hard football fan that my brother-in-law is. But, I am excited about watching the game in good company and cheering on an athlete I worked with when he was a college standout (a stellar Steeler and all around phenomenal person).
As a dietitian I realize many people also get pumped up because football is an excuse to drink beer and eat fried food, chips and more fried food. I often wonder how anyone gets excited about that (isn’t fried food plentiful in our country? It isn’t unique to football, the fall or anything else for that matter). There are however tons of healthy and much more flavorful foods that you can incorporate into your big game day.
I have two favorite dips I’m going to share with you. The first one is simple:
Smoked Salmon Dip
Fat free cream cheese
skinless, boneless canned salmon
smoke flavoring (a dash will do, more to taste)
Directions: Just mix it together in a bowl and you are done! Seriously, that easy.
By the way, smoke flavoring is found near the soy sauce in your grocery store. Fat free + healthy salmon and delicious!
My other favorite is:
Roasted Red Pepper Pistachio Dip
Makes 12 servings
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and toasted (3 oz)
3/4 cup roasted red peppers (almost the entire 7 oz jar minus the liquid)
2 Tbsp bread crumbs
1 ounce lemon or lime juice
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt or regular salt
Directions: Toast pistachios in 350 degree oven for 4-5 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Pulse pistachios in food processor (or a clean coffee grinder) for 30 seconds to chop nuts (reserve 1 Tbsp for garnish). Add all other ingredients to food processor bowl (changing blades on the food processor). Blend in food processor for 1 minute until smooth. Refrigerate for a few hours. Garnish with remaining pistachios and serve with vegetables or chips.
Nutrition Analysis (per 1/12 of recipe):
Fat: 3 grams
Protein: 1.7 grams
Carbohydrate: 5 grams
Fiber: < 1 gram
Sodium: 183 mg
In addition to my favorite dips (paired with veggies of course), take a peek at Whole Foods all time favorites:
Spicy Cheddar-Jack Cauliflower Dip (Vegetarian, Gluten-Free)http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipeId=2428
Tofu Curry Dip with Chives (Vegetarian, Dairy Free)http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipeId=29
Spinach-Mushroom Quesadillas with Feta (Vegetarian)http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipeId=2426
Eight-Layer Mediterranean Dip (Vegetarian)http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipeId=2439
Vegetarian Chipotle Chili (Vegetarian, Gluten-Free)http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipeId=1851
Turkey Chili (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipeId=387
Herb-Roasted Sweet Potato Skins (Vegan, Gluten-Free)http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipeId=1397
Now that I’ve sold you (or at the very least you are in the precontemplation stage) on keeping a food diary/log, you are probably going to tell me that you eat out all of the time right? Sure, you can keep a food log when traveling but you may have no clue what is in that delicious creamy dish you are devouring. Wonder no longer. Dr. Jo, a dietitian who specializes in dining healthy when dining out, created an entire series of books and printable cards that give you the strategies you need and provide meal suggestions for dining healthy when dining out! She includes tips and strategies for breakfast, lunch and dinner and every dining situation you can think of.
Yesterday I discussed how important it is to keep track of your food intake if you want to lose weight. The money experts tell you that it is wise to figure out where your money is going if you want to make sure that it isn’t going to steep credit card interest payments. Well, I am telling you the same thing with food. If you have trouble losing weight or maintaining your weight loss, you need to take a better look at what you are eating and how you are exercising. Here are some of the internet-based tools (many are free) that you can use to do this:
If weight loss was one of the resolutions you committed to on January 1, 2009, by now you should have made some progress. That progress could be weight loss, behavior change or a combination of the two. If you don’t feel like you are making progress though, it is time to take a step back and ask yourself why you haven’t. As a dietitian I’ve heard literally every excuse in the book but it really comes down to priorities. If you didn’t exercise all week, what did you do with that time instead? Watch TV? Run errands? Talk on the phone? Take a nap? As with any goal, you have to make weight loss and your overall health a priority. A top priority in fact if you want to trim down your future health care costs while increasing your productivity in all areas of your life.
It is now Friday, January 23rd. Where are your New Year’s resolution or resolutions? If you can’t answer that question, it’s time to re-visit the written (or typed) list you made 3 or more weeks ago. Once you pull that out and put it in front of your eyes, you can assess how much progress you’ve made. If you are falling short, don’t wait until Monday or Feb. 1 or exactly 3 months out from your beach trip or some other arbitrary day to start going to the gym. (though I have to admit I’m very thankful my gym isn’t packed) Start today. According to the experts who have publicly discussed Oprah’s weight loss, weight gain, weight loss cycle, it often takes several tries before you succeed at something. Think about smokers. How many people do you know that have put down cigarettes forever only to pick them back up when they get stressed? Then they go through this cycle so many times you don’t even pay attention until one day you realize they put down those little cancer sticks for good.
Yesterday a friend invited me to the Steamhouse Lounge Oysterfest here in Atlanta in February. Although my grandfather was a seafood merchant, scouting out the best seafood up and down the east coast and venturing over to Houma, LA for oysters, I’ve never eaten an oyster. Here’s what I know though – they are slippery little things that are loaded with copper. In graduate school I had to design a perfect diet for three days that met all nutrient needs (all vitamins and minerals as well as carbohydrates, protein and fat for the calorie level assigned to us). The catch? No meat. Let me tell you how hard that was. After almost finishing my project, I realized I fell short on copper. Beef is loaded with copper yet I couldn’t include it. The next best food? You guessed it, oysters. We need 900 micrograms of copper per day. Mushrooms, tomato paste, semisweet chocolate and soybeans all contain copper as well. This mineral is needed in to help us make hemoglobin, it is a component of many body enzymes, it helps your body produce energy and helps our body make connective tissue. Given the fact that I can’t a cup of semisweet chocolate everyday to meet my copper needs, it looks like I may have to venture out and give oysters a shot this year!