bite my words

Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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Paper bag popcorn

A friend recently shared this link with me to an article on how to make your own microwave popcorn (she also shared that it works).

Lots of people are concerned about some of the ingredients in microwave popcorn (particularly some of the ingredients in the bag itself). This allows you to choose your source for corn kernels, use a plain old paper bag, and season your popcorn as you wish.

Topping suggestions:

  • nutritional yeast
  • parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper
  • sugar and cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • a little melted chocolate drizzled over-top
  • pretty much any herb and spice combo you desire


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Portion-controlled snack problem

There seem to be an increasing number of portion controlled low-calorie foods available. In theory, I like the idea of portion control. We all know that you’re likely to eat more chips if you’re eating from a large bag than if you serve yourself a small bowl and put the bag away before you start eating. For those who continue to hear the bag calling to them from the cupboard, mini-bags can be a great solution (as long as you don’t allow yourself more than one bag in a sitting).

My problem with the majority of these products is that they’re not going to provide you with any sense of satiety. Take these new Special K Fruit Crisps for example. At only 100 calories per two crisps they seem like a great idea. But what nutrition do those calories come with? Fibre? Nope, none. Protein? One measly gram (keep in mind a serving of protein is 6-7 grams). There’s only 80 mg of sodium and just under two teaspoons of sugar. When you think about it though, that’s a fair amount for the tiny bit of food and calories you’re eating. Wouldn’t you rather have something more satisfying? Even if you have to have a few more calories to do it, it may be worthwhile. And I do only mean a few. Have a piece of fruit and a few nuts or a piece of cheese (there are lots of convenient individually packaged options available now) and a couple of whole grain crackers. Sure, being able to toss something in your bag, desk, or car is handy but try to choose something that’s going to give you some nutrition and keep you feeling full for a while. Don’t waste your money on empty calories, you’d probably be better off eating the money (more fibre at least from the bills).


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Frozen bananas

One of my favourite summer snacks is a frozen banana. Just take a ripe banana, peel it, and wrap it in aluminum foil. Pop it in the freezer. Once frozen, remove when desired, peel back the foil and eat. If you want to get a little fancier (and a little less healthy) slice a banana and top each slice with melted chocolate. Try mixing peanut butter in with the chocolate or sprinkling coconut on top. Place in freezer on a plate right before supper. After your main course, remove from the freezer and enjoy for dessert.


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Homemade Chips!

I was visiting with my best friend and her foodie hubby in Toronto this past week when she shared with me this amazing homemade potato chip recipe that her husband’s been making on occasion. It was so simple that I just had to try it for myself. Here are the delicious results:

The original recipe used a regular white potato but I decided to be slightly more adventurous and used sweet potato seasoned with freshly ground black pepper and a little bit of sea salt. I think it would work well with a range of vegetables… parsnip, zucchini, beet, turnip. I really want to try it with apple next!

The recipe:

Thinly slice your vegetable (or fruit of choice). I used a┬ámandolin┬áslicer on the second thinnest setting. Then toss with 1-2 tsp of olive oil. Put a piece of paper towel on a large plate and place a single layer of the sliced vegetable on the paper towel. Place in the microwave and set for 6 minutes. Keep an eye on your chips as they will turn from perfect crispness to brown and burnt in a matter of seconds! Mine were perfect at about 4:10 but I imagine that results will vary depending on your selected vegetable, your microwave, and how thinly you’ve sliced your chips. Remove from microwave (careful as the plate will be hot) and allow to cool for about 30 seconds. Carefully peel chips from the paper towel. Repeat with remaining sliced vegetables. Season to taste with herbs, spices, and/or a little bit of salt. A quick and healthier alternative to store-bought, deep-fried chips.

UPDATE:

Don’t bother trying the apple chips. They just get all floppy.


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One meal is never enough

More than once I’ve had people say to me that they eat healthily. More than once these same people will also admit to skipping breakfast and sometimes lunch as well. Just because the food that you’re eating (when you’re actually eating) is healthy this doesn’t mean that you’re eating healthily. Eating a healthy diet is about more than the foods you eat. It’s about when you eat them, how much you eat of them, and what you’re not eating. Like many other dietitians I’m fond of the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. I know that many people don’t feel like eating first thing in the morning but it’s essential to your metabolism to eat something in the morning. It doesn’t have to be right after you wake-up, some research has indicated that if you’re attempting to lose weight it’s actually beneficial to wait to have breakfast after a morning workout. I’m always hungry in the morning but if I’m exercising first thing then I’ll just have some water and eat after my workout. If you’re not a big breakfast eater try having a smoothie, include fruit, protein (e.g. yoghurt, milk, or nut butter), and even a grain like oats. Liquids are often more easily tolerated than solids. Or keep a stash of breakfast items at work so that you’ll have a healthy choice on-hand when you get there.

Timing of meals is important. If you go to long without eating you’re far more likely to overindulge and/or choose unhealthy (e.g. energy-dense, nutrient-poor) options when you do finally eat. Try to get yourself on a schedule and have something to eat every 2-4 hours.

Variety is an important part of healthy eating and if you’re only eating one meal a day odds are that you’re not getting enough variety in your diet. Eating smaller portions frequently throughout the day will help you to get all the nutrients you need from different foods.

One meal a day is not enough. Eat up!

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