Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Cleaning in Food and Nutrition

A wonderful welcome to Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, North Carolina. Executive Chef Johannes
Klapdohr is so enthusiastic about the natural bounty of the seasons he creates floral fantasies of organic veggies to wow food loving guests.
How's that New Year’s Diet Going?
Fall's Great Time to Refresh Resolutions

So how are you doing on those resolutions to eat healthier that you may have made back in January? If the answer is “Oh yeah, I kind of lost steam and got a little side tracked” you’re in the majority. Turns out that you need to treat every day as New Year’s Day and give yourself the option to start all over again. So with summer fading and fall on the horizon let’s hit the reset button to launch a fresh start.

Fall Cleaning: Start at home with a clean sweep of the fridge and pantry and a vow to toss more salads and toss out the potato chips. Stocking a kitchen with a cast of figure friendly vegetables, fresh fruit, lean meats, whole grains, and fat free or low-fat dairy is the best foundation for sticking to a weight loss diet. Have some fall fun at a local farmers market and take advantage of autumn harvests of gorgeous greens, late season tomatoes, tender carrots and crunchy apples.

Since the average American eats out at least four to five times a week with certain age groups such as those in their 30’s dining out up to 30 times a week, you’ll have to make some healthy changes in your restaurant habits if you want to see a smaller number when you step on the scale.
Know Which Flavors are Free – There are plenty of ways to jazz up steamed vegetables, grilled fish and other menu choices you might otherwise garnish with a high fat sauce. Lemon juice, salsa, steak sauce, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, soy sauce and vinegars are low cal or no cal options for adding flavor without fat. If you’re watching your sodium intake go easy on soy and steak sauces.
Read Between the Lines – Menu descriptions don’t always tell the whole story about the added fat in a dish. If it says “crispy coating” it probably means fried and always ask the server about how the sauces are made. For example, is it a “light” tomato sauce because it’s made cream and color is lighter? It can happen!

Skip the extras- It’s not the craving for pizza that ‘done your diet wrong’, it was the decision to add extra pepperoni or a double cheese that send the fat and calories over your limit. Watch out for extras such as fried croutons on salads, bacon slices on burgers and cheese sauce slathered on steamed broccoli. Think of these high calorie additions as accessories to use sparingly.

Go Green
No matter where you’re dining, resolve to add more vegetables to your menu choices. Even it means asking to Biggie Size the lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles on your fast food hamburger; you’re adding more veggies to your diet. This adds low cal or no cal nutrients to your daily intake and the fiber in cooked vegetables and salads helps you feel full.

Find Farms on the Menu-
The good news is that eating healthier has never tasted better because a growing number of chefs today are enthusiastic about featuring the most flavorful farm fresh produce on their menus.

Carvel Gould, executive chef at Canoe in Vinings buys as much as possible from local farmers and has recently added raised bed gardens to the landscaping around the restaurant, “You should see the eggplants!”

Executive Chef Johannes Klapdohr of the Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, North Carolina is so passionate about sharing his fresh finds with guests that menus include enticing descriptions such as “Brussels sprouts surprise” and “lifecycle of peas.” Farmer David Taylor of Lakemont, Georgia even finds his name on the menu at Madisons restaurant at the Old Edwards Inn right next to the eggs and salad greens he supplies.

Want to Eat More?
Well, then you’ll have to move more. Whether it’s a morning jog before breakfast, a lunchtime yoga class or dancing after dinner, exercise not only helps you maintain the weight loss you achieved. It allows you to eat more without regaining.

How DO you Stay So Slim??

Savvy Secrets from Smart Diners

Losing weight is one thing. Keeping it off is another issue. Too many dieters end up back where they started. The sad statistics are that most folks will regain the weight they worked so hard to shed if they don’t adopt lifelong strategies for weight control management. So what are the savvy secrets for staying slim? Turns out is has more to do with what’s on your mind before you think about what’s on your plate. Dr. John Foreyt, professor of psychiatry and Director of Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston says, “The keys to long term weight control are problem solving on a daily basis, predicting challenges and then planning for them. People may say they want a detailed prescribed meal plan, but what they need is nutrition know-how and the problem solving skills to use any day of their lives.” He concludes that it’s the power of mind (read: willpower and motivation) that keeps the trim people trim and boy do they work at it, “They are eternally vigilant with daily or weekly weighing, they monitor calorie intake and they’re highly active exercising at least 60 minutes a day.”
According to Dr. Jim Hill’s research from the National Weight Control Registry (a database of more than 5,000 people who've lost more than 30 pounds and kept the weight off for at least a year) their exercise of choice is not marathon running- it’s walking but walking enough to burn 400 calories a day, “The good news is small changes for all of us, things that take very little time and effort, like walking an extra 2,000 steps a day about 15 minutes can burn 100 calories.” Trimming 100 calories from what you normally eat each day can help, too. Skip the cheese on the cheeseburger, choose the low fat mayonnaise, eliminate one tablespoon of butter, ask for club soda instead of tonic water in cocktail, use non fat milk in your latte. What else does the slim set do to maintain their weight?
They Eat Until Satisfied Not Stuffed - Try putting your fork down halfway through a meal and ask yourself using a 1 to 10 scale, how full are you? Take a sip of water and think about it some more. Talk to your dining companions. You’ll give yourself time to gauge how hungry you really are and by eating slowly it allows the stomach time to trigger the brain’s sensation of fullness. A diet study conducted at the University of Rhode Island found that women consumed fewer calories and were more satisfied when they ate at a slower pace. Bottom line: By eating more slowly the women ate 70 calories less and said they enjoyed the meal more.

They Eat More Fruit and Vegetables - Bet you’re not surprised by this one! According to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association healthy weight women eat one more serving of fruit and eat more fiber and less fat per day than overweight people.
And even though many people associate weight loss with high protein intake, the statistics from the successful dieters in the National Weight Control Registry don’t support the eat-all-the-steak-you-want diet. Their diets were on average 20% protein, 24% fat and 56% carbohydrates. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are the best source of healthy carbs.
They Have a Plan and Stick to It - 78% of successful dieters in National Weight Control Registry ate breakfast every day. And- sorry to tell you this- they consistently monitor their food intake. According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine conducted by Dr. Rena Wing of Brown University, folks who lost weight and kept it off continued to be careful about consumption of lower calorie menu options and moderated their fat intake. Beth Weitzman, the uber busy editor in chief of Jezebel Magazine, works with a personal trainer to keep her focused on fitness and carefully edits her menu choices when dining out, “I order seafood and request that it be cooked clean (no butter, just lemon and or olive oil) and a side of steamed veggies with nothing on them. OK Cafe does a great job with this and their menu offers lots of great healthy options; as does Seasons 52.”

They’re Smart about Splurging. Whether it’s chocolate brownies, French fries or lasagna that you crave, realize you love these foods and allow yourself to enjoy them in sensible portions. Feel the textures and smell the aromas to help you feel more satisfied with a smaller portion. Registered dietitian, Allison Beadle says, “Tex Mex is my soul food so I have to find smart ways to save calories so I split chicken or beef fajitas with someone else, order pica de gallo to increase veggies and when I have to have cheese enchiladas, I just try to make sure that I’m totally in the moment and aware of what I’m eating—enjoying the decadent cheesiness as much as humanly possible!.” Then, you guessed it, she balances her indulgence with more exercise the next day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Little Things Add Up or Down on the Scale

It’s the little things that mean a lot. And it turns out that little proverb can be applied to weight control, too.
To keep current on nutrition issues, I recently attended an American Dietetic Association three-day course on adult weight management presented by experts in all areas of the field, including diet counseling, physical activity and clinical assessment.
Back to the little things.
I learned encouraging news that little bouts of exercise — as few as 10 minutes in duration — can add up to significant gains in fitness.
Unfortunately, it’s the little bites eaten here and there above our daily caloric needs that can add up to sizable weight gain over time.
Call it the “creep.” The cumulative effect of small daily errors in energy balance can slowly but surely feed the growth of body fat.
As obesity expert Dr. Robert Kushner of Northwestern University explained: “By consuming just 12 calories more per day, you can gain 2 pounds a year. By eating 125 calories more per day, you can gain more than 12 pounds in a year.”
The sage budget advice to “watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves” holds true here, too.
On the exercise front, registered dietitian Ruth Ann Carpenter of the Cooper Institute in Dallas, summarized physical activity guidelines for weight maintenance, “Do 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week such as walking, biking or gardening. Split it up into at least three days a week with no less than 10-minute bouts at a time.”
If you want more health benefits, you’ll have to do more exercise.
It’s the calories, folks
Bottom line: To prevent weight gain each day, you should walk 2,000 steps and cut 100 calories. (Skip the cheese on the burger and pass on another pat of butter.)
To support weight loss, you should walk at least 10,000 steps and cut 500 to 1,000 calories a day.Putting this knowledge into practice is of course what counts.
And in my case, since the meeting was being held in the expansive Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center in Nashville, I had plenty of opportunities to put my pedometer to work.
Surprisingly, even though I was sitting in meetings with a few breaks, I was able to get in 9,000 steps the first day. (I got lost a lot and wandered through the 9 acres of beautiful indoor gardens with walkways and waterfalls.)
I also munched on fresh fruit snacks offered by the hotel during our seminars and had lots of healthy lunch options.
One day I could go to Stax, the build-your-own-burger place, and pile on the lettuce, tomatoes and pickles on top of a small hamburger or chicken sandwich.
The next day I could get a big green salad topped with grilled salmon at
 Cascades Seafood Restaurant. Cutting calories while enjoying great taste is getting easier thanks to menu alternatives today.
Learning how to make these healthy lifestyle choices in a world that weight-control experts call an “obesigenic environment” is a critical survival skill needed to prevent weight gain and related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
So I’ve taken Kushner’s list of forces that contribute to obesity and given them a healthy makeover.
Fit in a fattening world
Hurried life, always rushing: Walk even faster to burn more calories. Take the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator. Park farther away and walk instead of circling to find the closest parking spot. Make moments of calm count. Savor your foods.
Food available everywhere: This often means more variety, so be selective about what you choose, accept the fact that this won’t be the last time someone offers you cake or cookies, stick to three meals and a snack instead of uncontrolled grazing.
Cooking less: If you don’t know how to cook, take a class or buy a cookbook to learn techniques for easy-to-prepare, lower-calorie recipes. You won’t have bad cooking habits to unlearn.
Eating out more: Whether it’s fast food or fancy, go online to look at the menus ahead of time to help plan healthier choices. Learn to be specific in requests, “May I have extra lemon with my fish?”
Exercise engineered out of our lives: Take the stairs, hide the remote, just say no to robot vacuum cleaners, open the garage door yourself, ditch the drive-through by actually walking into the restaurant.
Carolyn O’Neil is a registered dietitian and co-author of “The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!” E-mail her at carolyn@

Order This, Not That! Mexican Menus

Follow this link to find out what to enjoy at Mexican restaurants......if you want to find the slimmest ways to dine South of the Border.