Monday, December 27, 2010

Eat More in 2011! Hungry to Learn How?'ll have to choose a lean hot dog and a whole grain bun but......

When it comes to weight control, calories still count, but the new PointsPlus program recently introduced by Weight Watchers International considers that some calories count more than others. For instance, foods higher in protein and fiber are assigned lower PointsPlus values because the body has to work harder to process them, essentially burning calories to convert protein and fiber into energy. Conversely, foods higher in fat and carbohydrate are assigned higher points values because the body more easily processes them and stores them as body fat. Atlanta dietitian, Marie Spano says, “Weight Watchers takes into account the principle that our body spends more energy processing protein and fiber whereas we spend little energy on carbs and fat.”

So, a calorie consumed really isn’t always a calorie in the human body.
The new PointsPlus approach is a big change for Weight Watchers, a diet program with a fifty year history. “A lot has changed in the science of nutrition since the original points system was developed,” explains registered dietitian Stephanie Rost, Director of Program Development for Weight Watchers International, “So it’s important to us looking at 2011 and beyond that our program reflects the latest research and that’s the main impetus for the completely new system.” Also part of the new math, taking into consideration the impact foods have on satiety. Lean protein foods, including non fat dairy products, and whole grain foods high in fiber, help dieters feel fuller longer so meals are more satisfying even if total calories in the meal is less.
Here’s an example comparing two breakfast meals each containing 270 calories.
A medium croissant with a pat of butter.
1 poached egg, 1 slice of light whole-wheat toast with pat of light butter and 3 ounces of Canadian bacon.
The croissant is assigned a 7 PointsPlus value.
The ham and eggs breakfast is assigned only a 6 PointsPlus value; because it’s higher in protein and fiber. Spano likes the new plan, “One thing I saw on the old program is that people would eat their points in processed carbs to stay within the limits and then they’d be hungry and overeat and their diet was unbalanced. This new plan seems more balanced and I’m thrilled to see that they are taking protein into account now.”
Fruits and Vegetables Go Free
Another big shift in Weight Watchers’ diet advice is that now most fruits and vegetables, including fresh, canned or frozen, have zero PointsPlus values. Rost explains that it’s a powerful incentive to improve diet quality. She says in the past for instance, a banana was 2 points and so was a 100 calorie snack pack, so members would skip the fruit to eat cookies, “It’s fun to see what you can add with zero points and amazing to being able to shift behavior to make healthier choices.” Spano points out that you still have to count points for some produce, “Certain veggies, especially the starchy ones such as corn, potatoes and peas do have higher PointsPlus values. 1 cup of corn kernels has 4 PointsPlus and corn on the cob has 2 PointsPlus. And that fast food baked potato with veggies and cheese – it will cost 11 PointsPlus while 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes has 3 PointsPlus.” Of course, any added butter or salad dressing will rack up additional PointsPlus; even when the veggie is a freebie. In the fruit category, grapes and oranges may have 0 PointsPlus, but turn them into juice and you’ll count 2 points per ½ cup. Dried fruit and fruits canned in syrup all have PointPlus values, too.
Even if you’re not a member of Weight Watchers International there are valuable lessons to learn from their time tested approach. What remains the same in the world of Weight Watchers is the focus on four pillars for weight loss success: diet, activity, behavior change and group support. But, now the fruit salad is free.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hot Tips for Eating to Beat Winter Cold Season

Craft Atlanta's Woodfire Oven Welcomes with Smokey Aromas & Cozy Feel

The holiday season is upon us and along with the festive lights and music we look forward to each year; we often encounter the not so welcome sounds of coughing and sneezing. Winter colds and flu, unfortunately for some, are part of the holiday happenings. Health officials advise the two most important things you can do to ward off a winter ills is to wash your hands and try to steer clear of folks who have a cold. But, what you eat and drink can make a difference too. Good nutrition plays a starring role in keeping your immune system in high gear. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to mega dose on certain vitamins or stock up on foods claiming to be “immune boosters”. It turns out there are no super foods to help you battle bacteria and viruses. However, a short fall in the consumption of certain key nutrients can weaken your immune system so you’re more vulnerable to germs. What do immune cells need to be their fighting best? Registered dietitian Sharon Palmer, editor of Environmental Nutrition newsletter says research points to well balanced diet including foods sources of the mineral zinc and vitamin such as C, E and D as well as probiotics in yogurts, “It’s important to keep in mind that foods contain a synergy of nutrients that work in unison to provide health benefits versus supplements which only provide one or two nutrients. Here’s more reason to make every bite count, with delicious, whole foods bursting with nutrients.” Turns out the time tested advice to ‘eat your vegetables’ is the foundation for firming up immune function, too. The generous roasted root vegetable side dish served at Craft Atlanta offers a delicious solution for healthy dining out this winter. Chef Kevin Maxey oven roasts a mix of parsnips, golden beets, rutabaga, winter squash and baby carrots tossed in olive oil and a little sherry vinegar.

Diet to Dodge the Sniffles, at Least Shorten Duration
Vitamin C: Increases the production of infection fighting white blood cells and antibodies to create protective coating on cell surfaces. The latest research, according to The National Institutes of Health, does little to support the belief that vitamin C’s a sure thing to prevent a cold, but it plays a key role in speeding up recovery. Vitamin C rich foods: orange juice, grapefruit, citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries and bell peppers. Flying this holiday season? Order a hydrating and healthy mix of half orange juice and half sparkling water from the in-flight drink cart.
Vitamin E: Found to reduce the risk of upper respiratory infections such as the common cold. One of the most important antioxidant vitamins it stimulates the production of natural killer cells that seek and destroy invading germs. Vitamin E rich foods: nuts, olives, olive oil and leafy greens. Attention holiday party goers: people who don’t exercise, consume a lot of alcoholic beverages and smoke need even more vitamin E to support the immune system.
Vitamin D: The “sunshine vitamin” so called because our skin produces vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight is emerging as a big player in the immune system. Hmmm, could it be a coincidence that the incidence of cold and flu is up when we spend more time inside during the winter? Go out for a walk in the winter sun and enjoy vitamin D containing foods such as salmon, sardines and fortified milk products.
Zinc: The body uses the mineral zinc to build infection fighting T-cells. The elderly are often deficient in zinc, so it’s an important nutrient to prioritize as we age. Many studies show zinc’s the thing to help shorten the duration of a cold. Zinc foods: red meat, poultry, seafood (notably oysters), beans and nuts.
Probiotics: Live cultures in yogurts increase populations of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which is the front line defense of our immune system. Palmer says, “It is the largest immune organ in the body, accounting for 25 percent of immune cells.”
Beta Carotene: Found in orange colored foods such as carrots, butter nut squash, sweet potatoes and mangos, this powerful plant antioxidant becomes immune-boosting vitamin A in the body.
Mushrooms: Palmer’s focus on immune research for Environmental Nutrition, found that mushrooms are capturing scientists’ attention. A 2007 study published in The Journal of Nutrition, found that a powder made of white button mushrooms significantly increased killer cell activity when fed to laboratory mice. More palatable is the array of wild and foraged mushrooms consistently featured on Craft Atlanta’s menu. Feed your immune system and appetite for flavorful foods by ordering Maxey’s Winter Greens Salad with Roasted Hen of the Woods Mushrooms and Pumpkin Seed brittle.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Skipping is Good Exercise-Skipping Meals is Not!

Best foods for families to add to diets
By Carolyn O’Neil

Forget the old image of dietitians as the “nutrition nannies” wagging their fingers and listing all of the foods you’re not supposed to eat.

Research presented at the American Dietetic Association’s 2010 Food and Nutrition Conference held in Boston this week focused on the foods American families should be adding to their diets for good health.

“The conversation about childhood obesity today should include advice for parents and kids about the quality of the diet, not just quantity,” said dietitian Liz Weiss, co-author of a new cookbook on family nutrition, “No Whine with Dinner.”

Weiss and thousands of other dietitians nationwide are joining a grassroots campaign launched by the ADA this week to promote healthy eating and prevent childhood obesity called Kids Eat Right (

Dr. Katie Brown, national education director for the ADA Foundation, explains, “Under the umbrella of Kids Eat Right, new resources and tools such as recipes, nutrition tips from grocery shopping to dining out are designed to empower families to transform daily eating behaviors.”

A nationwide survey by the ADA Foundation on family nutrition released at the conference reveals disturbing new information on children skipping meals and eating more snacks. ADA President, Judith Rodriguez said, “Consequently, our children are simultaneously over-fed with empty calorie food and drinks and undernourished.”

Weiss was surprised. “I knew that a lot of kids were skipping breakfast, but I had no idea so many were skipping other meals including dinner and that’s what’s leading to more snacking. So we need to give parents tools to help them offer healthy snacks instead of junk foods and help them get meals on the table,” she said.

In preparation for writing “No Whine with Dinner,” Weiss and co-author dietitian Janice Bissex, conducted a survey of moms who follow their website, www.meal, and found that the biggest barrier to getting kids to eat healthy meals at home or in restaurants was the challenge of the picky eater. “The biggest obstacle wasn’t lack of time or even budget concerns; it was dealing with kids’ complaints about eating healthier foods,” she said. “So our book shares secrets from parents and dietitians on how to turn the whines into wows at family mealtime.”

Getting kids to eat
right when eating out

● Try to plan ahead by looking at restaurant menus online. You could even print it out to share with kids in the car on the way there to discuss meal choices.

● Choose eateries that cater to children. Chances are, if a lot of families are dining there, the menu and staff will be kid-friendly and happy to split entrees to create smaller portions and offer healthy sides such as fresh fruit or carrot sticks.

● For kids’ meals, opt for nonfat or low-fat milk as a beverage.

● Choose two or three suitable menu items, then let your child pick one.

● For new foods, offer a bite or two from your order. Weiss adds “Moms in our survey said they like to use eating out occasions as an opportunity to get kids to try something new such as bean burritos or sweet potato fries.”

Find this article at:
Print this page Close .

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You may have heard the simplistic advice to dine out less often if you want to weigh less. It’s true that restaurant portion sizes can tip the scales and dishes are often gussied up with more cheese, butter, oil and salt than you might use in home cooking. But, sounding the alarm to avoid eating out in an effort to improve nutrition habits is like telling people to leave their cars in the garage if they want to avoid getting into an automobile accident.

To improve highway safety we need driver’s education. The same goes for safely navigating a restaurant menu. We need more diners’ education!

Restaurant Road Rules:

1. Map Out Menu Choices: Read the menu and listen carefully when servers list the specials. Check out the menu online to help you plan a safe route. Nicole Jones, who founded a dinner club group that meets once a month to dine out in Atlanta restaurants says, “We always scan the menu ahead of time so when we arrive everyone knows that they might want. I’m a planner and if I want to splurge on a dessert I pick my appetizer more carefully. I even ask the waiter to bring the dessert menu before I order my entrée!” I met Jones and her group of foodie friends at Pricci in Buckhead where she enjoyed the mussels and tiramisu.

2. Signal Your Intentions: Be specific about what you want or don’t want. For example, ‘Can you lightly brush the fish with butter?’ or ‘Ask the chef not to salt my food.’ Jones, whose dinner club has visited 35 restaurants in 3 years, observes,
“Every restaurant we’ve been to has diet friendly recommendations which are just as tasty.”

3. Be Aware of Surroundings. Remember where you are. Ask for balsamic vinegar in an Italian place and rice wine vinegar in a Japanese place to add non-fat flavor to foods. Béarnaise sauce at steak houses often arrives in a huge gravy boat, best kept way on the side. But, if the sauce is a light swirl and part of the chef’s creative gourmet vision, enjoy it the way it’s intended to be. Jones’ reviews, “Whether on the lamb chops or mussels, each sauce at Pricci was delicious and distinctively different.”

4. Dine Defensively. Be honest when the waiter asks you how you like your meal. Don’t suffer in silence. They want to work fast to make you happy. Heck, the raspberry vinaigrette meant for the salad might even be the best request to add flavor to a grilled chicken breast. Eating out can be a taste adventure, “I like to try things I’ve never had before,” says Jones.

5. Use Your Mirrors. Check out the Room. Look around and see what other diners are eating so you get a visual on portion sizes. Way too large? Split the entrée or plan to box up half for carry-out. Spying on other tables will also let you see that the entrée “served with spring greens” is either a sizable serving of salad or a disappointing wisp of lettuce garnish. Take special note of road hazards. Jones admits the freshly baked bread served with marinara and warm goat cheese at Pricci was “Hard to resist!”

6. Highway Etiquette: Oh Waiter! Make eye contact, smile and appreciate your server. It’s just human nature--waiters are likely to spend more time at friendly tables. Tip for good service when the server goes to the mat for your special order request. They’re not doing it for their health-even if you are! Let them know they’ll be rewarded ahead of time by saying, “If you help us eat a little less… we’ll tip you a little more.” Smaller hips, bigger tips!!

7. Enjoy the ride! Make dining out a special occasion and enjoy the conversation as much as the cuisine. Jones formed her dinner club to make new friends when she moved to Atlanta from Houston in 2007, “There are 22 ladies on the roster and we’re moving beyond the table to include white water rafting trips and ski vacations, too.” Next stop for Jones’ dinner club is Capital Grille in November. Watch the béarnaise sauce ladies. There’s great cheesecake for dessert.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nutrition at your fingertips

TMI. Too much information can be frustrating thing no matter what the topic.
Calorie counts on menu items can certainly help dieters quickly decide between the chicken fried steak and grilled chicken. But, a lengthy list of nutrition facts can be mind numbing when charts downloaded on smart phones or from restaurant websites reel off everything from cholesterol and fiber to vitamin and mineral content. What was I having for lunch again? Can’t someone just telling which choice is better for me? Well, that depends. Are you looking for a burger or pizza? And do you care more about calories or sodium?
Providing choices within categories and putting them into perspective is what Usable Health kiosks aim to do for restaurant diners with an eye on their diet and health. Here’s how it would work. Say you’re at Chic-Fil-A and you’re watching your sodium intake. Punch in chicken sandwich and the kiosk would reveal you can save 250 milligrams of sodium by swapping the fried chicken sandwich for the char grilled. Care about calories? The kiosk would alert you to swap the McChicken sandwich for a hamburger and save 110 calories. Right now, Atlanta based Usable Health, has interactive kiosks placed in the midtown location of Atlanta restaurant chain, Tin Drum.
Chad Bonner, co-founder of Usable Health says, “People are loving the experience and we’re tracking over 150 individual orders per day.” The health-based menu ordering service developed by Georgia Tech researchers prompts customers to select personal health goals including management of diabetes, blood pressure or weight. Then the kiosk suggests a customized menu. Bonner predicts technological support of menu guidance will be even more in demand as regulations take effect requiring restaurants, airport food outlets and even vending machines to provide nutrition information, “We’re really excited about taking this to the next step of personalization including more detailed health information and food preferences.” Currently, users can sign up on to create a profile and be a part of this growing company’s consumer research. While we wait for more technology to help translate nutrition numbers into healthy menu choices, here are some word clues to help you cut calories by decoding common menu terms.
Fat by any other name
Aioli-mayonnaise with garlic
Au Gratin- topped with cheese, butter and breadcrumb mixture
Beurre--butter’s French name
Bisque-most often a cream based soup
Béarnaise--watch the “-aise,” which indicates egg based mayonnaise
Crispy-code word for fried!
Crusted or Encrusted--coated with nuts, bread crumbs or potato, pan fried until crispy

Leaning toward leaner….
Au Jus--pan juices often reduced with no fat added
Braise--slow cooked to tenderize meats or fish, often little added fat
Broth-fragrant water based sauce with infused flavors ie. chicken & lemongrass broth
Coulis--all hail the coulis, often a no-fat-added puree of vegetables or fruit
Primavera – Italian for “spring”; indicates vegetables are major ingredient
Provencale- South-of-France style sauce with tomato and other vegetables

Ask Questions If It Says:
Grilled--watch out for butter or oil slathered on during grilling
Roasted--watch out for extra fat used in roasting, ie.butter basted
Poached--not always in water, watch out for poached in oil or butter
Sautéed -- butter or oil are used, chefs can limit amount if asked
Steamed- watch out for butter or oil added after the steaming

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

White House Chefs Enjoy Gulf Seafood

There’s a gulf of misunderstanding about the safety of seafood being harvested from the Gulf of Mexico. “When I tell them the shrimp is from Louisiana or anywhere in the Gulf a lot of customers just walk away,” shared seafood clerk, James Dicus, at Whole Foods Market in Buckhead, “They don’t understand it’s OK to eat it or it wouldn’t be here in our seafood case.” Nationwide, demand is down due to consumer concerns about potential contamination from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but the official word from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency as well as state and university based scientists who are monitoring the situation is that fish and shellfish harvested from areas reopened or never affected by the oil spill closures show no trace of oil or dispersants and are safe to eat. Seafood safety researcher, Professor John W. Bell of Louisiana State University says tests range from detailed laboratory analysis of samples to organoleptic ‘sniff tests’ conducted by highly trained investigators to detect the presence of oil, “It’s amazing how they can pick up even the faintest hint.”

“It’s never been more stringently tested,” says Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration during a recent visit to New Orleans where I joined her for a lunch of Louisiana Shrimp Po Boy sandwiches, “We have put in place with our partners at NOAA, EPA as well as state officials and seafood experts a vigorous sampling plan from the water to the docks to the marketplace.”
White House Chefs Eat Gulf Seafood
In an effort to shore up consumer confidence and help support the livelihood of thousands of fishermen and seafood companies in dozens of communities along the Gulf coast, a dozen restaurant chefs from across the country led by White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford and her assistant chef Tafari Campbell joined the FDA commissioner for a fish fact finding mission in Louisiana. “This is very, very good seafood,” said Comerford digging into steamed crab dockside at Pontchartrain Blue Crab in Slidell, “All the scientists are doing everything they can to ensure whatever comes to the market is good for public consumption. It tastes good and it’s safe what more do you need to know?”

The group went out on shrimp boats, visited a crab processing facility and dropped in to dine at several New Orleans restaurants serving Gulf seafood including Chef John Besh’s August Restaurant. Besh, who been an outspoken defender of his state’s embattled seafood industry since Hurricane Katrina’s tragic blows, continues to use his visibility to help, “This is personal for me. I am concerned about the long lasting effects on salt marsh estuaries but the monitoring of seafood now has never been this extreme and having chefs from The White House dine here is great!”
One of the chefs in the group, Jeff Tunks of Acadiana in Washington, DC says, “I get a lot of questions from customers. I’m here to learn more because they trust me to serve the best and safest seafood. I’m even more confident now, too.”

In Atlanta, chef owner Kevin Rathbun or Rathbun’s continues to offer gulf seafood on his menu for great taste and good will, “We can never turn our backs when someone is down. We’re supporting the good people of the Gulf coast.” Meanwhile, Jamshad Zarnegar owner of The Last Resort Grill in Athens continues to buy Gulf shrimp because, “My customers don’t seem concerned.” Maybe folks are smarter in a University town.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Tale of Two Servings

One of my favorite diet quotes is from the late Oscar winning writer, actor and director Orson Welles who apparently wrestled with the concept of proper portion control, “My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four, unless there are three other people there.”
Size matters. If weight control is your goal then portion control is the key. According to a survey done by the Calorie Control Council, 84% of dieters say they eat smaller portions of their favorite foods to control their weight. But, what does “portion control” mean anyway? Are we doomed to a life of postage stamp sized servings and forever banned from buffets?
The terms "portion" and "serving" don't mean the same thing. A "portion" is the amount you choose for meals or snacks - such as a platter of ribs or big tumbler of orange juice. In comparison a "serving" is the amount nutrition experts recommend we eat – such as 3 to 4 ounces of meat or 6 ounces of fruit juice. Controlling portions starts with understanding how many servings of each kind of food you should have a day based on your total caloric needs.
Cutting Portion Control Down to Size:

1. A portion is not the same thing as a serving. Did you know that the typical 5 ounce deli bagel contains about the same calories as five slices of bread? If you know you should only be eating 6-9 (one ounce) servings of grains per day then you can see that the bagel is taking a big bite out of your budget. Your portion of pasta at a restaurant may be three cups of linguini piled on one plate, but that counts as six grain servings.

2. You can eat more than one serving. A serving of meat may be 3 to 4 ounces or the size of a deck of cards, but the portion of steak on your plate can be two decks of cards depending on your total caloric needs. The US dietary guidelines recommend healthy adults consume a minimum of 6 ounces of meat or other protein food per day.

3. A serving of butter is the same as a serving of olive oil. Olive oil may be a healthier fat than butter, but it contains the same number of calories per teaspoon serving.

4. Cooked weights may be lower than ounces quoted on the menu. This is good news. Restaurants list raw weight of meats on the menu. An 8 ounce filet mignon will shrink when grilled, often by twenty-five percent, so the cooked portion is actually 6 ounces.

5. You get more of some foods than others so pump up the volume.
One grain serving: ¾ cup pretzels vs. 5 mini rice cakes vs. 3 cups plain popcorn
One fruit serving: ¼ cup of dried fruit vs. 6 ounces of juice vs.1 cup fresh fruit
One vegetable serving: ½ cup green peas vs.1 cup cooked broccoli vs. 2 cups raw cucumber
One dairy serving: 1 ½ ounces of hard cheese vs. 4 ounces low fat cottage cheese vs. 8 ounces low fat yogurt
One meat serving: 3 ounces of chicken vs. 6 ounces of cooked lentils

6. Visualize This. To judge measurements keep these shapes in mind.
Meat or Poultry: 3 ounces = deck of cards
Pasta or rice, cooked: 1 cup = 1 baseball
Hard cheese: 1 ounce = 4 dice
Pancake/waffle: 4 inch = diameter of a CD
Potato or sweet potato: 1 potato = computer mouse
Nuts, dried fruit, granola: ¼ cup = golf ball

Friday, September 3, 2010

A girl walks into a bar, a restaurant, a donut shop....

Whether it's a bar or a bank of vending machines, proposed new FDA rules will require many eateries and drinkeries to post the calorie cost of food and drink.

Let’s start with a waist whittling word problem. If someone who usually gets a small order of fries and a large sweet tea at McDonald’s wants to skip one to lighten their lunch, which would cut the most calories? Answer: it’s a wash. According to nutrition facts posted on the company’s website they each contain 230 calories. The point is that it’s not easy to guess the amount of calories in menu items. A study by Healthy Eating Research at the University of Minnesota found that people tend to get calorie counts wrong most of the time. For instance, when a restaurant dish sounded “healthy”, such as a Chef’s Salad (930 calories) 90 percent underestimated the calories. That’s why many health professionals and now politicians want to see more nutrition labeling on restaurant menus.

Uncle Sam’s Menu Plan

Authorized by the healthcare legislation passed earlier this year, the U.S Food and Drug Administration recently released a draft of guidelines to require that calorie information be posted on menus and menu boards by restaurants and other food stores with 20 or more locations and vending machine operators with 20 or more machines. “Knowledge is power,” says Atlanta registered dietitian Marisa Moore, “Having nutrition information available for foods eaten away from home is critical to help make healthy choices.” Moore, a spokesperson for The American Dietetic Association, believes the new federal menu labeling requirement would help, “They will allow you to play detective less often. I’ve used online nutrition facts for years to help clients make healthy choices away from home. It’s helpful to see the 150 calorie difference between the grilled vs. fried chicken sandwich before you ever have a chance to taste it.” The new rule also requires that additional nutrition information on fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, sugar, fiber and protein be made available upon request.
Will It Help?

Americans consume about a third of their calories from food prepared away from home so restaurant meals do offer a significant opportunity to provide a “teachable moment” in nutrition education. Moore explains, “Having nutrition information on hand allows you opt for one instead of two slices of cheese, skip the sauce, use less salad dressing or opt for a lower calorie offering.” Studies conducted in California and New York City, where restaurant labeling is already required, found that point-of-purchase nutrition facts may result in the selection of healthier meals. Women tend to use the information more than men. Many major chain restaurants and health focused eateries already voluntarily provide menu nutrition facts on websites and some right on the menu, but new federal guidelines aim to offer a standardized format so that diners can more easily compare apples to apples or apple pie to apple pie. Even with those suggested improvements- it’s complicated.

-What Might Be Missing- Pay close attention to how the menu item is defined. It’s not uncommon for restaurants to list nutrition information for sandwiches without including cheese, mayo and special sauces. Entrée Salads may not include calories in the salad dressing you add later. Moore says, “Obviously these add significant calories, fat and sodium to the total.”
- The Fudge Factor - Keep in mind that the nutrition information may not be perfect. There’s a proposed +/- 20% margin of error allowance. This accounts for the human influence in preparation and variations in product composition, analysis methods and databases. For instance, a cook may decide to add a little more salt or butter to a recipe.
-Your Calorie Cap - Moore says, “In order to use nutrition facts effectively, you need to have a general idea about how many total calories you need to determine how a specific menu choice will fit into your day.” A recent survey found that just 1 of every 8 American adults (12%) knows about how many calories they need in a day. To get an idea about your calorie needs, check out

Sunday, August 29, 2010


If you like your eggs sunny side up with the yolk a little runny you’re a gambler. Raw and undercooked eggs have been on the watch list of foods potentially contaminated with salmonella bacteria and other bad bugs that cause food poisoning for years. But, this month’s nationwide recall of shell eggs suspected to be the source of a recent four-fold spike in the number of Salmonella Enteritidis infections has raised the red flag even higher. While no cases of Salmonella Enteritidis have yet been reported in Georgia, the state is included in the recall.
“No sunny side up eggs anymore,” says noted food safety expert Missy Cody, PhD RD, professor emeritus Georgia State University, “Or undercooked scrambled eggs, unless they’re made with a pasteurized egg product.” When eggs are pasteurized, they are heated to a temperature high enough to kill bacteria. So, pasteurized products such as frozen and liquid eggs are safe to consume even when undercooked or used raw in making ice cream or hollandaise sauce, for instance.
Since, eggs are among the most nutritious and economical foods on the menu; here’s a half dozen tips to help you safely enjoy those delicious dozens.
1. Keep eggs refrigerated at all times. Cody cautions, “And beware of breakfast places that keep raw eggs near the hot griddle. The heat will make salmonella which may be in the eggs grow much faster.” Do not keep eggs warm or at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
2. Avoid restaurant dishes made with raw or undercooked, unpasteurized eggs. Restaurants should use pasteurized eggs in any recipe (such as Hollandaise sauce, mayonnaise or Caesar salad dressing) that may call for raw eggs.
3. Avoid eating raw eggs. No matter how tempting, avoid licking the cake batter off the spoon! Make sure shell eggs used in baked goods or casseroles are thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Meringue-topped pies and soufflés should be baked at 350 degrees F for at least 15 minutes.
4. Sunny side up not a bright idea. Whether boiled, poached or fried; eggs should be cooked until both the white and the yolk are firm and eaten promptly after cooking. Undercooked egg whites and yolks have been associated with outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis infections.
5. You can’t judge a “good egg”. Contaminated eggs will not smell, look or taste any different from normal eggs. However, always discard cracked or dirty eggs.
6. Some are at higher risk for food poisoning. Eating raw or undercooked eggs should be avoided by young children, pregnant women, elderly and those with weakened immune systems due to serious illness. Good timing-September is The National Restaurant Association’s National Food Safety Education Month. The 2010 theme is High Risk Customers: Serve Your Fare with Extra Care.”
Sources: and

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Eating Lessons in Eat, Pray, Love

It was the fresh buffalo mozzarella pizza with sweet tomato sauce and one sprig of basil that got me thinking of lessons learned about digging into delicious foods and letting go of weighty worries and calories consumed. In the first section of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love she travels to Italy as part of what the subtitle describes as “one woman’s search for everything.” Her journey of self discovery, now depicted by actress Julia Roberts in a movie of the same name, includes a serious confrontation with American women’s attitudes about eating, dieting and the guilt often associated with enjoying indulgent foods. At a pizzeria in Naples, Gilbert describes a “Thin, doughy, strong, gummy, yummy, chewy, salty pizza paradise” and orders two whole pizzas for herself because “the pizza is so good we can barely cope.” She goes on to admit she’s gaining weight every day in Italy and says friends back home refer to her trip as the “No Carb Left Behind Tour.” But Gilbert’s new found joyful abandon with pleasures of the palate isn’t a runaway train headed for dietary doom. It’s an exhilarating side trip of gelato, pastries, pasta, wine and chocolate with a plan to get back on track later as she imagines her body is telling her, “OK, kid, live it up. I recognize that this is just temporary.”

In both the book and movie, the message throughout seemed to be about finding balance in life, love, work, thoughts and deeds. Balance is certainly something dietitians talk about all of the time in terms of a healthy balanced diet to support well being of body and mind. So, here’s a sampling of thoughts about the eating in Eat, Pray, Love from nutrition experts who offer guidance to clients on their personal health journeys of self discovery.

Yes, her name is Love.

Page Love, Registered dietitian, Nutrifit Sport Therapy of Atlanta, “I think it is wonderful how the main character reminds women how to really enjoy food and be OK with letting her waistband expand. She also reminds us how to tune into cravings and mindfulness -listening to body signals and responding to what your body is telling you it wants -sometimes more, sometimes less. Sometimes more because it just looks so good and tastes so good, but then there are other times when our body tells us that we have had enough. She reminds us of the sheer enjoyment of eating without worry of what others are thinking or what may happen to our body!”
Love took her own solo mid-life trip to Rome and says she didn’t gain weight because she was so active touring around and walking everywhere as tourists often do.
When in Rome

Bonnie Taub-Dix, registered dietitian, National Spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, “I was smitten after reading the first part on Italy and wanted to pack my
bags immediately and go directly to that pizza shop! Traveling, for me, is so much about food. That’s the message I try to convey to patients: Savor the moment, make it
worth it, make it special, make it count. Don’t eat bread in Italy just because you’re in Italy. Eat bread in Italy when an amazing piece of bread is served to you while you’re there and hopefully it’s coupled with an amazing Barolo!” Taub-Dix is the author of a new book on better understanding food labels, Read It Before You Eat It (Plume 2010)

Give up the Guilt

Ann Dunaway Teh, registered dietitian, Dunaway Dietetics, Atlanta,
“Unfortunately I still think there is a lot of competition almost among women when eating, such as always noticing what the other person is eating or choosing, making qualifying statements or disclaimers about why they made this choice or that choice.
I counsel on moderation and not restricting certain foods because this can set up a person for “binging” on that particular item later and feelings of guilt. I also temper my advice with physical activity and teach people how to enjoy all foods in moderation and have their eating reflect physical activity and vice versa.” Dunaway Teh specializes in nutrition counseling for athletes and families.

Enjoy! It’s Healthy

Marsha Hudnall, registered dietitian, Green Mountain at Fox Run, Vermont.
“Food is one of the greatest pleasures in life, and the current attitudes about eating in this country seriously interfere with that enjoyment. We can dig into our food, enjoy it thoroughly, and still walk away healthy. In fact, enjoyment and happiness even promote good digestion and utilization of the nutrients in food. I believe that one of the positive life messages in Eat, Pray, Love is to realize that food is a wonderful part of life and to enjoy it as part of a full life that includes other things”
Hudnall is program director at Green Mountain at Fox Run in Ludlow Vermont, a women's healthy weight loss retreat and pioneer in the non-diet, mindful eating approach to health and healthy weights. She leads Adventures in Mindful Eating Tours of Italy!

Mealtime Mindfulness

Each one of the nutrition experts mentioned the importance of mindfulness in eating. Page Love said it well, “When we tune in by eating slowly, pausing during meals, you will get appropriate and accurate measures of when to stop. Set up a “healthy meal environment” sitting in an aesthetically pleasing environment. Maximize your enjoyment mindfully which will in the end help you decide how much you need of yummy food without overdoing it!”
Elizabeth Gilbert, author Eat, Pray, Love communicates mindfulness too writing about her lunch of eggs, asparagus, olives, goat cheese, salmon and a peach, “Finally when I had fully absorbed the prettiness of my meal, I went and sat in a patch of sunbeam on my clean wooden floor and ate every bit of it with my fingers.”

Carolyn O’Neil, MS RD is a registered dietitian and co-author of The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous! She can be seen on the Food Network’s Good Eats with Alton Brown, as recurring nutrition expert, The Lady of the Refrigerator.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Watermelon Gazpacho & More New Tastes

The smiling chef with the view of Beaver Creek's awesome mountains behind him is Steven Topple, the talented chef at fabulous Beano's Cabin. If you're going skiing in Vail/Beaver Creek area you better make your reservations to eat there now! Chef Topple cooked a wonderful lunch for me and my friend Debbie Kopp, who lives in Vail.

Made me think that one of the best parts of traveling is tasting new things. Simple as it is...I had never thought of combining watermelon with a traditional tomato gazpacho before I enjoyed the one created by Chef Topple. The watermelon lightened up the tomato taste and added another refreshing taste of summer to the soup. The two dishes in his hands about to hit the table and our tastebuds are Fresh Dungeness Crab with Apple Tower and Pancetta Wrapped Rabbit with carrot salad and cinnamon cider sauce.

As we wheel our carts down supermarket aisles or peruse a restaurant menu chances are we’re on the hunt for familiar tastes and the usual favorites. We’re creatures of habit, especially when it comes to food choices. Add to that the additional worries brought on by a lack luster economy and there’s even more reason to steer clear of expensive impulse purchases. Dark chocolate covered dried apricots sound delicious, but will they fit into the food budget? But, sometimes wandering off in a new direction can lead to fresh discoveries that satisfy culinary and cost demands – often led by other forces at work. According to results of the 2010 Food & Health Survey, conducted by The International Food & Information Council Foundation (IFIC), taste is the biggest influence on food and beverage purchasing decisions (86%) followed by price (73 %). However, the next biggest impact on food buying habits is concern about health (64%). And of the Americans who say they care about the healthfulness of their diet, a whopping 76% are moved to change the types of foods they’re eating. So, what’s new?
A Change for the Better
Whether it’s to lose weight, maintain weight or boost overall health status; Americans are adding and subtracting foods to support their goals. The IFIC survey found that nearly half of those questioned say they’re trying to eat more protein and consume less salt. Coffee drinking habits are changing too. While, less say they’re eliminating caffeine from their diet (10 % compared to 16 % in 2006); nearly three-quarters report consuming caffeine in moderation this year.

Meanwhile, some results from the IFIC survey read like a shopping list of a concerned yet confused consumer. Nearly three-fourths of Americans are trying to consume more fiber and choose whole grain versions of foods, but they don’t really know what the benefits might be. (For the record, whole grains are beneficial for digestive health, heart health, weight control and provide a myriad of disease fighting antioxidant rich plant nutrients.) Dietary fat remains a dizzying area, too. Most (64%) are trying to consume fewer artery clogging trans-fats and saturated fats but less than half (43%) say they’re choosing more heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Maybe that’s because they don’t know the canola oil salad dressings and salmon they’re eating are sources of Omega-3’s? One thing remains a constant in food and health surveys (including this one from IFIC) a significant barrier getting in the way of improving diets is the perception that newly adopted healthy foods won’t taste as good as old favorites. So here are some suggestions for great tasting healthy foods you may have noticed but might not have tried before.

New and New to You Foods for a Healthy Menu – why not try something new for taste and health?

Jicama- Eat more veggies by trying new varieties. Pronounced "hick-ah-mah," this large brown tuber doesn't look very pretty when judging from its plain Jane outside. But, it's the Cinderella of vegetables! Cut it open to reveal a white interior that looks and tastes kind of like an apple. It’s crunchy, slightly sweet and perfect for salads or as crudités with an impressive 6 grams of fiber per cup!

Scandavian Crispbreads: Messages to consume at least half of your grains as whole grains may be new. but these flat breads have been around for years. Super crunchy, high-fiber, whole grain crackers like Wasa crispbreads from Norway are only 40 calories a slice. No added sugar or fat. Top off with turkey and Swiss or humus and tomato slices.

Quinoa: Add more players to your whole grain cast. Quinoa (keen-whah) seeds cook up into slightly nutty tasting light and fluffy rice-like grains. Perfect as a side dish combined with fresh herbs and chopped veggies. Unlike other grains, quinoa is good source of complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids.

Flat Iron or Hangar Steaks: Cut back on saturated fat and still enjoy beef. Leaner lesser known cuts of beef such as the Flat Iron Steak or hangar steak (think Steak Frites in French bistros) are lower in total fat and calories per serving but big on flavor. Order medium to medium rare and slice against the grain to maximize tenderness.

Cocoa Nibs: Enjoy the taste of chocolate in tiny bites. Cocoa nibs are crunchy slightly bitter sweet roasted bits of cocoa beans. Loaded with antioxidants and the mineral magnesium, a little goes a long way. Sprinkle on a fruit and yogurt parfait or add a mocha hit to your coffee. At Canoe Restaurant, Executive Chef Carvel Grant adds a kick of cocoa and crunch by adding cocoa nibs to Fallen Chocolate Soufflé with Chocolate Mint Ice Cream.

Yerba Mate: Cutting back on caffeine but still need a boost? This weird sounding South American tea possesses health benefits that sound pretty good. A study conducted at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana found that yerba mate's super high antioxidant content out performs red wine and green tea. Mate contains one third the caffeine of coffee, and provides a milder stimulant lift.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Time's Greek to Me

Even if you’re enjoying a “stay-cation” at home, summer’s blue skies, sunny days and star lit nights offer the perfect settings to enjoy a taste trip to Greece. Many of the ingredients in Greek cuisine can literally be described as food of the Gods when you dip into the stories of ancient mythology. Milk from the goat, Amaltheia, was said to have nourished the great god Zeus who was born in a cave on the island of Crete. According to myth, a bee nestled in that same sacred cave was the original source of Crete’s delicious velvety honey. Citrus fruit was created by Gaea, the goddess of the earth, as a wedding gift to Zeus and Hera and then closely guarded in the Garden of Hesperides, far from the inquisitive eyes of Minoan mortals. Sliced oranges topped with a sprinkling of goat cheese and a drizzle of honey sounds heavenly and fits in with down to earth modern medicine’s advice for a healthy diet.
Greek Food and Good Nutrition
Today, nutrition researchers who work to separate food fact from fiction when studying the benefits of dietary habits through time point to the Greek way of eating as one of the best in the world. Healthy highlights include daily consumption of fruit, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, seafood and olive oil. In the 1960’s and ‘70s, Greece topped the charts with the highest life expectancy and one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world attributed to the doubly beneficial effect of the Greek diet and the culture’s emphasis on physical activity. Artemis Simopoulos, MD, author of The Omega Diet and one of the world’s leading experts on the traditional Greek diet points to the positive nutrition power and disease fighting properties which come from “bioprotective nutrients” such as vitamins C and E in fruits and vegetables and the fatty acids in fish, nuts, olive oil and greens.
Greek Menus
The menu at Kyma, a Greek restaurant in Atlanta, features dishes that would please both ancient Greeks and modern nutritionists with its emphasis on wood grilled whole fish and a multitude of tasty vegetable side dishes.

Kyma’s executive chef Pano Karatassos, lavishes as much attention on a simple stew of plump giant white kastorian beans with tomatoes, onion and dill as he does on his show-stopping slow braised lamb shank entrée with Greek couscous. A side of wilted wild greens tossed in extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice is right in line with Dr. Simopoulos’ research suggesting that regular consumption of dark green leafy vegetables is one of the specific reasons the Greek diet is rich in disease fighting phytonutrients. For dessert, a traditional Greek yogurt topped with nuts and honey is food for the gods and guests at Kyma.

But, since humans do have a weakness to drift off course toward temptation (as detailed in just about every story of Greek mythology) Greece has lost some ground in the super-healthy category as modern day Greeks succumb to the gradual addition of more processed foods higher in sugar and saturated fats and have become more sedentary due to a contemporary lifestyle dependent on cars and computers.

So, before you sit down to a huge plate of hearty Moussaka (ground lamb and eggplant casserole) or platter of flaky spanakopita (phyllo pastry filled with spinach and feta cheese) remember that portion sizes still count when enjoying nutritious Greek foods. And note that too much sitting down can be part of the problem too. Healthy Cretans studied in Greece paired their goat cheese consumption with chasing goats up and down rocky hillsides.

Modern Ways to Reap Ancient Dietary Rewards

• Alpha to Omega- Eat foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids such as fish, walnuts, olive oil, canola oil and dark green leafy vegetables

• It’s no myth - Eating seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day is the foundation of a healthy diet.

• Earthly advice - Eat more vegetable protein, including peas, beans and nuts.

• Go for Greek Dairy- Feta cheese has one-third less fat and 30 percent fewer calories than cheddar cheese. Greek yogurts contain nearly twice as much protein as other yogurts.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Finding Fitness in a Fattening World

The best formula for weight loss is and always has been consuming fewer calories and burning more of them through exercise.

But, keeping track of calorie counts has never been easy. There are charts and graphs and lists of the calorie counts of foods to refer to, but it’s time consuming and often confusing. Even dietitians who analyze diet records admit it’s often a frustrating chore, especially when clients overestimate and underestimate some amounts.

Say you had a glass of wine with dinner? Okay. But, was it in a 16-ounce tumbler? You had a salad with lunch? Great, but was it a few lettuce leaves drowned in ranch dressing or a large bowl of mostly vegetables, lightly dressed?

Dietitians are trained to be diet detectives to help ferret out the truth and teach clients how to better communicate exactly what and how much they’re consuming. That way they can figure out why the client isn't losing weight and help design a diet that hits the mark with the right number of calories to consume each day.

Calling for help

Research shows that dieters who keep food journals noting what they eat lose twice as much weight as those who don’t. Adding notes on physical activity is critical, too.

But the pages of a journal don’t tell you how many calories in a croissant.

Enter an age of technology-aided dieting. Weight-loss programs available on smart phones, including the iPhone and BlackBerry, make it easier to tabulate calorie intakes and even help plan diet goals. While there are no long-term research studies yet to show how well these apps help shed pounds, weight-loss experts are enthusiastic about these new tools. Losing weight is hard enough; so if keeping track of calories is easier, more accurate and perhaps even more fun using your iPhone, then chances are you will be more successful.

Popular, free weight-loss apps to try include LoseIt for iPhone and Calorie Counter by Fat Secret, for all smart phones.

Little things are big things

Apply the little proverb to weight control: Little things mean a lot. Little bouts of exercise -- as short as 10 minutes in duration -- can add up to significant gains in fitness. Unfortunately, it’s also the little bites eaten here and there above 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 that slowly but surely feed the growth of body fat.

As obesity expert Dr. Robert Kushner of Northwestern University explains, “By consuming just 12 calories more per day you can gain two 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 summarizes 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.

Learning how to make these healthy lifestyle choices is not easy in a world that weight control experts call an “obesogenic environment.” But it is a critical survival skill needed to prevent weight gain and related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

I’ve taken Dr. Kushner’s list of forces that contribute to obesity and given them healthy makeovers.

Finding fitness 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 more selective about what you choose. Since weight loss apps are mobile, you can keep track of your calorie totals as the day progresses. Think twice before taking a second helping.

- Eating out more: whether it’s a fast-food or fancy place, become familiar with the calorie counts of your favorite foods at restaurants you frequently visit. Weigh-loss apps tap into databases with nutrition information on thousands of foods. Check them.

- Exercise engineered out of our lives: take the stairs, hide the remote, just say "no" to robot vacuum cleaners, open the garage door manually, ditch the drive-thru and walk into the restaurant. Weight-loss apps include extensive lists of the number of calories used during various physical activities. Track your totals so you’ll know how many more stairs to climb before the end of the day.

Carolyn O’Neil is a registered dietitian and co-author of “The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!” E-mail her at carolyn@carolyn

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dive Into the Pool! Solving Summer Diet Slow Downs

Heirloom Tomatoes from JCT Kitchen "Killer Tomato Fest"...proof that summer flavors are hot!
So how are you doing on that summer time slimming regime? If you've lost a little steam and starting steering away from the low calorie side of the menu, you’re not alone. Nutrition researchers have found that our enthusiasm for the “diet” version of foods slows down over time. A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that after just five days of feeding participants lower calorie versions of recipes such as spaghetti and meat sauce satisfaction ratings fell by 30 percent. This might help explain why so many people are easily side tracked from healthy eating goals in a relatively short period of time. So, what can you do to keep your mind and taste buds motivated to choose the meals more likely to help you meet summer weight control goals? Here are a few strategies and suggestions to help keep boredom at bay.

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 choose lower sodium versions of soy sauce and go easy on the steak sauce.

Add Detective Novels to Summer Reading – Learn to read between the lines because menu descriptions don’t always tell the whole story about the added fat and calories in a dish. If it says “crispy coating” it probably means it has been deep fat fried or pan fried and always ask the server about how sauces are made. For example, is it a “light” tomato sauce because it’s made with cream and color is lighter? It can happen! And did you know that many restaurants poach seafood in oil? When you see “poached” it doesn’t always mean in low calorie water based broths.

Get what you want but skip the extras- Give in but don’t give up. It’s not the craving for pizza that ‘done your diet wrong’, it was the decision to add extra pepperoni or double cheese that sent 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. Use cravings as an opportunity to add good nutrition such as more veggies on pizza. In the dessert department enjoy a large bowl of fresh berries topped with a small serving of ice cream, instead of a huge bowl of ice cream topped by a few berries!

Find Farms on the Menu

Fresher flavors make for happier taste buds, so summer’s bounty of just picked produce can help keep healthy fruit and veggie focused meals more interesting. The good news is that a bumper crop of chefs today are enthusiastic about featuring top notch organic and locally grown ingredients on their menus. Carvel Gould, executive chef at Canoe in Vinings buys as much as possible from local farmers and added raised bed gardens to the landscaping around the restaurant. Jimmy Carter owner of Milton’s Cuisine and Cocktails in Alpharetta tends an acre garden overflowing with corn, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, herbs and other tasty treasures for chef Boyd A. Rose to feature on their menu of “new southern cuisine.” City chefs focus on rural riches, too. Thomas McKeown ‘s menu at Terrace restaurant at The Ellis Hotel in downtown Atlanta reads like a road map of Georgia with heirloom cherry tomatoes from Crystal Organic in Newborn and lettuces from Indian Ridge Farm in Clarksville. He says, “I try to keep the food as natural as possible and let the food speak for itself. When you start with high quality product it is easy to make great dishes.”

Happy with the Taste but Want to Eat More?
Well, then you’ll have to move more. Whether it’s a morning jog before it gets too hot, a lunchtime cardio class or dancing after dinner, exercise not only helps you maintain the weight loss you’ve achieved; it allows you to eat more without regaining. Trade in some hammock time and step up your activity level this summer and you’ll burn the calories needed to savor a ballpark chili dog or poolside frozen cocktail.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

About those recipes.....on Fox 5 Atlanta

The Lady of the Refrigerator...reveals......

Avocado Spring Rolls
Makes 8 rolls

3/4 cup finely shredded Napa cabbage (packaged angel hair works great too!)
1/4 cup fresh Thai basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, thinly sliced
1/2 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced ¼” thick lengthwise
1/4 cup citrus dipping sauce*

4 ounces (1/4 pound) cooked chicken breast (Rotisserie chicken is perfect for this)

*Citrus dipping sauce:
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Whisk all ingredients together

16 rice paper wrappers

Make the citrus dipping sauce and set aside for flavors to blend.
Remove skin from chicken breast and shred into small pieces. Combine the cabbage, basil, mint, cilantro and toss. Cut the red pepper, cucumber and avocado.

Fill a shallow pan with hot water. One at a time, dip the rice paper wrappers in the hot water until soft and pliable. Spread the hydrated rounds onto a clean, flat, dry surface. Arrange avocado and peppers in a single layer across the center of the rice paper round; spread 1/4 cup of the cabbage mixture on top then 1/2 oz. chicken. Drizzle with the dipping sauce. Fold the bottom end of the rice paper over the top of the mixture, fold the sides up and then roll into a tight cylinder, "burrito style". Repeat until all ingredients are used. Cut diagonally and serve with the dipping sauce.

Watermelon and Mango Salsa
Serves 6

1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely minced
1 small jalapeno pepper, core and ribs removed, finely diced
1/4 cup red onion, 1/4" dice
2 cups watermelon, 1/4" dice
1 ripe mango, peeled and 1/4" diced
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, 1/4" diced (1 small cucumber)
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, very thinly sliced

In a large bowl, whisk lime juice, brown sugar, salt, ginger and pepper until sugar dissolves. Dice the onion and soak in ice water to remove acid and crisp. While onion is soaking, cut watermelon, mango, cucumber, and mint and add to the bowl with the dressing. Drain the red onion and add to the fruit mixture; gently toss. Cover and chill. Season with salt to taste and serve cold.

This is great with a baked, whole grain tortilla chip or over grilled fish or chicken.

See these recipes on Fox 5 Good Day Atanta

The New Picture of Health

What should Americans be eating today?
Congratulations to those who say they’re trying to eat a better diet to lose some weight and improve their overall health.

As you’ve no doubt heard, the American diet could use some improvements to battle obesity and help prevent diet-related illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. But what does a healthy diet look like these days?

Does it mean trading steaks on the grill for tofu and bean sprouts? Should salad bowls be bigger and ice cream bowls be banned? Are there clearly defined dietary devils and angels?

Addressing these questions is the job of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. It was established to update the 2005 Dietary Guidelines by taking a look at the latest and greatest nutrition research and then advising leaders at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on what Americans should be eating today.

In its report, released this month, the committee concludes that, “On average, Americans of all ages consume too few vegetables, fruits, high-fiber whole grains, low-fat milk and milk products, and seafood, and they eat too much added sugars, solid fats, refined grains, and sodium.”

Translation: Spend more time exploring the produce section and less time eyeing fried chicken in the deli.

Get off the 'soFAs'

Remember all the talk about “couch potatoes,” referring to sedentary habits that contribute to weight gain? Well now couches are joined by sofas! The 2010 Dietary Guidelines report warns that “SoFAS” (solid fats and added sugars) contribute about 35 percent of calories to the American diet for kids, teens and adults.

"Solid fats" refers to the fat in butter, cheese, stick margarine, vegetable shortening (oils that are hydrogenated to be solid at room temperature) and the fats in meats.

"Added sugars" doesn’t need much explanation, but don’t forget that includes soft drinks. The report states, “Reducing the intake of SoFAS can lead to a badly needed reduction in energy intake and inclusion of more healthful foods into the total diet.” So couches and sofas are out, but tables are in. The committee included advice to encourage the enjoyment of healthy food and pointed to the benefits of Mediterranean-style dietary patterns.

Translation: Set a table outside with platters of grilled fish and lemons, vegetables drizzled with olive oil and sliced melon for dessert; preferably with a view of the sea.

The 2010 ‘Uncle Sam Diet,' if you will.The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report: “Shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.”

Translation: Check out the vegetarian entrees on menus when dining out, even if you’re not a vegetarian, to increase intake of valuable nutrients including fiber and antioxidants.
The report: “Increase the intake of seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products and consume only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs.”

Translation: You don’t have to cut milkshakes or steaks from a healthy diet. Lean toward low-fat dairy and lean meats. For instance, from flank steak to top sirloin, there are 29 different cuts of beef that qualify as lean with less than 10 grams of fat per serving.
The report: “Significantly reduce intake of foods containing added sugars and solid fats because these dietary components contribute excess calories and few, if any, nutrients.”

Translation: Don’t waste calories on sugar-sweetened beverages and deep-fried foods. If you do, spend those calories wisely with smaller portions enjoyed less frequently.

The report: “Reduce sodium intake.”

Translation: Shaking a salt habit doesn’t have to mean suffering with bland foods. Add a world of healthy flavors with fresh herbs, dried herbs, spices, citrus, vinegars, salsas, garlic and mushrooms. Cooking techniques such as grilling, roasting and pan searing caramelize the natural sugars and proteins in foods to add flavor.
The report: “Lower intake of refined grains, especially refined grains that are coupled with added sugar, solid fat, and sodium.”

Translation: Looks like we'd better go easy on the doughnuts and tortilla chips.
To read the full report from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, go to

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vacation Diet

Just because you’re taking a vacation or even a “stay-cation” with time off spent at home doesn’t mean an escape from diet and fitness habits. In fact, many people today are using their precious days away from a hectic work schedule to attend to health goals. So vacation time is emerging as an opportune time to focus on wellness. Flexible days where you decide what to do when are perfect for taking a pilates class for the first time at a resort or gathering goodies at the local farmer’s market and leisurely cooking up meals at a vacation house.

Registered dietitian, Donna Shields, MS RD has noticed this emerging health trend in her conversations with vacationers in Key West, Florida where she is a self professed “southernmost nutritionist.” Author of the Caribbean Light cookbook, she’s well qualified to help clients trim the calories in a poolside pina colada or discover the healthy flavors of fruit salsas on grilled fish, “Mango and other tropical fruit salsas can be a healthy accompaniment to an entrée or as a sandwich topping; lots of fresh flavor, few calories and a nutritious choice. For cocktails, the Mojito would be a good choice, although it will contain some simple syrup or sugar, most of this rum beverage is club soda which is calorie free. Frozen blended drinks such as Key West’s famous margaritas are usually loaded with sugar, made from presweetened mixes. Pina coladas are a double whammy in that they also can be fairly high in fat due to the cream of coconut.”

Of course, vacations are meant to be fun and an escape from the everyday but indulge wisely. A week of eating breakfast buffets, fabulous lunches and late night dinners followed by an evening of libations can add up to significant weight gain. An extra 3 to 5 pounds is not exactly the souvenir you wanted to bring home with you!

Vacation Diet Tips:

Lighten up expectations- Unless you’re headed to a spa with strict diet and exercise regimes, aim to maintain your weight on vacation.

Try something new- Add the adventure of tasting healthy new foods such as a fish you’ve never tried before, tropical fruits or fresh picked mountain berries.

Hammock time- Know that taking an afternoon nap or collapsing early for a good night’s sleep is not just recharging your batteries it’s helping with weight control. Research shows that getting enough sleep keeps your metabolism humming more efficiently and that helps burn calories!

Packing for vacation – Include healthy snacks such as nuts, fresh fruit, popcorn, whole grain crackers, low fat cheeses in a vacation road trip or air travel packing list.

Skip work but not meals - Eat 3 meals and allow one or two 100-150 calorie snacks per day. Make sure to include sources of lean protein (eggs, fish, chicken, lean beef cuts and non fat milk and yogurts) to keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day.

Choose favorites – If it’s melted butter on Maine lobster that makes your vacation or fresh churned ice cream at the beach that helps you melt into relaxed mode; then go for it! Skip the things you really don’t care about (such as the bread basket at dinner or cheese on a burger) to allow for the calories your really crave.

Exercise some fun -“Leave the car keys in the hotel room and start walking everywhere,” advises Shields, “Biking in Key West is what I would call “functional” exercise. We don’t really think of it as exercise but simply a way to get from one place to another. It’s practical, quick, very green and there’s no hassle or cost of parking. It’s great for the quadriceps muscles which don’t get much use if you’re used to sitting at a desk all week.”

Feeling Better Already - A little down time helps us get in touch with our bodies, minds and our taste buds. Eating mindfully and really savoring flavors is an important part of wellness advice today. As Sheilds shares, “Having fun on vacation is important, doing something nice for yourself can also make you feel better. Sharing a bottle of wine with a little platter of olives and nuts with friends at sunset could be the highlight of your trip.”

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer Lights

A toast to summer!!
How about a little rose wine this summer? Remember Mateus? Perfect with crab cakes at a pool party.
Mateus is an inexpensive medium-sweet frizzante rosé wine produced in Portugal. From research, ie Wikepedia!!"The brand was created in 1942 and production began at the end of World War II. The wine was especially styled to appeal to the rapidly developing North American and northern European markets. Production grew rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s and by the late 1980s, supplemented by a white version, it accounted for over 40% of Portugal's table wine exports."

I think a litle pink is poised to make a comeback. Dry rose wines are ALL the rage in smart sets now from Montreal to Montana.'s a toast to summer slimmers!!

Summer rules! Time to wind down, wear shorts on weekdays, dine outside and declare a free zone away from all of the fuss. Foods lighten up too. Summer issues in a new crop of restaurant menus featuring more salads, grilled entrées, cold soups, frozen drinks and fruit for dessert. The heat drives more diners to cool down with chilled foods and cold beverages and because summer fashions bare more skin there’s more demand for diet-friendly dishes. The problem is that “light and fresh” doesn’t always mean light in fat and calories.
Summer Salads
Whether you’re tossing your own or eyeing the salad section on a restaurant menu beware of the summer salad “blockbusters”. Many overly huge entrée salads aren’t a slam dunk for summer dieters so check web site nutrition information for the big chain restaurants. Many weigh in around 1000 calories. And anywhere you dine, stop and do the mental math- high fat ingredients add about 100 calories per ounce. So chances are when you pile on the cheese, fried chicken, croutons, bacon bits and salad dressing you’ve probably eaten more calories than a large burger and fries.
Remember that the principle ingredients in a salad are supposed to be fresh, raw vegetables, which are low in calories, a good source of fiber to keep you feeling full. Pick veggies in lots of different colors to contribute a wide variety of nutrients to your diet. Add a total of 3 to 4 ounces of lean proteins such as boiled egg, grilled chicken or steak, steamed shrimp, seared tuna or deli sliced roast beef, turkey or ham. Accessorize with a few nuts or small amount of grated parmesan or crumbled goat cheese.
What’s really refreshing to see this summer is a bumper crop of culinary creativity in the salad category. Cheryl Orlansky, dietitian and spokesperson for the Georgia Dietetic Association likes what’s on the menu at Metro Fresh in midtown Atlanta, “To help plan I check their daily specials on line before I go. For example, English Peas and Black Eyed Peas in a salad with mint from their garden with a little feta cheese and lemon zest with olive oil.” Orlansky also likes Metro Fresh’s version of Spaghetti and Meatballs which turns the dish into sort of a salad, “Instead of pasta they use julienned zucchini and yellow squash topped with marinara and meatballs. There’s lots of creativity here.”
Slimming Summer Menus:
- Look for menus that take advantage of summer’s bountiful harvest of low calorie nutrient rich produce including tomatoes, cucumbers, field peas, peaches, basil, and all kinds of berries. Did you know that the vitamin C in produce is essential for building collagen for healthy skin? Another summer beauty tip.
- Don’t be fooled by the fire. Grilled meats and fish are often slathered with butter or oil so request that your order be brushed lightly with oil. Orlansky likes what’s going on the wood fired grill at Fuego Mundo, a South American inspired restaurant in Sandy Springs, “It’s easy to eat well here. Pick a protein, such as tilapia, tuna, sea bass, honey citrus salmon, chicken, chicken sausage, steak, lamb, or tofu. Then you choose your veggie sides such as plantains, rice, quinoa, or black beans. You can go vegan, vegetarian or full on carnivore at this fun spot.”
- Avoid cream based cold soups and go for choices chock full of vegetables such as gazpacho. Fruit soups, from melon to strawberry are delicious and nutritious summer menu additions, too.
- Instead of ice cream or gelato, you’ll save hundreds of calories per serving by choosing fresh fruit sorbets or frozen desserts made with low fat or fat free milk. Many of those trendy frozen yogurt outlets make versions with fat free milk, but watch the toppings. Choose fresh fruit when possible and skip the crushed candies. Milk and muscle note: A study in June issue of Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise reports that women who drank two glasses of fat free milk a day after their work outs improved muscle tone and lost more fat.
- Think about your drink. Pina coladas may be popular poolside cocktails, but the high calorie content really doesn’t pair well with a bikini! Count 400 calories per 8 ounces of a Pina colada, margarita, or fruit daiquiri. Look for the new ‘skinny’ mixers made with no calorie sweeteners such as sucralose or stevia. Or for less than 100 calories per 8 ounces choose a light beer, vodka and soda with spritz of fruit juice or a rum and diet cola.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Savvy Sandwiches

That's me with a deconstructed sandwich of sorts in Montreal. Fab Fixings at La Buvette Chez Simone.

“Let’s grab a sandwich” is a popular lunch time rally and was reputedly made possible by the necessity of invention at a card game in 1762. That’s when the fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, catapulted bread into a new culinary category because he was too busy gambling to stop for a meal. According to legend, he asked for roast beef between two slices of bread so that he could hold the snack in one hand and continue playing cards with the other. The Earl may be happy to know, that after a few low carb diet crazed years- bread is back. According to a survey by the Grain Foods Foundation, nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults say they eat sandwiches at least once a week. From traditional ham and Swiss on rye to veggie subs to trendy paninis hot from the grill -here some sandwich savvy tips on building the best bites between bread.
Bread as Your BaseThink of a sandwich as an opportunity to customize your meal to meet taste and nutrition needs. The bread is the blank canvas. The healthiest canvas is whole grain bread because it’s higher in fiber and other nutrients found in the exterior bran portion of a grain. But, registered dietitian Sharon Palmer of Environmental Nutrition ( warns that labels can be deceiving and cautions against breads sold with phrases like “made with whole grains” or “multi-grain”. Make sure that whole grain is the first ingredient listed to avoid products that add a pinch of whole grain flour to try to jump on the healthy bread bandwagon. Choose breads with at least 2 grams of fiber per slice.
Like croissants? No wonder. Croissants are made with the equivalent of five pats of butter, so know you’re getting into high fat bread territory and avoid adding any extra butter or mayo to your sandwich. Focaccia bread, can be a higher fat choice too because it’s baked with olive oil and often more is drizzled on top after baking. Forgetting the bread and making lettuce wraps “sandwiches” is pretty popular today, too. Just note that wrapping fried chicken strips or teriyaki sauced shrimp in lettuce leaves can still wrack up a lot of calories because of the filling.
Insider Tips
Giant deli sandwiches piled high with meat and cheese can land you a lunch with your calorie total for the day. Choose no more than 3 ounces of lean meats such as ham, turkey, roast beef, or grilled chicken. Higher fat meats such as pastrami and salami contain twice the calories. If you want a chicken salad or tuna salad sandwich, just don’t add any extra mayonnaise, it’s already in the mix. A slice of cheese will add about 100 calories; so be aware of that before you pile on multiple slices.
Work in as many vegetables as possible. In classic sandwich shop speak, “Run it through the garden!” Ask for a double the usual lettuce and tomato garnish and if other veggies are available such as cucumber slices or fresh spinach- go for it. Note that ¼ of an avocado is a tasty splurge at 80 calories but is a good source of healthy mono unsaturated fats, fiber, vitamin C and lutein ( good for your eyes).

Be Slather Savvy

Go easy on the mayo because it’s 100 calories per tablespoon. Light mayonnaise cuts that in half. If you’re ordering a panini, ask them not to spritz on extra oil before it hits the grill. At sub shops, note that the oil and vinegar mix can set you back 70 calories per tablespoon. So, ask for a little oil squirted on and then more of the vinegar to wet down your sub.
Mustard, with a mere 5 calories a teaspoon, is a flavor bargain. A 6” turkey and cheese sub dressed with mayo and oil is 500 calories. The same sub with mustard is 300 calories.
Sandwich side kicksSkip the chips or share with a little bag with a friend. Baked chips will have less fat and calories – but still add about 100 calories to your meal. Better yet, go for a fresh crunch with a side salad or fresh fruit option to boost nutrition and build a better lunch.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hey Kids! The White House Wants Better Menus for Little Diners

Want to see healthier options on kids’ menus at restaurants and tired of seeing nothing but chicken fingers, burgers and fries? Your concerns are part of the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity.

In a detailed plan presented to President Barack Obama this month, more than 70 recommendations are outlined by task force members to help meet the goal of reducing the present childhood obesity rates of 20 percent to a level of 5 percent by 2030. Priorities include strategies to help empower parents and caregivers to guide children toward healthier food and fitness habits with specific suggestions on everything from building school gardens to adding neighborhood sidewalks to improving children’s menus at restaurants.

Recommendation from the task force document: Restaurants should consider their portion sizes, improve children’s menus and make healthy options the default choice whenever possible. The improvements are particularly important because one-third of meals are consumed in restaurants.

What do some Atlanta parents — who just happen to be in the restaurant business — think about “the state of the union” for kids dining out?

Father of a boy and girl, Ian Winslade, formerly of Spice Market and chef of soon-to-open Bottle Bar Buckhead, says, “I think restaurants need to do more with kids menus. And I found if you introduce kids as toddlers to a variety of foods, you’ll have a better go of it when dining out.”

Winslade admits that even chefs who make it a career to please customers’ palates can have a tough time with their own kids.

“At about 5 years old you can get some serious push back, but hang in there because after about 8 they roll back in and become more adventurous,” Winslade said.

Ford Fry, executive chef of JCT Kitchen and father of two boys, believes good eating embraces all foods in moderation. “Hey, I’m a chef famous for my fried chicken and macaroni and cheese, but our menu focuses on great farm fresh vegetables, too. At home we eat healthy six days a week and one day a week the boys can eat whatever they want,” he said.

And to up the ante on interest in healthy menu choices and further community support of farmers who grow organic produce for Atlanta’s restaurants, Fry and friends organize a vegetable festival each August — the JCT Killer Tomato Fest.

Selling good nutrition to kids takes on many forms. At Ted’s Montana Grill, cook Otto Calvert at the Luckie Street location says a restaurant can be the best place to get kids excited about healthy foods. “We start with lots of really fresh vegetables, and we know how to season them, and we don’t overcook them. We can help parents because kids eat their vegetables here when we ask them to!”

Catering to smaller appetites

Skip the sodas. Ask for low-fat or nonfat milk. Or make your own special “soda” by asking for a combination of fruit juice with sparkling water.

Good things in small packages. Children are not just small adults, especially when it comes to nutrition. Every bite counts and every bite should be delivering healthy nutrients. Filling up on tortilla chips or fried appetizers is a bad habit for two reasons: They’ll often consume too many calories and they won’t have room for the healthy items. Get a side order of fruit or cut-up vegetables right away to keep them occupied.

Don’t clean your plate. An important lessons in nutrition is recognizing when you are full.

Carolyn O’Neil is a registered dietitian and co-author of “The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!” E-mail her at carolyn@carolyn

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gulp! Gulf of Mexico Seafood in Peril

The fate of fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico is being determined by winds and waves as the oil spill caused by the BP drilling rig explosion continues to spread and threaten important fishing grounds in and around the Gulf of Mexico. While layers of federal, state and local authorities work with oil industry officials to deal with and contain the spill, it’s the job of The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce) to monitor seafood safety. NOAA has already moved to close some fishing grounds and oyster beds to protect consumers from contaminated products. In the case of shrimp, a great deal of the supply provided to supermarkets and restaurants is frozen and therefore safe because it could have been harvested long before the spill occurred. Will there be a shortage of Gulf coast shrimp this summer? Will the spill move down to the Keys and around to the east coast of Florida affecting fisheries there? These are questions on the minds of everyone who loves seafood from these areas and yet to be determined. One thing for sure, shrimp is incredibly popular food all around the world and certainly offers significant nutrition. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. So let’s salute to the taste and health benefits of shrimp as we continue to follow the containment of the Gulf oil spill.

Shrimp Cholesterol Not a Threat

If you've been avoiding shrimp because you’ve heard that these crustaceans are high in cholesterol, you're wrong and right. Shrimp do contain relatively high levels of dietary cholesterol - 166 milligrams of cholesterol per three ounces of steamed shrimp. But, shrimp is very low in saturated fat, the kind of fat given the biggest blame for raising blood cholesterol levels. It turns out that the cholesterol in foods we eat has less of an impact on blood cholesterol than saturated fats. Researchers at The Rockefeller University in New York found that when volunteers ate shrimp along with foods that were low in saturated fat, their blood lipid ratios remained balanced So the net-net, as you cast your net to find heart healthy seafood, is that shrimp's overall nutritional profile places it on the list of the dietary good guys. The same goes for shrimp's crustacean cousins, lobster and crab.
Pass the Lemons Please

Add a spritz of fresh lemon or lime juice or a splash of hot sauce and you'll keep the calories low-84 calories per three ounce serving (10 large shrimp). Fresh salsas, savory fruit relishes and vinegar based marinades add flavors without added fat, too.
Of course, if you drench shrimp in drawn butter or drown them in cheese or cream sauces you're changing the nutritional picture by increasing the calories and the artery-clogging saturated fat content of the dish. Fried shrimp will be higher in fat and calories, too. In fact you can add 100 calories per ounce when you plunge shrimp into the deep fryer. Make sure to seek out restaurants that use trans-fat free oils.
Nothing Shrimpy about Shrimp’s Nutritional Benefits:
Nutritional Scorecard (3 ounces steamed shrimp, about 10 large shrimp): 84 calories, 0.9 g total fat, 0 g carbohydrate, 166 mg cholesterol, 17.8 g protein.

 Nearly fat free, low in calories
 High in protein
 Good source of cardio-protective omega-3 fatty acids. Four ounces of shrimp provide 14.8% of your daily need for these protective fats.
 Excellent source of mineral selenium- associated with lowered risk of cancer
 Excellent source of vitamin B12 and - a four-ounce serving of shrimp delivers 28.2% of the daily value for vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is one of the nutrients needed to control levels of homocysteine, a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
 Mineral-rich, supplying iron, zinc and copper.
 Low in mercury and other environmental contaminants. For a complete list of mercury levels in seafood: .
Nutritional Scorecard (3 ounces steamed shrimp, 10 large shrimp): 84 calories, 0.9 g total fat, 0 g carbohydrate, 166 mg cholesterol, 17.8 g protein.

Condiment Calories
Clarified butter-120 cal/ tablespoon
Tartar sauce-70 cal/tablespoon
Cocktail sauce- 20 cal/ tablespoon

NOAA Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Closings
This link leads you to a map of closed fisheries in the Gulf, as of May 17th.