Category Archives: meal preparation

USDA’s My Plate compared to Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate

Note from Slimvictory: I found the following article from Harvard Medical School (www.health.harvard.edu), comparing their “Healthy Eating Plate” to the growing-in-popularity “MyPlate” found at www.choosemyplate.gov. It’s interesting to see how two well-respected authorities can come to different conclusions on basic nutrition guidelines (although they do have areas of agreement).

If I HAD to choose between the two, I’d pick the Harvard version; it gives more info, and  I like their idea of adding a bottle of heart-healthy oil to the dinner table. But I wouldn’t replace the glass of low-fat milk with tea or coffee, as the protein-punch the cow-juice packs can provide extra satiety. Also, since the USDA is trying to educate parents about preparing healthy meals for the entire family, a low-fat dairy item would be a better choice than caffeine-laced beverages included in Harvard’s choices (of course, water’s always good).  And a middle-of-the road option between the Harvard plate’s use of oils without restricting serving sizes, and the USDA plate, which ignores vital oils altogether would be beneficial.

Of course, a simple one-page plate diagram (meant to be a quick guide for making healthy choices) can’t take the place of detailed nutritional data (like serving size guides, how some “vegetables” should be considered as a grain or a protein source, choosing a variety of colors, and such). But by spending time on both these sites, savvy consumers can find more information to help them make informed choices.

What are some of your go-to sources for advice on healthy eating?

And now, here’s the Harvard article intro and link:

Back in June, federal authorities unveiled MyPlate, an icon designed to help Americans follow healthy eating patterns. Its a nice, colorful image that was a welcome successor to the misguided MyPyramid. But it doesnt offer much in the way of useful information.

via Harvard to USDA: Check out the Healthy Eating Plate.

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Filed under decision-making, food, healthy weight loss, making changes, meal preparation, Uncategorized

Choosing your calories wisely

It’s not as necessary to eat less to lose weight as it is to eat better. Consider the decadent and delicious treats available at your local Krispy Kreme shop,  and a healthier meal option.

Suppose you are planning tomorrow’s breakfast. Let’s say you want to have a meal of about 350 calories. Here are two choices:  the first option – one Krispy Kreme Chocolate Iced Custard Filled donut and a half cup of skim milk; option two –  a scrambled egg, slice of whole-wheat toast with a light coating of margarine-type spread and your favorite jelly, a small piece of fruit and a cup of skim milk.

Option one would satisfy your sweet tooth as it sends your blood-sugar level skyrocketing, only to plummet soon after, possibly leaving you fuzzy-headed, cranky, and craving another fix in about an hour. Option two gives you a tasty, healthy, and filling meal with offerings from all the food groups, providing sustainable energy and keeping you satisfied for most or all of the morning.

I consider my daily calorie-quota as a bank of sorts, with the foods I eat as “purchases”. I can “spend” my calories in ways  that’ll nourish me throughout the day, or I can dole them out carelessly, and find, before bedtime, I’ve run out and am hungry. In that case, I’ll have to face the music: try to sleep with a growling tummy, or eat more calories than I wanted to.

This is just one comparison. Favorite fast-food restaurant meals can easily pack 1,000 calories or more, and often the fat and sodium content are through the roof!  We can definitely benefit by reading the nutritional info of our favorite less-than-healthy foods, and consider better trade-offs. For me, it’s a fun challenge to see how much bang I can get for my calorie buck, and to feed my body with fuel that’s good for it as well!

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Filed under breakfast, calorie reduction, counting calories, decision-making, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, label-reading, meal preparation, mindset

Influencing the next generation

Much to my dismay, neither of my adult kids eat very healthfully. However, my seven-year-old granddaughter seems interested in my dietary habits. So last night, I sat at the table and made out a simple chart of the basic food groups, and how many servings one needs, accounting for variances for my adult status and her kid’s one.

Then, after she hit the hay, I stayed up late doing one on the computer, with lines for each group (ex: for the fruits, I said, two to three servings, and put three lines for writing down what we ate). I had shown her on my filled-out chicken-scratched version what I had eaten yesterday, and that I was short on fruit as I only ate two, and was also short on my grains, as I had one less than normal. Then I said, “I think I’ll have an apple!”, and I wrote that in.

When she gets home today, I’m going to have a list of all my foods I’ve eaten, and work with her to put them on the correct blanks. Then I’ll make sure (with her help, of course), to balance my “chart” at supper or for a planned bedtime snack. 
I think I’ll print off two more copies to let her have one to fill out, and maybe my daughter will join us (hehe)!

Just wondering…do you have success influencing family members? I’d love to hear your methods!

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Filed under balance, calorie reduction, children, creativity, example, healthy eating, meal preparation, Uncategorized

Eye-foolery

Simple tricks can help us eat less. Here’s a blog I published about the topic on my Sparkpeople.com page. If you’ve never checked out Sparkpeople, I highly recommend it – the nutrition/weight-loss/healthy-lifestyle tools are incredible!

Smiles from Slimvictory!

http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal.asp?id=JUSFOLK.

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Good-for-you oatmeal pancakes

This magazine recipe caught my eye. With only 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, I wasn’t sure it’d be tasty, but, with its oatmeal base,  it certainly looked healthy. With a touch of cinnamon and just one tablespoon of sugar divided among eight pancakes, it’s a winner in my book. Next time, I’m going to double the recipe to have some to freeze.

Oatmeal Pancakes

  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats*
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk 
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ⅛ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil

Mix oats and buttermilk together; refrigerate overnight (*I used old-fashioned oats and they did fine). Stir in remaining ingredients and blend well, adding more milk or water if needed for proper consistency. Spoon by ¼-cupfuls onto hot griddle. Cook until bubbles begin to break, flip and cook until golden brown. Makes about 8 pancakes. (For food-journaling purposes, I’d say three of these pancakes would count as two breads and 1/2 milk).

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Filed under breakfast, calorie reduction, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, meal preparation, recipes

LIGHT food on A&E show “HEAVY”?

As many of you are surely doing, I again tuned in for “Heavy” on A&E last week. Reasons for being overweight run the gamut, but it boils down to regularly overeating and/or eating too much of the wrong variety of foods.

Well, I’ve been waiting to see participants actually sit down to a meal, and on this latest show, it finally happened. After pushing themselves to the limit with gym exercises, walking and swimming, the featured guy and gal sat down to a spartan  dinner.  We were just given a quick glance at the plates, but the discouraged expression on the faces of the two diners was certainly evident. A glimpse at the meal showed what looked to be an average-size bowl of greens-based salad, about a half-cup scoop of  something I’m assuming was a protein source or possibly a protein/grain combo, a tiny serving of vegetables, and a drink. Perhaps this was not the whole meal, but that’s all viewers were shown. (One of the elite spa’s employees did mention that participants’ daily calorie quota ranged between 1200 and 1800 calories, which is certainly a reasonable amount for those wanting to lose weight.) 

But from my perspective, those who see this kind of meal, and think such a strict regimen is what is required to rid themselves of excess poundage are being given an unrealistic model.  My calorie goal is 1400 daily, and my lightest meal of most any day is around 350 calories, which, well-planned, provides me nourishment and satiety for a few hours. Here’s an example of two meals that add up to around 750 to 800 calories, leaving around 600 calories for the other meal and a couple of snacks:  Breakfast – 2/3 cup oatmeal, 1 slice 50-calorie whole wheat toast, 2 tsp. vegetable-oil spread and a bit of jelly, 1 cup 1% milk, coffee, and a piece of small fruit. Lunch – about 3-ounces lean protein, 1 fat serving, 2 non-starchy veggies (half-cup servings), 1 to 2 grain/starch servings and a fruit.

It has been exciting and impressive to see the results and changes in both weight and attitude in “Heavy” participants at the end of 6 months, but the process being a role model on how weight loss is done wouldn’t be one that’d draw many devotees. I’m hoping, on future shows, to see meals that would give encouragement to the everyday Joe or Joni, that calorie-reduction does not have to equal deprivation.

Surely one of the program’s goals is to see participants lose as much as possible in the 6-month time frame. However, for those who – armed with knives and forks – are doing daily battle in kitchens and cafeterias across the country, there is hope: by eating wisely and healthfully, and exercising most days, a person could realistically expect to shed around two pounds a week (over 50 pounds in six months, which is a great accomplishment), and provide a LIFESTYLE one could live with. Your thoughts?

 (A note from Slimvictory: if you’d like to receive new articles as they post, please sign up on my home page. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.)

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Super-simple Tilapia Recipe

Fish and other lean protein can help produce weight loss. (Photo by Ann Maniscalco)

I had made up my mind I would not like tilapia…until I tasted some cooked in a rich, spicy, butter sauce. Deciding to try my hand at a healthier recipe, I came up with this:

  • Tilapia fillets (3-4 ounces each)
  • Parkay buttery spray
  • Cajun spice (I use Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Meat Magic)
  • Lemon pepper

Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 350 degrees. Line pan with foil. Lightly spritz fillets with buttery spray on both sizes, and dust with spices. Cover and bake about 15 minutes; uncover and bake about 10 more minutes or until done.

I had also decided I was not going to like Mrs. Dash, but I made one fillet with the buttery spray and a good sprinkle of the Original Blend of Mrs. Dash, and found it to be incredibly tasty as well. Either way, a heart-healthy dish, for sure!

(Note from Slimvictory – if you’d like to receive my new articles as they post, please subscribe on my home page. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.)

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Filed under calorie reduction, counting calories, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, meal preparation, menu planning, nutrition data, recipes