Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Life according to Walmart

A few weeks ago, I made a very unwise decision and journeyed to Target with no agenda. Such an excursion is never gentle on my bank account and, true to form, I made an impulse purchase: "No More Trouble Zones, Ultimate Body Makeover" by Jillian Michaels...the DVD. I also purchased the necessary hand weights which turned out to be more than my puny little arms could handle. I stopped by Walmart on my way home today to downgrade my weights. I decided to share with you a few insights:

1. Most items in Walmart are not actually as cheap as they appear. The bright yellow price tags next to products often display the original SAME price as the original white price tag. Tricky.

2. That said, it seems to me that effective price comparison requires a math degree.

3. Dark chocolate has become a "health food," thus manufacturers feel they are at liberty to charge ridiculous amounts of money for their product. Unfortunately, I actually believe in the health benefits of DARK chocolate and grudgingly pay what they ask.

4. Chicken wings are to Southerners as milk and honey were to the Israelites. Seriously.

5. I'm nearly done with my 5th year of nutrition training and still had a mild panic attack in the vitamin/supplement isle. Stay tuned for more on this subject; Vitamin D recommendations are changing!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Grownups knows best?

I went to Chick-fil-a for lunch today ; just had to use a coupon that had been burning a hole in my pocket. Milkshake in hand, I settled at a corner table prime for people watching.

I chuckled as I watched a mother repeatedly tell her son that if he did not eat his icecream cone (at a young age he had already developed an affinity for people watching which outweighed his desire for lunch), she was going to have to take it away. She did in fact take away his icecream cone and proceded to eat it herself. For the record she did not seem too put out about eating the rejected cone.

Soon after, a Dad and his son sat down beside me. The scene was similar as the Dad bribed the preschooler; "Eat another chicken strip and then you can go play!" Perhaps my train of thought would have been different if the child had been encouraged to finish his green beans, but I began to wonder at what point we lose our desire to play and turn to food for entertainment.

Now, I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't enjoy our food. The whole scenario just made me think that maybe we adults had a few things to learn from our young counterparts about eating and playing and the balance of life.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Responsibly Sweet

It is common knowledge that I have a high-calorie habit. I bake. While Julie and I urge people not to think in terms of "good food, bad food" and are proponents of everything in moderation, it is still a good idea to be wise with your baked goods. Luckily, there are resources such as Cooking Light that publish tried and true recipes, helping the aspiring chef become health savvy. These recipes cut calories and fat without sacrificing flavor. It's a beautiful concept for people like me who just can't let the Kitchenaid stand idle!

White Chocolate Blueberry Bread Pudding:

2/3 C sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 C reduced fat (2%) milk
3/4 C white chocolate chips
1 t vanilla extract
1 t almond extract (here, I am heavy handed)
1/2 t ground cinnamon
10 C bread, cut in 1-inch cubes (I used Challah)
1-2 C blueberries, fresh or frozen
Cooking Spray

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Combine sugar and eggs in large bowl, mixing with whisk. Heat milk over medium-high heat in small saucepan until 180 degrees or tiny bubbles form around edges of pan. Remove from heat and stir in white chocolate until melted. Gradually add hot milk mixture to sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Add vanilla, almond, and cinnamon. Add bread, tossing to coat. Let stand 30 minutes, tossing occassionaly.
3. Add blueberries to bread mixture and spoon into a greased 8-inch. Bake 40 minutes or until set. Serve warm.


Guilty Confession: I do not drink milk.

I'm sure my mother and dietitians everywhere are cringing as they read this shameful statement. I preach about the need for calcium in a healthy diet yet I NEVER drink milk. I do regularly eat nonfat yogurt, greek yogurt, and string cheeses to get my calcium.

During my grocery store trip yesterday, I walked by the milk aisle and stopped. I stared at the assortment of milks: regular, soy, chocolate, goats, kefir, etc. with the wheels in my head turning. I heard myself saying to patients, "you should consume at least 1200 mg of calcium a day".

Decision made - I was buying milk.
Dilemma - what kind?!

Jo keeps a constant supply of Silk Vanilla and Silk Chocolate in our fridge. She's a soon to be dietitian, so I should probably buy the same!

I walked out of Publix with a small Silk Very Vanilla. If it is in my fridge, I am bound to drink it. It does not taste bad! Last night I incorporated it into a milkshake. Delicious! I even took some swigs of it this morning before class.

What's the difference between regular cows milk and soy milk?
Soy milk is made from vegetable proteins (soy beans) whereas cows milk is made from animal protein. Soy milk does not contain lactose. Jo is sensitive to lactose, so Silk is great for her digestive tract.

1 serving of Silk provide - 30% of the recommended daily intake of calcium and 6 g protein

Jo highly recommends the Silk Chocolate to curb your chocolate cravings. She enjoys a glass after her daily run.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Product Alert!

When I was home a few weeks ago, my cousin told me about her new favorite salad dressing: Girard's light champagne vinaigrette. She claimed it was so good that she and her friends had developed a phone tree to alert each other of sales. I've always been pretty loyal to my Light Done Right raspberry vinaigrette, but decided to give it a shot (Emily has never led me astray in the culinary arena).

She was right, it's FABULOUS! 50% less fat than the original (with none of that "I'm a light dressing taste"), brings it to just 30 calories and 2.5 grams of fat in a tablespoon! Since this discovery, I've been practically living off spring salad blend topped with a few crumbles of goat cheese, a small palm full of almonds, and sliced pear. Yummm! Apples substitute well for pears, or the fruit can be replaced entirely with red pepper, cucumber, and tomato.

Salad is a great way to eat with the seasons. As fall apples and pears dwindle, berries are becoming more readily available. Likewise cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, peppers, and mushrooms will soon be abounding! With the right dressing (portioned wisely, of course), salad can incorporate any fruit or vegetable on hand for a tasty side dish. Add a protein such as a lean meat, nuts, or cheese, and it can become a quick and healthy meal! Try making an extra large salad for dinner and packaging leftovers for the next day's lunch.

out and about

This week j and j experienced a Charleston tradition. Saturday was the 32nd anual Cooper River Bridge Run. At 6 AM, Julie and I boarded a bus with all 6 other interns, bound for the famous 10k. After a great deal of shivering and teeth chattering, we finally gathered at the starting line with 40,000 of our closest friends, and off we went! It was my first race, and very exhilerating. Nothing motivates you to keep moving quite like a herd of runners huffing and puffing on your heals!

We were all quite pleased with our times, despite a lack of training. Moral to the story: Our bodies really are capable of so much more than we give them credit for! Somtimes it just takes a little peer pressure to keep moving. Perhaps we are marathon bound? At the least, we hope for an annual reunion on the bridge!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Interns do Iron Chef

Culinary week came to a close with a little friendly competition among the interns... Iron Chef style

Assignment: Take a typical school lunch menu item and tailor it to include more nutrition, also meeting USDA guidelines.

Lunch: Pizza and granola bar

Team 1: Julie, Dana, Reba, Shelly
- Changed the pizza dough to be 1/3 whole wheat flour
- Added baked sweet potato and carrot to our pizza sauce
- Cut our granola and fruit bars into cut out shapes to appeal to children
- Drizzle raspberry reduction over the bar for dipping

Our presentation

Team 2: Jo, Naomi, Karen, Krista
- 50:50 whole wheat to regular flour
- reduced fat cheese sticks with marinara dipping sauce
- make your own taco pizza
- fruit and granola bar with nonfat yogurt to dip

Jo is a great chopper.

Our guest judges

Team 2 won but I think we both succeeded in designing healthy versions of a not-so-nutritious lunch.

- Play with vegetables in your sauces. You will be amazed at the flavors they provide
- Kids LOVE shapes. Buy crazy cookie cutters and turn any boring snack into fun
- Buy low fat cheeses
- Take the time to plan for kids. The effort is worth the time when you're kids grow up with healthy eating habits