Category Archives: Nutrition

Eating On The Run: Choose Buffet Food Wisely

Buffet food: delicious, variety, easy to eat more than necessary.

Buffet food: delicious, variety, easy to eat more than necessary.

by donR  15/11/2015

During lunch breaks are you  tempted to line up for a buffet-style  lunch. I certainly  am. Last month I stood in the buffet line at two grocery delis, the hospital and for a casino luncheon. With so many scrumptious food choices, it is easy to eat too much. To make matters worse, it’s almost impossible to resist the “White stuff?”  (sugar and bleached flour in the  entrees and trans-fats in the desserts). You are left with three choices:

  • Splurge and enjoy  the moment
  • Avoid going to food buffets in the first place
  • Adopt some of the following strategies to eat well when going through a buffet line or eating at the family dinner table.

The real issue with buffets or a dinner table loaded with bowls of food is our “see food diet.” With food sitting right in front of our eyes, it’s easy to grab too much. I ate too much food during my last visit to the Casino buffet and made a plan for the next time I go. Here is my plan:

  1. I’ll walk around to see what is being served.
  2. The next step is to return to the table with some herb tea or glass of water. Then relax and think about what I really need to eat.
  3. Now it’s time to hit the salad bar for leafy greens, veggies and a lite dressing like vinaigrette. I’ll add some fruit and oriental salad for a different flavor and texture.
  4. If there is a light soup available, I’ll go for it along with a small whole wheat bun and butter.
  5. For entrees, I’ll go back to the salad bar…and get a small plate. Choose roasted or steamed entrees and sides like turkey, white fish, baron of beef, cabbage rolls and veggies along with brown rice if available.
  6. buffet pastryNow am I too full for the dessert bar? No…I’ll save some room to indulge myself. How about gluten-free cakes & cookies loaded with sweeteners? Cake or pie with ice cream? Sugar- free tart with whipped cream? Maybe, but I’ll probably go back to the salad bar for refreshing coleslaw or cottage cheese & peaches. If I opt for the desserts, I’ll work out an extra 10 minutes…maybe.

You may have a different idea for approaching a buffet line or setting up the dinner table but this is the mental game I’ll play in order to keep from gorging myself. 

If you want other ideas visit 10 Tricks and Tips from the USDA Choose My Plate program  that may help to discourage over-eating.

I am researching about why we have cravings and tend to overeat. Is it a hormone imbalance, genetics, or caused by emotions? That’s a subject for another post.

Healthier Pizza For Kids

Personal pizzas using tortilla shells are simple and easy on the budget.

Personal pizzas using tortilla shells are simple and easy on the budget.

Okay. Most kids love pizza but should it be served regularly as a meal? We have shared ways to reduce the calories by creating whole wheat crusts with veggie toppings and limiting the cheese. Eliminating some of the cheese certainly cuts back on the saturated fat but we have found that kids like pizza because of the cheese. They also love Mac & Cheese, toasted cheese sandwiches, and string cheese. The real issue then is will they like pizza made with reduced saturated fat and less sugar? We think they will and here’s how. Continue reading

A Well-Stocked Pantry; Part 3

Does your family meal plan include enough vegetables and fruit?

Does your family meal plan include enough vegetables and fruit?

The USDA recommends that 50% of our dinner plate be filled with vegetables and fruit. But can you guess what percentage of the average grocery bill goes towards fruit and veggies?  Americans spend only about 14% according to a Huffington Post Article.  In this third part of the “Stocking Your Pantry” series, we’ll give you some ideas about what veggies to always have in your pantry (food storage areas). Continue reading

75 Ways To Healthier Pizza

Carry-out pizzas can contain as much as 700 calories per slice.

Carry-out pizzas can contain as many as 700 calories per slice.

by donR… for one of my past students who smuggled pizza into class every day.

  • Like pizza?
  • Like it more with fewer calories?
  • Love it with less fat?

Here is an article I found that gives ideas for making your own mouth-watering pizza while avoiding the high fat ingredients. Continue reading

Nutrition 101: What Are Proteins?

proteinsProteins are chains of molecules that work to maintain body cells like muscles, bones, blood, and other body organs. They also create fluids for regulating the body.

There are  20 different protein chains called amino acids  and their arrangement determines what their role is in the body.  The important thing to remember is that some foods contain all 20 amino acids while others contain only a few. Therefore we recommend that you consume a variety of colorful foods.

Natural lean beef, poultry and pork provide all of the necessary amino acids . Deep water white fish and wild salmon are also good choices and contain cancer-fighting amino acids. Avoid farmed fish because their diet is usually limited to one food source.

Legumes such as beans, peas and lentils are vegetable proteins. They are among the most nutritious foods available: low in fat, free of cholesterol, and high in essential minerals. They contain beneficial fats and fiber. Combined with rice, legumes provide a complete protein. Use them in salads, soups, and as a meat substitute.

 For more information see Genetic Home Reference. 

Nutrition 101: Foods That Nourish or Not

Nutrition 101: Upcoming Series of Posts by donR

Choose My Plate guidelines would have you eat more leafy greens and cut back on simple sugars and saturated fats,

Choose My Plate guidelines would have you eat more leafy greens and cut back on simple sugars and saturated fats,

The Family Meals Project embraces the “Choose My Plate” principles as set forth by the US Department of Agriculture. A section of their plan discusses ‘dietary guidelines’, but just mentioning the word “Diet” can send out alarm signals to some people. The word is often associated with food restrictions, expensive interventions, supplements, weight loss programs and medical cures.

The FMP prefers to focus on meal plans that promote general wellness. We think of food as a nourisher and healer. It is not a diet plan, but it is difficult to discuss wellness without including some information about nutrition, inflammation, digestive disorders, and foods that directly affect other body systems. Nutrition 101 will attempt to shed light on foods and activities that promote wellness and at the same time lead you to other articles that explain how some foods can contribute to either sickness or healing.

The series will be posted each Monday. Some of the topics will include:

  • Dieting 101: What Are Proteins?
  • Dieting 101: Are There Good and Bad Carbohydrates?
  • Dieting 101: Exposing Fat Misconceptions.
  • Dieting 101: The Role of Vitamins and Minerals.
  • Dieting 101: Micro-nutrients– the Disease Fighters.
  • Dieting 101: What is ‘macrobiotic’?
  • Dieting 101: Inflammatory Foods in 200 words.
  • Dieting 101: Food Allergies
  • Dieting 101: Dieting 101: What’s all the fuss about gluten.



Dinner Table Talk: Which Is Healther, This or That?

Or This?

Or This?

Which is healhier, This?

Which is healthier, This?



Eating Well magazine posted a challenge to its readers,”Which  is healthier, popcorn  or pretzels?”  and several more “This or That questions.” These questions would certainly start some interesting conversations round the family dinner table. Continue reading

Healthy Eating On A Tight Budget

picture of vegetables

Having fruit and vegetables readily available for snacks is healthy and saves money.

Want to eat healthier foods? Webmd featured a slide show today titled “Healthy Eating Resolutions.” It is well done and their Tips and Tricks echo FMP  principles. Webmd and Mayo Clinic sites  are among my daily reads  because they usually offer nutritional remedies along side of medical interventions.

The 13 slides look at ways to add more fruit and veggies to your meals and snacks, plan ahead, savor the meal, eat out less and eat healthy foods when at work. But the slide show message is more than just about nutrition.

Many of their suggestions will also be money-savers. Eating out less, slow cooking, shared meals, eliminating costly sugar-laden soft drinks and processed foods add up to huge savings each month.  If you want proof, try this experiment just for snacks:

  • go to your favorite grocer and wheel 2 carts around the store.
  • In one cart place a week’s supply of your favorite snacks like chips and dip, cookies, Fritos®, ice-cream, juice and chocolates.
  • In the other cart put an assortment of fruit, celery, carrots, restaurant corn chips, humus, green tea bags, water, Greek yogurt and other natural foods you would munch on.
  • Compare the prices and see whether processed comfort foods are money-savers.
  • Please share the results on our forum.