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Things You Should Never Order When You Eat Out

deonna.molina | September, 5, 2017

From sneaky sodium traps to dicey dishes that put you at risk for food poisoning, these are the menu item you’re better off skipping.

 

You know to pass on the deep-fried food and the dessert the size of your head, but what about the green smoothie or the yogurt parfait? Restaurants have a way of loading calories and sugar into healthy-sounding orders. And then there are food safety issues to consider; some menu items carry a higher risk of foodborne illness than others. To help you order smarter the next time you eat out, I have compiled this list of dishes to rule out.

 

The medium-rare burger:

When ground beef isn’t cooked to the proper temperature (160 degrees F), nasty bacteria may remain (think “fecal contamination”). According to a recent Consumer Reports study, an undercooked burger is riskier than an undercooked steak because harmful microbes tend to be mixed throughout ground beef, whereas with whole cuts of meat, the microbes are more likely to stay on the surface and die off when exposed to heat. Ask for your burger cooked to at least medium.

 

Rum (or vodka) and diet soda:

A small study from Northern Kentucky University found that pairing booze with a diet drink may actually enhance the effects of alcohol. Subjects who drank that combination had a 25% higher breath alcohol concentration than when they drank cocktails with a non-diet mixer. The researchers point out that the lower calorie count isn’t worth it. In addition to the obvious risks, eating while buzzed makes it harder to resist temptations.

 

The value meal:

It can be tempting to order off the value menu at a fast food restaurant to get the most bang for your buck. But one double cheeseburger, fries, and a drink could add up to 1,100 calories and nearly 50 grams of fat. And chowing down may have immediate consequences. Research from the Journal of Nutrition found that after healthy people ate a high-fat meal, their blood pressure was higher when faced with a stressor compared to when they ate a low-fat one.

 

A doggie bag—if you’re not headed straight home

Cooked foods should not be at room temperature longer than two hours. When cooked foods are between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, that’s when bacteria rapidly multiply to the point where you can get really sick. If you’re going out to a concert or a movie after dinner, don’t bother packing up your leftovers. Leaving the doggie bag in the car is just asking for trouble.

 

Drinks with free refills:

Having seltzer? Fine. Black coffee? Also good (just limit yourself to about three cups). But soda or sweetened ice tea? Not so much. A soda at a popular restaurant chain packs around 120 calories. Not bad—until you consider it has 33 grams of sugar, the equivalent of more than 8 teaspoons of the white stuff. Get one refill or two, and you’ve suddenly sucked down 24 teaspoons of sugar. That’s four times the amount of added sugar the American Heart Association recommends women have in an entire day.

 

Fro-yo:

Frozen yogurt has a reputation as a healthier alternative to ice cream. And you can make it a smart choice if you do it right. However, know that a serving size is a measly 4 ounces. And that small amount can pack on as many as 32 grams of sugar (the equivalent of 8 teaspoons) even before you add toppings like chips (another 20 grams of sugar), coconut flakes (11 grams of sugar), or yogurt chips (20 grams of sugar). Compared to a half cup of ice cream—which has just 14 grams of sugar and a similar amount of calories—fro-yo isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. If you want a frozen treat that’s actually low calorie and good for you, try dairy-free chocolate and banana ice cream.

 

Green smoothie:

Yup, those veggie-laden beverages can be quite deceptive. One popular chain combines kale and avocado—plus frozen yogurt, juice, and sugar. No wonder it’s got 70 grams of sugar and nearly 500 calories. Often, these places will put a lot of fruit and fruit juice into the smoothie to compensate for the green flavor. This is a dessert. It is not a snack. A smoothie snack shouldn’t be more than 250 calories.

SKINNY BELL PEPPER NACHO BOATS

deonna.molina | August, 7, 2017

Per serving

Yields: 18 boats | Serving: 2 boats | Calories: 145 | Total Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 293mg | Carbohydrates: 4g | Fiber: 1g | Sugars: 2g | Protein: 13g

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 cup salsa, no sugar added
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, reduced-fat
  • 3 bell peppers
  • Instructions:

    1. Remove seeds, core, and membrane from bell peppers then slice each one into 6 vertical pieces where they dip down. Set sliced bell peppers aside.
    2. Cook ground turkey over medium-high heat, breaking up as it cooks. Cook until the turkey loses it’s pink color and is cooked through. Drain off any fat. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    3. Combine cooked turkey with spices and salsa. Evenly distribute mixture into the bell pepper boats, top with cheese. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and peppers are hot.
    4. Remove from the oven and add additional toppings, if desired.

    NOTE: If you prefer much softer bell peppers, add a few tablespoons water to the bottom of a large casserole dish, add filled nachos, cover tightly with foil and bake 15 minutes. Optional ingredients: sliced Jalapeno peppers, diced avocado, fat-free Greek yogurt or sour cream, or sliced green onions.

How to beat that sugar addiction.

deonna.molina | July, 26, 2017

Do you have a sugar addiction? Are you ready to kick the habit once and for all? If you feel sugar is ruling your diet, then try these tips to gain back control over your health. Remember, small tiny changes will have a massive impact on your overall well-being.

 

*Try eating protein in the morning. By eating protein in the morning, you fuel your body the right way and help yourself to curb cravings throughout the rest of the day.

*Try keeping a food log. Trying to be more mindful of what you’re eating and what time you mostly go for the sugar can help you to figure out the best way to break those habits. After you establish that, then start to monitor how you feel after you eat certain things.

*Try choosing smarter sweets. When you begin to make better choices, try opting for healthier desserts, and even some fresh fruit to curb a sweet craving. Your palate will adjust and soon enough, some things will actually begin to taste too sweet.

*Say goodbye to soda. If you have soda as a staple, then it is time to say goodbye. Start by swapping it for some fruit juice or unsweetened ice teas. Then you can begin to transition to water.

*Begin to learn about hidden sugars. Sugar has many sneaky aliases, like sucrose, dextrose, rice syrup, corn syrup, etc. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to identify it when it tried to sneak into your food.

*Cut back slow. Trying to cut back cold turkey is dangerous and may send your body into shock, making you have worse cravings. Start to slowly remove a little bit of sugar at a time, and opt for more natural sweeteners and healthier desserts while you transition out of sugar.

*Go for the whole grains. Swap your refined carbs for whole grains; refined carbohydrates have the same physiological effect on your body as sugar, and many times there is hidden sugar in them too. Try brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, and buckwheat.

*Begin to read your labels. You need to read your labels on all your food. Even savory foods, like marinara sauce, can have added sugar. Check everything. You do not want sugar to be in the top five in the list of ingredients.

*Analyze your grocery list. Start by taking a look at the things you are buying every week. Then try to determine what you can start losing and replacing. If you notice a lot of sugary items on your list, then it’s time to make a change. Also, make sure you stick to your grocery list when you go shopping. Don’t be tempted by candy and chocolate on the endcaps and checkout lanes. Try to shop in only the outside aisle.

*Get out. Sometimes when you feel like you don’t have self-control, you need to just step away. Throw the stuff away that you can’t keep yourself away from. Just get it out of your fridge, cabinets, and pantry. Donate it or have another family member eat it, but whatever you do, don’t just hide it. You will find it.

*Don’t buy packaged foods. For the most part, packaged foods have lots and lots of added sugar. Make food at home so you can control exactly what is going in your body.

*Stick it out. It takes 21 days to break a habit. Once added and processed sugar is out of your diet completely, stick it out. It will be worth it in the end.

*Add more movement. Movement will help eliminate sugar from your system. Go for walks or do a workout. Do anything to add in some extra movement.

*Drink up. Drink a lot of water. Drinking more water can add volume to your blood and dilute sugar, which will aid you in your detox process.

*Add some spice to your life. Cinnamon and vanilla give the perception of sweetness without the added sugar. You can add them to coffee, oats and much more.

*Skip artificial sweeteners. These can be just as bad as sugar for your body and may induce cravings. While you’re transitioning out of sugar addiction, try honey or organic maple syrup to start breaking the habit.

*Never go hungry. No matter how busy your days are, don’t go hungry. Plan snacks and meals in advance so you don’t have a dip in blood sugar or reach for those dreaded sweets for your quick fix.

 

 

 

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