Turkey Scraps: Try This New Comfort Food Recipe

Those turkey scraps that don’t fit nicely on a serving platter for Thanksgiving lend themselves very well to a favorite family recipe of mine. I would put these croquettes in the “comfort food” category. They are easy to make, use up all your leftover meat scraps, and are a healthy meat entrée. Enjoy the whole traditional bird on Thanksgiving, then enjoy this great leftover dish later in the week.Turkey Dinner

Take all those scraps of turkey and place into a food processor or a blender.  This recipe calls for about 2 cups of shredded meat.  The meat mixture will be mixed with a light roux sauce to bind it and then baked in the oven for a healthier alternative to a traditional fried croquette recipe.

 

For the croquette meat mixture you will need:

2 cups of chopped or shredded leftover turkey

dash of salt and pepper

1 tsp. lemon juice (optional)

1 tsp. chopped parsley (optional)

Combine these ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Next, make the light roux sauce.  You will need:

4 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1 cup milk

Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add the flour and seasonings and blend.  Slowly add the one cup of milk, stirring continually with a wire whisk until the mixture thickens.  After the mixture thickens, add into the chopped meat mixture. You want the mixture to be firm enough to shape, so use only part of the sauce mixture initially, and then added the rest as needed.  It is helpful to chill the mixture for awhile in order to allow for shaping the mixture into firmer patties.

After the roux sauce and chopped meat are mixed together, shape your croquettes into eight hamburger like patty shapes.

The next step is to coat the croquette patties with the bread crumbs.  You will need:

1 cup fine bread crumbs
1/4 cup butter
one egg with 1 tbsp. water or alternatively you may use eggbeaters

Place the butter in a shallow baking dish and melt.  Dip the croquettes into the bread crumbs, egg, and then back into the bread crumbs.  Next place the breaded croquettes into the melted warm butter and coat all sides. Preheat the oven to 350 ° and bake for about 30 minutes until crisp.  This can be served with a dollop of any leftover roux sauce if not needed for the croquette mixture.  Garnish with a sprig of parsley and enjoy that turkey again.

Nutrition information per croquette:

200 calories

9 grams of fat

15 grams of protein

15 grams of carbohydrate

360 mg sodium

 

Tip:  If you would like to decrease the fat and calorie content further, skip rolling the bread coating mixture in the melted butter.  Turkey scraps can also be frozen to make this recipe at a later time. And, no turkey?  This recipe also works very well with leftover chicken.  Bon appetit!Those turkey scraps that don’t fit nicely on a serving platter for Thanksgiving lend themselves very well to a favorite family recipe of mine.  Take all those pieces of turkey and place into a food processor or a blender.  This recipe calls for about 2 cups of shredded meat.  The meat mixture will be mixed with a light roux sauce to bind it and then baked in the oven for a healthier alternative to a traditional fried croquette recipe.

 

 

 

How Does Your Favorite Cereal Stack Up?

 

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Did you know cereal is a healthy nutrient dense carbohydrate? Selecting a good breakfast cereal means you will be providing complex carbohydrates to efficiently fuel your brain and body.  A good quality breakfast cereal should have fiber and not much sugar.  I like to see a breakfast cereal with at least 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving.  Speaking of “serving”, how big is your portion? Most people actually do not mentally note the serving size on the Nutrition Facts Label and are rather shocked to find out, for instance, that a serving of Frosted Mini Wheats is just 21 pieces!   It’s ok to double your serving size, but this will be an issue if you are trying to control your calories along with other nutrients.

Thumbs Up to FiberFiber aids digestion, stabilizes blood glucose levels, aids in blood cholesterol reduction, and can offer a feeling of satiety to actually aid in weight reduction! That’s a lot of benefits from a bowlful of fiber rich cereal.

Thumbs Down to Sugar. Did you know that every 5 grams of sugar yields one teaspoon of sugar?  So, that fruity loop cereal your kids love which contains 15 grams of sugar contains 3 teaspoons of sugar per serving.  That assumes your serving size is what is noted on the box.  Pour a second bowl and you double your sugar consumption along with the calories.

Thumbs Down to Fat. A cereal is mostly complex carbohydrate and should not have much fat in it.  Some whole grain cereals will have a natural small amount of fat, but if the fat content per serving of the cereals gets too high (over 3 grams), then the assumption is fat has been added in production.  A classic example of a cereal with excessive fat per serving is Kellogg’s Crackling Oat Bran which contains 7 grams of fat per 3/4 cup serving.

Thumbs Up OR Down to Iron.  If you are a female of child bearing age, or a growing child, then enriched breakfast cereal is an excellent source of dietary iron. For everyone else, beware!  Males and older women do not need the large amount of iron in cereal.  Too much iron is constipating and also an issue if you have a common genetic condition called hereditary iron overload.  If you have been paying attention to the iron content of cereal, you know it is very difficult to find a cereal without iron.  In fact, many popular lower sugar and high fiber cereals are also loaded with iron. For instance Wheat Chex (6 grams fiber) contains over 14 grams of iron.  Cheerios contains 8 grams of iron. This is too much iron for men and older women who only need 8 mgs. per day and will be getting additional iron in the diet through other foods.

Cereals with less iron include:

  • Kashi cereals range from virtually no iron up to 2 mg depending on the variety selected
  • Puffins have less than 1 mg
  • Cooked oatmeal has less than 2 mg
  • Fiber One has 4.5 mg
  • Frosted Cheerios have 4.5 mg
  • Basic 4 has 4.5 mg
  • Flax Plus Multibran Flakes has less than 2 mg
  • All Cascadian Farm Organic cereals (my new “find”), have less than 2 mg iron

Enjoy your cereal for breakfast, snacks, and maybe even dinner, but make sure you choose one that is right for your health.

The Potential Hidden Danger in Your Cereal: Iron

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We all know iron is something we need to stay healthy and prevent anemia.  But did you know that too much dietary iron can hurt your health? When choosing a cereal, most people grab what tastes good.  If they are health conscious,  cereals low in calories and sugar and high in fiber might be selected.

One of the main problems with iron fortification in cereal is that the cereal is fortified for the part of the population that needs the most iron-namely women of childbearing age.  So, listen up adult males and older women: you, in particular, need to be mindful of the iron content of your favorite breakfast cereal.  When looking at a Nutrition Fact Label, note the percentage of DV iron. Looking at the above label, if a young female of child-bearing age has a 3/4 cup serving of Wheat Chex, she will be consuming 80% of her iron requirements (or about 14 grams of iron).  However, if an adult male or older woman eats 3/4 cup of the above cereal, he/she will be consuming almost double the iron recommendation of 8 grams of iron.  The fact that so much of our food supply is fortified with iron increases the risk that this hefty load of iron in a single serving of breakfast cereal could be problematic.

What exactly is the problem with eating too much iron?  Research has suggested the following:

Accelerated aging process?  Researchers recently pointed this out in worms, and will likely try to evaluate if this applies to humans;  in the interim, we already know that iron causes oxidative stress, which as far as the human body is concerned, is a negative event!  Oxidative stress in humans is thought to be involved in the development of many diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Constipation.  Aside from being unpleasant, this is not healthy for your body.   Any toxins or food pathogens present in your food will linger in your gastrointestinal tract, and potentially threaten your overall health. There is also scientific evidence that constipation can be a risk factor for colorectal cancer.

Healthy people make a hormone, hepcidin, which swings into action to prevent too much iron from being absorbed. However, in a now common genetic condition called iron overload (or technically Hemochromatosis), the body is unable to put the brakes on iron absorption and iron begins to build up in the tissues. Early symptoms are varied and include fatigue, abdominal pain, and increased infections.  Later symptoms include liver failure and heart failure, and bone damage, and diabetes.

For those as yet undiagnosed people who are at particular risk from too much dietary iron, the iron content of generous servings of cereal are particularly troublesome.  For the rest of the males and older women, reading the nutrition fact label can help you keep your iron intake where it belongs-which is significantly less than noted on the label of most cereals on today’s supermarket shelves.

Have a favorite breakfast cereal which is low in iron? Please share for the next updated blog on which are the best low iron cereal options on the market.

 

 

Homemade Chicken Soup: Oh So Good and Good For You!

chicken soup

Homemade chicken soup made in my favorite Cuisinart electric pressure cooker

It seems as though sinus infections, the stomach flu, bronchitis, and muscle aches are making the rounds in my large family and we don’t even live in the same house! I finally found both the energy and time to take out my favorite cooking equipment, my pressure cooker, to make some virus fighting fuel.  We have all heard that even canned chicken noodle soup can help fight a cold, but I was eager and ready to taste the rich flavorful type of chicken noodle soup I could make with my electric pressure cooker. At this point, I decided I would enhance the rich flavor by making the chicken stock base in my pressure cooker rather than using low sodium chicken broth.

Pressure Cooker Homemade Chicken Stock Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of chicken wings
  • small onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 parsley sprigs
  • 2 quarts water

Cook all ingredients on high pressure for 40 minutes. Use a natural release to continue extracting the flavors.  Strain the stock. Cool the stock in order to skim the fat off.  If time is short and you need to use the chicken stock before it is completely cool, use a chilled lettuce leaf to help skim the fat off the stock.  The chilled leaf will actually attract the fat in the broth to allow for removal.

On to the Chicken Soup….

  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound of skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups of your homemade chicken stock recipe or 6 cups low sodium packaged chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 cup egg noodles (may substitute rice or orzo)

Saute the celery, onion, and carrots in the tablespoon of oil for a few minutes.   Add the chicken breasts, thyme, salt, pepper, and stock or broth.  Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes; when done release the pressure quickly.  Add in the chopped parsley and then cook the egg noodles or other pasta or rice in the hot soup.

In addition to being a “comfort” food, chicken soup will fight inflammation, thin your mucous, and hydrate you which will all hopefully fight whatever ails you!

Do you have a favorite chicken soup recipe?  Interested in more soup recipes?

 

 

 

“Turkey Day” Food: Slimming Strategies for Favorite Foods!

Turkey DinnerThe big turkey day is upon us in a few weeks, so many cooks are already planning their menus for Thanksgiving.  Across the country, people will eat dinner with family and friends in homes and restaurants.  Many of my clients feel it is difficult to focus on health and wellness at this time of the year.  For Thanksgiving gatherings, I tell my clients it is “just one day” of dining.  If you exercise control over the aftermath of the meal, then it should be viewed as a meal enjoyed with those that matter in your life, a time to be thankful, and a time to reflect.  Controlling the “aftermath” means that you get rid of the leftovers that may sabotage your healthy eating plans or plan appropriately to avoid having leftovers in the first place!  With that stated, I think we can also think about the traditional Thanksgiving meal as having the potential to be a meal that can even offer health benefits to your diet.  Here is a sampling of traditional Thanksgiving foods and the potential impact on your health:

Pumpkin.  Pumpkin is loaded with beta-carotene which is the plant derived form of vitamin A.  Consider offering your guests a slimmed down crustless pumpkin pie option in addition to traditional desserts.

Sweet potatoes.  This is another beta-carotene superstar.  Keep the calories in tow by limiting the brown sugar, butter, and marshmallows used in traditional recipes.

Mashed potatoes. Potatoes are loaded with potassium!  Slim down your recipe by limiting the butter used in your recipe.  Consider using skim milk, low sodium chicken broth, or fat-free sour cream in your recipe to slash the fat and calories.

Cranberries.  This traditional side dish is loaded with cancer fighting plant chemicals, vitamin C, and fiber.  No need to limit its use to cranberry bread and sauce-consider using it in a fruit compote instead.

Turkey.  Turkey is full of lean protein.  Watch your serving sizes and the gravy added to your plate, and consider this a healthy meat option for your Thanksgiving gathering.  Roast your turkey without the stuffing inside, baking it in a separate casserole dish.  This keeps your stuffing lower in calories as well.

Watch your servings sizes for all your foods and leftovers, and enjoy the day and the health benefits of traditional Turkey day fare.  Top your meal with a nice family walk, and you will be slim and ready for the next round of holidays in December!

 Do you have any healthy Thanksgiving recipes to share?

To Supplement or Not: 5 Facts To Factor

supplements from a bottleNews coverage over the last few days seems to be revolving around the weather, the holidays, Obamacare, and of all things nutritional supplements!  While I can’t comment about most of this current list of media topics, I do have a few words to say on the topic of supplements!  If you listen to the media hype over the last few days, there are some recurring  statements from the so-called experts being interviewed.  Some “experts” note most of our nutrients should come from food, come from “natural” whole foods put into pill form, or just be avoided altogether.  The truth and correct answers are most likely somewhere in between the primarily black and white general statements made by these so-called experts. Sadly, despite this topic of supplements airing over many news stations for the last few days, not one “expert” ever suggested that each person should be evaluated on a case by case basis in order to really assess the need and benefits from supplements. To determine if supplements are right for you, consider these tips:

  • Supplements are meant to fill in for dietary shortfallsIf you eat a healthy diet (include dairy or source of calcium, fish, plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains), there is a fairly good chance you can skip taking pills!  If you are lactose intolerant, hate dairy products, don’t eat any foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, or you are vegan, then you may benefit from a supplement.  Consulting a licensed/registered dietitian can help you sort out what you may or may not need to be doing regarding supplements.
  • Supplements are of benefit to your health if you have a documented deficiency of a nutrient!  Wondering if you should really be taking vitamin D supplements?  You should have a blood test to determine if you need to be taking a supplement.  Once blood work is done on my clients, most have turned out to be deficient.  Once a deficiency of any nutrient is determined, it is easy enough to replete the diet through both food and supplements (or sunshine in the case of vitamin D).
  • Be aware of upper limits of safety!  More is definitely not better for you in most cases.  In fact, many people who take multiple supplements forget that they may be doubling or tripling their intake of a given nutrient because it is in several of their supplement formulas.  Beyond a certain limit, it can be dangerous to take the nutrient. Some nutrients can even be toxic if taken in excess.  Your favorite dietitian can be your best resource for this information!
  • Food is your best source of nutrients.  Nature has an uncanny way of packaging foods and one food is loaded with many nutrients that actually work together to maximize your nutritional status.  With that stated, those people who eat a lot of processed foods and a limited diet may indeed benefit from specific supplements.  An evaluation of your diet and eating habits is the best way to move forward with accurate supplement recommendations.
  • Did you know there is no regulation of supplements?  If a supplement has been implicated in causing harm, it will be pulled from the shelves, but until then it is buyer beware!  With that stated, the savvy consumer choosing to take supplements should consider well-know brands that have a reputation to protect.  Using lesser known brands may result in less quality control.  Over the decades, some supplements have been known to be tainted with arsenic and lead.  Choosing a name brand product can potentially protect you!

Not all supplements are good or bad for that matter.  Not all people need supplements, and many people do!  Consulting with a professional who is educated on this topic and takes the time to evaluate your diet prior to making recommendations will be time well spent in improving both your health and nutritional status!

7 Tips to Tackle Healthier Eating by TONIGHT!

We are all busy!  My new clients all seem to feel like there is no time to “cook”, they eat on theMan Eating Pizza run, and the end result is a poor diet that will eventually impact health and weight. Through my three decades of counseling clients, I have seen the American diet deteriorate to new lows.  If you would like to improve your diet by this evening and your health down the road, try these seven easy tactics to shape up your diet by TONIGHT!

  • Eat breakfast.  By starting the day with healthy fuel, you are more likely to get all your required nutrients for the day.  If trying to lose weight, you will use these calories efficiently, and not store as fat.  You can keep it super simple-a serving of fruit, slice of toast, along with juice or milk. 
  • Add fruits and vegetables to your day every day and ALL day.  Most Americans eat far less than the recommended 5 servings a day.  By adding fruits and veggies to your diet, you are adding compounds to your diet that decrease inflammation.  Decreasing inflammation can decrease your risk of disease. Start to tackle this by making sure you eat a serving of fruit and vegetables with every meal and snack and voila, mission accomplished!
  • Drastically decrease animal protein consumption.  Why? Animal protein is not just protein; it is also a significant amount of saturated fat.  By eating less animal protein, you will decrease your intake of fat, particularly saturated fat which is artery clogging and increases inflammation.
  • Avoid the fast food-restaurant trap.Dining out constantly is a sure-fire way to ruin your diet unless you constantly order salads with low fat dressing and fruit platters.  Most restaurant food is much higher in sodium, calories, and fat than the counterpart made or assembled at home.
  • Don’t be afraid of some convenience foods in the grocery store. I can almost guarantee that if you eat some brands of frozen dinner such as Healthy Choice or Lean Cuisine, you will for the most part be better off than going to the local fast food chain or diner.  Why?  The meals are portion controlled; you know what you are eating because you can see a Nutrition Fact Label.  We have been brainwashed to think that these meals have too many chemicals, etc.  There are many nutritional advantages to these items as a back up to a chaotic schedule that necessitates relying on dining out to get your meals consumed.  And, it is cheaper.
  • Meals can be large snacks that do not require cooking!  Throughout the years, clients have hesitantly told me that they would eat cereal for dinner because they are too tired to cook.  I think those same clients expect me to say “how awful”, when I actually tell them this is not a problem.  A bowl of cereal along with skim milk or milk alternative and a nice serving of fruit is actually a nice low-calorie and low-fat meal providing protein and carbohydrates in reasonable quantities.  You can also just serve yourself a smoothie made with frozen fruit and throw in some yogurt or cottage cheese to bump up the protein content.
  • Track your food.  Better yet, track your diet with a good app like MyFitnessPal.  It will allow you instant analysis of what you are eating, and more importantly, makes you face the music.  ALL my clients that have been tracking their food with this app are eating better and losing weight if that was the objective.  This app is free.

Do you have other easy and practical tips to keep your diet healthy?

Keep Your Grilled Food Safe at the Plate

With Memorial Day around the corner, grills will be fired up.  Grilled foods are usually considered healthy because they are cooked without fat. For instance, a typical 4-ounce chicken breast cooked on the grill contains about 7 grams of fat, while a 4-ounce serving of fast-food fried chicken contains about 17 grams of fat.Corncobs and meat on grill

Although your waistline is better off with grilled cuisine, the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) points out that grilling might increase the risk of cancer. Cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are produced when meat (eg, fish, beef, and chicken) is cooked at the high temperatures used in grilling and broiling. Other cancer-causing compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are formed when meat fat drips onto hot coals. As food cooks on the grill, flames and smoke help deposit the PAHs onto the food.

What You Can Do to Be Safe

There are steps that you can take to lower your risk of these potentially cancer-causing chemicals:

  •  Trim the fat. To minimize the PAHs from forming, trim as much fat as you can from the meat.
  •  Marinate. Some studies suggest that marinating meat before grilling may reduce the formation of HCAs.
  •  Precook. Pop the meat in the microwave to partially cook it before grilling.
  •  Use smaller cuts of meat. Smaller cuts take less time to grill. You can also flip your food often, which can further shorten grilling time.
  •  Remove charred parts. After grilling, cut off any charred parts from the meat.
  •  Eat your fruits and veggies. Add variety to your meals by grilling fruits and veggies instead of meat. Vegetables do not produce HCAs.

Other Ways to Be a Safe Grillmaster

  •  Frequently wash your hands and surfaces. This can prevent cross-contamination of bacteria, like E. coli.
  • Use separate plates. Use one cutting board for raw meats and a clean one for other foods in order to reduce bacteria crossover. Be sure to use separate plates, utensils, and platters for raw and cooked foods. For instance, if the raw  steaks are carried out on a platter and tongs are used for placing them on the grill, you must use a new clean platter and tongs for taking the cooked steaks off the grill when they are done.
  •  Keep the temperatures appropriate. Meats should be refrigerated while marinating and up to the point of being cooked. When the grilling starts, be sure the internal temperature of meats is appropriate to kill bacteria . Use a meat thermometer to check proper internal temperatures. Leftovers should be refrigerated immediately and tossed if left out more than one hour in hot temperatures and 2 hours in cooler temperatures.

A little precaution goes a long way in keeping your grilled food safe at the plate, both on this holiday weekend and all grilling season.  Happy Memorial Day!

20 Foods to Fight Stroke and High Blood Pressure

We’ve all heard that reducing sodium intake can help lower blood pressure.  What consumers are less aware of is that dumping the salt in your diet may be only 50% of what you need to do to prevent high blood pressure and stroke risk. The rest of the story has to do with getting enough potassium in your diet. Potassium is found primarily in unprocessed whole foods.  When people eat lots of calories and abundant amounts ofhttp://www.dreamstime.com/-image21312271 unprocessed foods, it is not problematic getting the 4700 mg. recommended intake.  Slash your calories and eat a lot of junky processed food and it becomes much harder to reach your potassium recommendations. In order to slash sodium and boost potassium intake, consider eating more of these stroke and blood pressure fighting foods:

                                                        Potassium (mg)                       Sodium (mg)

One medium potato                                          926                                          17

One cup winter squash                                     896                                            2

One cup low sodium V-8 juice                          820                                        140

½ cup pitted dates                                            584                                            2

One cup low sodium tomato juice                     556                                          24

½ cup spinach                                                  510                                          25

½ cup sweet potato                                          398                                          68

½ cup kidney beans                                          370                                           1

One small banana                                             362                                           0

1/3 avocado                                                       356                                          2

½ cup prune juice                                              353                                          5

½ cup uncooked oatmeal                                  335                                           2

1.5 oz. box raisins                                             322                                           5

3 oz. cooked beef or chicken                            290                                          47

½ cup cooked broccoli                                      278                                          29

One cup raw sliced mangos                              257                                           3

¼ cup wheat germ                                             256                                           3

½ cup any melon                                               242                                          27

½ cup orange juice                                            240                                            1

½ cup apricot halves                                         233                                            1

Choosing more of these foods will both slash your sodium while boosting your potassium, to boost your chances of steering clear of stroke and high blood pressure!

 

Restaurant Dining: A Hit to Your Health and Wallet

Couple DiningMy spouse and I are health conscious because I am a dietitian and not a hypocrite, and his life depends upon it.  We regularly visit an area of southwest Michigan, and recently had breakfast at a local diner with great TripAdvisor reviews.  Unfortunately, we did not agree with the great reviews on TripAdvisor.  The menu was limited, but I will be the first to state that this is not necessarily a bad thing because the focus may end up being on quality, rather than an abundance of mediocre dishes.  The good news here was the staff was more than happy to substitute egg whites for whole eggs, but that is probably where the positive aspects of the meal ended.

Now the bad news:  the nice multi-grain bread was already buttered on the bottom of the toast (so did not realize it until it was eaten), the portions were huge (I know many people want large portions for the money being doled out), and I saw no fruit options on the menu.  Other bad news: the bill was $30.00 for what we could have made at home for probably a dollar at most, and made it a lot healthier in a short amount of time.  This is, in fact, the key issue with dining out on a regular basis.

When my clients dine out on a regular basis, this is what I tell them to expect:

More Fat.  If you make the same food at home, you can control the fat in the dish with very simple recipe tweaking.  Restaurants don’t typically care about the fat content in their meals because fat carries flavor and texture in food and of course, they want you to return for another meal! You can bank on eating more calories than you anticipated due to the higher fat content, and you can also assume that it will be more difficult to meet your weight loss goals.

More Calories.  And, let’s not forget the simple concept that larger portions, when eaten, yield more calories.  Unless you can exercise a lot of self-discipline while dining out, you will most likely eat your whole meal.  If you can consistently ask for healthy substitutions such as fruit for fries, you are on the right track.  Also, you need to get in the habit of bringing at least half of your meal home. And who doesn’t want that yummy appetizer, dessert, or cocktail while dining out?  It is probably safe to say that if you are eating at home vs. dining out, you probably are not having an appetizer, cocktail, and dessert with your main meal!

More Sodium.  If you are fortunate to find a nice restaurant meal low in fat and overall calories, the sodium is probably lurking.  I have yet to see a healthy restaurant meal that is low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, calories, and sodium.  If you think the sodium content does not matter because your blood pressure is fine, you need to think again.   High sodium intakes cause other health problems such as bone loss and are correlated with increased cancer risk.  And, if you hop on the scale the next day, you can credit that weight gain of several pounds to fluid retention from all that salt you ate.

More Money.  As my husband made a lower sodium chili on Sunday, he proudly pointed out to me that the entire pot of chili probably cost less than a few dollars.  Had a bowl of chili been purchased at a full service restaurant, it would have been at least $6.00 dollars.  He also used only half a packet of low sodium chili powder and added additional beans, and veggies creating a lower sodium, but healthier higher fiber dish.

So, while eating out is social and recreational for many, having the mentality that it should be a treat for special occasions rather than your regular diet, can keep you healthier, slim you down, and fatten your wallet.  In fact, it is a win-win way to eat.

Checking out online menus and nutrition information is key to healthier dining options.

Do you have any strategies for managing your calories, fat, and sodium while dining out?