It’s time for Tuesday’s Tidbits everyone! I’ll try to hold back my excitement mostly because I’ve had good intentions of reporting back to you guys on lots of good stuff but this and that has gotten in the way. Anyway… I held a cooking class last month for my mom’s coworkers and they were such an engaged bunch. Their excitement and curiosity for all things nutrition was really great – I mean, it’s easy to teach people who are teachable, right? One of the questions that came up was about the veggie chips that are out on the market and whether or not they are a good choice. So, I’ve been thinking about it for a bit but I thought it’d be fun to put together a little list (meaning not comprehensive 😉 ) of foods that somehow get a fake health halo surrounding them and better options.
- Veggie Chips – these crispy crunchies are not any different than potato chips when it comes down to the nutrition. Still fried. Still Salty. Plus, there’s usually a price mark up because they are considered more “gourmet.” However, I will say that they don’t usually come with all the flavor additives/chemical shit storm that some of the flavored potato chips can have. So, if you want to try them, go for it, but it you’re craving chips and hoping these guys will knick the craving it’s unlikely and just honor your body if it is truly craving something. Learn to listen to what the body is saying!
- Yogurt – Although yogurt isn’t my jam, I love perusing the aisle because I’m constantly amazed by all the new flavors that pop up. New flavors with ‘superfoods’ like pomegranate is really just a smidge of the fruit and sugar. So generally, you’re better off to go with the plain (even vanilla can have a bunch of sugar) and add your own sweetner/fruit. And I know you might know this, but just to put it into perspective, a 1” fudge brownie has 15g sugar while ½ cup vanilla yogurt has 17g! This strawberry yogurt has 26g! That’s more than a twinkie and awfully close to the recommendation of <38g added sugar for men and OVER for women! (<25g for women), Again, not saying you need to swear off yogurt, but be mindful about how much sugar it has and opt for the plain more often.
- Juice – This one ALWAYS gets me. Juice will never provide the nutritional equivalent as fruit. Yet, for some reason people think if they aren’t eating fruits, they should be drinking juice to get the vitamins they need. False – it’s just not worth the amount of sugar in these guys. It’s like drinking liquid candy, really and truly. The calories don’t compute the same either. You may consume 1 cup of apple juice but it’s naturally going to enter your bloodstream faster because it doesn’t have the fiber/mechanical chewing of an apple, but it’s not going to fill you up.
- Dressings – I know the shelf dressings are easy and convenient, but often times they are loaded with chemical binders, salt, and preservatives and tend to be more expensive than ones you can prepare at home. Even all the ones out there now made with avocados and greek yogurt – they aren’t much different. If you’re in a bind, opt for oil/vinegar based ones but even better to make your own and store it in the fridge. The basic vinegar dressing recipe is 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. I usually only do 2 parts oil, but it depends on your preference. Sprinkle in a dash of salt, pepper or get creative with Italian seasonings, etc.
- Gluten Free – Obviously these foods serve a very specific need, and are crucial for those people who truly need it. The availability of gluten free products is a god send for those individuals. However, on the other end of the spectrum, if you do not need to be eating gluten free but find yourself buying specifically marketed items, take a closer peek. Some foods are naturally gluten free (corn based tortillas/chips) and it can be a marketing technique that offers no difference (but may get you spending a bit more). Other products (think various flour blends, cakes, cookies, etc) have a higher mark up and often have less nutrition than naturally gluten free grains like quinoa. I find a lot of gluten free products have little fiber… eating adequate fiber while consuming mostly gluten free foods can be a challenge for some people. If you prefer the taste of some of these foods, know that it likely doesn’t offer you more nutrition, just a different culinary experience. For example I love the Tinkyada brown rice pasta because it’s firmer/more al dente and will sometimes choose this as a way to change things up only because I like it. 🙂
Welp, there you have it. The 5 foods that came to my mind after talking about it with the cooking class. Keep in mind, these are just thoughts but food and eating should come from a “all foods fit” sort of mentality, just being mindful about choosing foods that nourish our bodies more often. Healthy eating is not restrictive. Healthy eating is mindful eating.
Hugs and Love,