New Nutrition Labels Go BOLD

We've had nutrition labels for quite some time. So. What's the big deal about the FDA's newly proposed labels? It's all about change.

Our current nutrition labels leave the typical consumer confused. Manufacturers have been messing with us. They've twisted serving sizes to fit their own needs. Small bottles of soda list 2 ½ servings per container. One packaged muffin, 3 servings. Huh? Who shares? With smaller serving sizes, the manufacturer is able to declare lower calories, grams of trans fat, sodium....or whatever is deemed "evil." Lower in "bad things" should mean better sales. Only dedicated label readers with good eyesight can see what's really going on.

The new FDA system requires that the calories per serving be clearly displayed in bold font, thus discouraging caloric denial. Not that any one of us could be guilty of that. And, serving sizes will be updated to be closer to what people actually eat instead of what they should consume. One muffin instead of ⅓ of it.

A package that could be eaten in one sitting will be asked  to list nutritional info per serving and per package. But... Emotional overeaters and binge eaters may need the nutritional info on all size bags. I mean, really. Who's to say what size package could be eaten in one sitting?

And finally, added sugars and naturally occurring sugars will be clearly distinguished on labels. Definitely a positive change to help us lower our intake of processed foods with added sugars. I'm all for this one.

But the big question: will the new labels work? The big, bold calories will definitely be noticed and heeded by many, much as the calories on restaurant menus have. As for the rest of the changes, it's all about education. We are what we eat, so we'd better start examining those nutrition labels to see what indeed we are really made of!

Why Smoothies?

If you have a blender, you can make a smoothie. They're quick. They're easy. But why should you bother with the blender? Why not just eat all the ingredients before they get pureed into liquid? Home-Made Healthy Smoothies are a great way to

  • Increase fruit and veggie intake with very little effort.
  • Fill you up and keep you satisfied by offering plenty of volume.
  • Easy to take with you when there's little time for breakfast.
  • Keep added sugar intake low when you're craving something cold, creamy, and sweet.
  • Have fun!

Meggie's Green Smoothie:

  • Hand-full or two of fresh washed spinach
  • 6 oz container of pineapple Greek yogurt
  • 6 oz orange juice
  • ½ cup frozen mango

Blend until smooth & enjoy!



Searching for a Better Pasta Sauce

45 calories per ½ cup You say pasta sauce. I say Marinara sauce. No doubt we could create a healthier version from scratch with canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, and fresh herbs. Great to do when you have the time.  Yet, sometimes, there's nothing like the ease of grabbing a jar of the Italian red sauce to make a quick, easy meal.

Be sure to take extra care to read before you grab your next jar! Some can be loaded with as many as 90-100 calories in a ½ cup serving, to say nothing of all the added sodium and sugars.

My goal is to find sauces that are under 50 calories per half cup, with no added sugars, and under 400 mg of sodium. If you've ever spent time examining all those pasta sauce labels, you know how overwhelming it can be. I found  Classico Tomato & Basil awhile ago, and it's a great tasting pasta sauce that fits the bill, with only 45 calories! Woo-hoo!

Plastering With Cookies

Monday, January 6, 2014

OK. It's true. I'm not perfect. I thought I'd better share that, just in case you had any thoughts otherwise.

I mean, really. Twenty years ago, I used to weigh 50 pounds more than I do now. I used to be a huge emotional eater with occasional binges thrown in. I now know that these issues have no cure. They can be controlled, but never eliminated. Kind of like alcoholism or diabetes, I suppose.
I had a great time with the kids home the last couple of weeks. Even with ICE STORM 2013, no power for 4 days and 2 weeks of no internet, TV or phone. But, as they left, I found myself mindlessly wandering into the kitchen, looking for something to sweet to nibble on. That tray of raw veggies wasn't doing doing the trick. I even baked a pan of brownies, just 'cause.
It took a few hours to get a grip. I was reacting emotionally to kids leaving, and I was tired. (Tired never helps me deal with my emotions well.) In a mindless nanosecond (or a tad longer) I'd reverted back to my old habits: looking to sooth my raw emotions with sugary treats.
The good side of all this, I got a handle on it. I sat with my emotions for awhile. I let myself feel a little sad. I hoped it wouldn't be another 5 years until the kids all got together again. But, I was also so happy everyone had a great time. It had been a good time.
It's amazing how well it works to dig deep and locate the emotion, and allow yourself to feel it, instead of plastering it with cookies. It's one big key to getting excess weight off and keeping it off for emotional eaters!

Our Evening Adventure Dining Out

Amy's incredibly healthy dinner!

A restaurant built around healthy food? Can it possibly survive in the land of super-sizing, deep fat fried Twinkies & turkeys and all-you-can-eat buffets? 

Our evening group was excited to check out the The Leaf Salad Bar in East Lansing last week. As we slowly gathered after work (crazy 5:30 evening traffic!!) we watched a guy choose ingredients that made his smoothie an interesting shade of brown.

Betty having FUN!
Pat's excited for salad time!

Before hitting the food, we mindfully assessed our hunger, aiming to control the food intake. Our strategy for the buffet? Tour the entire line, inspect our options and make choices depending on what looked good and what we didn't always get at home. Perfect.

I was amazed by all the incredibly fresh veggies, nuts, shrimp, and lots of other unique things on the buffet. And, not one wilted leaf or one spotty tomato to be seen. So many deep, rich colors...enough to make a rainbow. I sure hope this place makes it across the street from McDonald's...