As far as bread goes, this is probably one of the best products I've seen. It's not perfect as it has 165mg of sodium per slice (to be fair though that is on par with most major brands), but overall the nutritional values are excellent. A couple of mentionables: each slice contains 4.5g protein, 20% of your daily iron requirement and 3.5g fibre. That's a hefty amount of protein and fibre per two slice serving. Combine this with its great taste and it's hard to go wrong. The fact that there is no added fat is pretty much meaningless other than the calorie savings that go along with it. No added sugar is great as too much increases the risk of weight gain and heart disease.
As of now, I've only been able to find it at Costco in a three-loaf package, but according to their website, it is available at other retailers.
Note: storing bread in the fridge will result in it turning stale more quickly - store at room temperature, instead. You can also freeze bread for up to two months.
Nutritional Information (per 2 slice serving – 80g)
9 grams protein
7 grams fibre
Mark McGill, RD
I recently came across this product and it immediately caught my attention with the words “High Protein”. Including enough protein at meals and snacks is paramount to feeling satisfied. So I picked up a pack and had one for breakfast. They are tasty and filling, though I was disappointed to discover that they are made with “unbleached refined whole wheat flour”. What does that mean? It means that they are a highly processed grain choice. They also contain 300mg of sodium (20% of the 1500mg requirement for healthy adults) per pita. So despite the high protein content, this is not something that I would recommend eating frequently. Instead, consider it a treat to have every now and again as a way to change up your sandwich wrap.
(per 56g or 1 pita)
Mark McGill, RD
by Mark McGill, RD
The availability of locally-grown vegetables and especially fruits drops off in the winter months here in Ontario. While imports are available, the nutritional quality is sometimes less than ideal. That's why you should consider the use of frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen produce are often better than their fresh counterparts as they are picked at their peak nutrient status and then frozen which better preserves the vitamins and minerals.
Recently, a client enthusiastically told me how much he loves baby brussels sprouts (he is not particularily found of mature sprouts). Indeed, they are sweeter than 'adult' sprouts. Try adding them to your next meal as a great way to increase your fibre (6 grams/170g or 1 cup at only 80 calories).
Vegetable blends are another way to increase your consumption. While they're great on their own, at home we add them to soups, chili and casseroles but you can't go wrong so long as they are included in your next meal.
Nutrition (Baby Brussels Sprouts)
per 85g (½ cup) serving:
Nutrition (Vegetable Blend)
per 85g (½ cup) serving:
posted by Mark McGill, RD
[Full disclosure. Dr. Freedhoff was sent this book by the author]
Maybe it’s because you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, or are at increased risk of stroke or heart disease.
Perhaps you simply want to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Whatever the reason, the question I hear on a regular basis is: How do I lower my sodium intake? Throwing away the salt shaker is a great start, but given the incredible saltiness of most supermarket purchased packaged foods, it’s often not enough.
What’s the solution?
Registered Dietitian and author of Hold That Hidden Salt! Maureen Tilley understands this and has created a cookbook that provides "recipes for delicious alternatives to processed, salt-heavy supermarket favourites".
Canadians average 3400 mg of sodium per day with 75% coming from processed foods. The average adult needs only 1500 mg daily. So why is there so much sodium in our food supply? According to Maureen, it’s to generate profits for salt manufacturers and food companies who use it to cheaply preserve foods and improve their flavour. Food companies argue that without the amount of salt they’re using their products would be tasteless. They’ve even attempted to demonstrate this by providing product samples without salt to show how ‘poor’ they are without it. What they conveniently forget to mention is that if they were required to reduce the amount of sodium they would have to switch to more expensive substitutions which would negatively affect their bottom line, substitutes that they don’t add into the foods with the removed sodium.
If you’re trying to reduce your home’s sodium intake, I highly recommend picking up Maureen’s book. It is well organized, easy to read and if nothing else will get you cooking more foods from scratch – something we should all do more frequently if we want to live healthier lives (and save money!).
The book begins by explaining how to determine the amount of sodium in a food accompanied by a list of which foods are high in sodium. Some are more obvious than others – e.g. frozen meals are a main culprit whereas breads may not come to mind as quickly but are often quite laden with the stuff. Also discussed are daily sodium requirements by age, and easy to follow explanations of high blood pressure and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) dietary guidelines.
Recipes are divided into the following categories: Breakfast Foods and Breads, Snacks and Appetizers, Soups, Salads and Side Dishes, Condiments, Dressings, Sauces and Seasonings and finally, Main Dishes. In each section, Maureen presents a brief commentary on why a type of food (e.g. salsa, chip and veggie dips, meatballs) is high in sodium and an accompanying nutrition facts panel based on a specific example (e.g. Old El Paso Salsa, Ruffles Dip, President’s Choice Blue Menu Lean Italian Beef Meatballs). She then suggests alternative made-from-scratch versions that are lower in sodium. How much lower? The following examples are particularly eye-opening:
Knorr Frozen Shrimp, Asparagus and Penne (1300 mg per 340 g serving) vs. Maureen’s Garlic and Basil Shrimp Medley recipe (141 mg per serving).
Quaker Blueberry Muffin Mix (300 mg per 38 g serving) vs. Maureen’s Blueberry Bran Muffin recipe (87 mg per 54 g serving).
Quaker High Fibre Raisins & Spice Oatmeal (220 mg per 43 g serving) vs. Maureen’s High-Fibre Oatmeal recipe (37 mg per serving)
Heinz Ketchup (140 mg per tbsp) vs. Maureen’s Ketchup recipe (9 mg per tbsp(
I prepared two recipes: curry, lentil and sweet potato burgers (p. 117) and cinnamon garlic sweet potato and turnip fries (p. 74). Both recipes were easy to follow and took less than 45 min (prep and cooking time). The burgers were tasty, filling and high in fibre (7 grams per burger) while the curry paired well with the sweet potato. The fries were certainly different as using cinnamon and garlic together is not something I’ve tried before. I was pleasantly surprised by the combination, though I found the cinnamon over-powered the garlic as I was eating them. I only really noticed the garlic about thirty minutes later. I prepared them for my younger brother (who is a very picky eater) and my mother on two separate occasions. Both enjoyed them and stated that they would have them again. As for the sodium: We saved 378 mg per burger (compared to M&M Angus Beef Burgers) and 283 mg per serving for the fries (compared with McCain Superfries Xtracrispy Straight Cut Fries).
Some may argue that they need to add salt to food to make it taste good. The reality is food tastes good without salt – we’ve just become accustomed to food containing too much of it. It is possible to retrain your taste buds to like foods without added salt, to experience foods as they were meant to be enjoyed. As Maureen correctly points out: “After a couple of weeks of moderate daily amounts of salt, you’ll find that many of the items you used to find ‘normal and ‘tasty’ will seem excessively salty.”
In the end, I can confidently recommend this book to not only those looking to reduce their sodium intake but to anyone who wishes to live healthier by consuming less processed food and more home-cooked meals.
posted by Mark McGill, RD
Disclosure: Dr. Freedhoff was sent this book by the publisher.
A few weeks ago, Dr. Freedhoff gave me a copy of Rocco's latest book.
Here are my thoughts:
The central message of Rocco Dispirito's latest book, "Now Eat This! 100 Quick Calorie Cuts" is that in order to lose weight you need to reduce the calories you consume and that these reductions need not be several hundred calories at a time. Often it is easier to make small changes to your diet. How? Canadian, or turkey bacon in place of regular bacon saves you 52 calories. Ultra light beers, such as “MGD Light 64tm,” are as much as 85 calories less per 12 ounce bottle.
A quick and easy read, the book is divided into two main parts: calorie cuts at home, and on-the-go. Between them is a fast-track weight loss plan, and a more long term healthy eating plan, both with corresponding shopping lists. More on those, later.
Remember, if you cannot see yourself happily making any change indefinitely any weight lost consequent to that change will be temporary. For example, Rocco's suggestion of using a zero-calorie condiment brand is something I would never do. Why? I’ve tasted many of these products and to put it nicely, they’re awful! I also wouldn’t eat pumpkin pie without crust because pie isn’t pie without crust. What would I do? I would always measure the amount of oil I use, never skip breakfast, use applesauce instead of butter in a recipe, switch to lower fat cheeses, use Greek yogurt instead of full-fat sour cream on a baked potato. The important thing is to be consistent.
His on-the-go or eating out strategies? Most of the advice reflects what many may already know: choose broth-based soups instead of cream, avoid high-fat/high-calorie appetizers, ask for dressing on the side, share your entrée, don’t order regular soda, skip desserts. I did like his advice on using a salad dressing spritzer – assuming that you were comfortable packing your own dressing.....
Four ideas for calorie reductions caught my attention in particular.
The first suggests you ask the person making your food to re-tool the dish you’ve ordered to have no more than 500 calories. Do chefs have the ability to tailor recipes on the basis of calories?
The second: bring a brown bagged lunch from home instead of eating out. That’s right – a great way to cut calories when eating out is to not eat out.
Rocco also suggests that eating out following his rules is a safe thing to do. While it's certainly part of life, I wouldn't want readers to believe that Rocco's advice truly makes eating out a healthful choice. Cooking meals from scratch as often as possible and eating together are important healthy eating habits. While I understand that people are going to eat out, don’t assume it’s healthy and conducive to weight loss – it’s not. Restaurant calorie amounts are very high and the more you eat out the harder weight loss will be. A better idea: pick up some frozen dinners to have on nights when you’re not cooking, you’ll save calories and money.
The third: Pour hot sauce on foods. He cites a small study showing individuals who consumed capsaicin, the "hot" in hot sauce led to decreased consumption. Now if you like hot sauce, great, but even if you do, can you really pour it on everything?
The fourth: Eating grapefruit before a meal will result in fewer calories consumed. Of course it's not grapefruit that's magical, it's eating a large, non-energy dense food right before eating. But what if you don't like grapefruit? Why not school readers on the value of any pre-eaten, low-energy density choice?
Now as for those meal plans:
The two-week fast-track plan has women averaging 1200 calories per day and 1400 for men. Will you lose weight at these calorie levels? Absolutely. Are you going to feel satisfied or will you be hungry and fatigued? That depends. Some women may be satisfied at 1200 calories, but most will need more. I've not yet met a man satisfied with just 1400 calories per day.
The lifestyle plan, which is meant for long-term has women eating 1400 calories per day and men 1600. This will also result in weight loss for most but again, will you be satisfied? A better approach: Have the smallest number of calories per day that leave you happily satisfied, and don't worry about specific numbers or thresholds. Meal plans are great for giving you ideas and to act as a guide. But following them to the letter cannot be done forever. After all, what if you don’t want salmon and wild rice on day 9 for dinner? It's more practical to know how to build a balanced meal and count calories so you can make appropriate substitutions for your meals.
In the end, if you pick up a few new tips that you’re able to implement and see yourself sustaining then this book may be worth picking up, but unfortunately the book has too many shortcomings for me to offer it a ringing endorsement.