Tag Archives: calorie

The Calorie Count Behind Some of Our Favorite Restaurant Meals

When eating out and looking at that menu some items might be deceiving in how many calories they contain while other dishes we know are high calorie can be even worse than we think. The numbers represented here are averages, many restaurants can now provide nutrition information on their meals by request.

A Buffalo Chicken Salad and other large “dinner sized” salads may seem like a healthier option but by the time the toppings like cheese, dressing and high fat or deep fried meat get added into the equation these salads can be over 1,000 calories.

At breakfast a simple serving of French Toast and Bacon can add up to almost 1,900 calories!

Chicken Fajitas are another tricky one that may seem like a healthier option at first glance but the average serving of the dish can have around 1,300 calories.

Personal sized pizza, especially a deep-dish pizza, is something almost no one would categorize as health food, however, they can come in at over 2,000 calories which is about as much as an average adult needs in one day.

A Club Sandwich may seem like a better option but if you eat the whole thing you could be looking at as many as 1,400 some calories and if it comes with a large portion of fries you can add another 1,400 calories on top of that which would put most adults over their recommended amount of calories for the day in a single meal.


Healthy Thanksgiving Cooking: The Sides

The main side for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner is mashed potatoes. There are ways to reduce the calories in this side dish. I asked Jody Victor to tell us more about it.

Jody Victor: Instead of using butter and milk or cream to mash your potatoes, reserve some of the cooking water. The starchy water will actually make your mashed potatoes creamier than if you use plain water as a substitute for milk or cream. If you prefer to use milk, try evaporated skim milk, fat-free milk, or fat-free sour cream. To boost the flavor of your mashed potatoes, you can add turkey or chicken broth or stir in some garlic and herbs.

Sweet potatoes are another Thanksgiving side dish staple. Rather than using maple syrup or brown sugar to liven them up, try spices such as ginger and cinnamon when making mashed sweet potatoes. Try roasting or baking raw sweet potatoes instead of using canned sweet potatoes, which are packed in sugar or corn syrup.

Vegetable casseroles are also traditional side dishes at Thanksgiving. Look for low calorie substitutes for your casserole recipes. Substitute ricotta cheese for cream cheese. Light butter or margarine for butter. Plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream for sour cream. Evaporated skim milk or low-fat milk for whole milk. Broth based soups for cream based soups. Use fresh vegetables (or frozen) as much as possible instead of canned vegetables, which are high in sodium and low in nutrients.

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
(You can precook sweet potatoes in microwave to decrease roasting time.)
2 medium onions cut into 1 inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with olive oil cooking spray. Put potatoes and onions in baking dish and spray them lightly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven and stir mixture every 15 minutes or so. Spray them a little every time you stir. Bake 35/45 minutes (if precooked) to 60/80 minutes (if raw) until tender. For variations, you can add cayenne pepper for heat or cinnamon for sweet or chopped rosemary for savory tastes.

4 cups fresh green beans cut into 1 inch pieces
2 shallots or 8 green onions, sliced
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms (or any fresh mushroom), sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups + 2 tablespoons rice milk (or low-fat milk), divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
10 wonton wrappers
Bring water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Place green beans in boiling water and cook until just soft (about 10 minutes). Drain and set aside. Heat large saucepan on medium heat. Spritz with cooking spray. Sauté shallots/green onions until translucent and starting to brown. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are soft and slightly browned. Use more cooking spray if necessary. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add 2 cups of the milk to the pan and bring to a boil. While milk is heating up, combine cornstarch and the 2 tablespoons of milk in a small bowl. Add cornstarch mixture to boiling milk mixture. Whisk constantly until mixture is thickened. Reduce heat to simmer then remove from heat after 5 minutes. Cut wontons into thin strips. Spread strips evenly on a baking sheet. Season to taste, if desired. Bake for five minutes. Stir and bake until golden brown (another 2 to 3 minutes). Set aside to cool. Add green beans to milk mixture. Stir to coat evenly. Pour coated beans mixture into a greased casserole dish. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until beans are hot and bubbly. Remove from oven. Top with toasted wontons.

Thanks Jody

All the Best
Steve Victor

Making the Most of Your Metabolism

Metabolism is the rate at which you burn fat and the calories you consume. When you’re young and active the calories burn away easily. I asked Jody Victor® to tell us what happens after that.

Jody Victor®: Well Steve, starting around the age of 25 your metabolism starts to slow down and your body begins to burn fewer calories. The typical American will lose between 20 and 40 percent of their metabolic power over the course of his/her adult life. Starting around the age of 40 your body requires fewer calories due partly to a slower lifestyle. To complicate matters you also experience an increasing amount of muscle loss due to the natural aging process. Genetics, physical inactivity, certain medications, and hormonal changes (especially menopause in women) also add to the slowing of your metabolism.

“A vastly slowed down metabolism isn’t inevitable”, says Dr. John Berardi, president of Precision Nutrition. If you maintain your physical activity levels as you age you will see only a 0.3 percent metabolic decline per decade, a 1 to 2 percent total drop over your lifetime. There are a number of ways you can make the most of your metabolism and fight nature’s aging processes.

DIET Maintain a healthy diet. As you reduce your calorie intake to avoid weight gain, make up the difference by eating more nutritious foods. Cut back on empty calories and choose nutrient-dense foods. Eat breakfast. Starting your day with a healthy meal gets your metabolism out of its resting state and into burning mode. When you skip breakfast it forces your body to endure a longer period of fasting, which leaves you excessively hungry and tempts you to overeat at your next meal. Keep your metabolism on a consistent slow burn by eating smaller more frequent meals. Instead of two or three large meals per day, eat 4 to 6 small meals every three to four hours. Here are some foods that will help boost your metabolism:

  1. LEAN MEATS and POULTRY Your body burns more calories when digesting proteins as opposed to carbs and fats.
  2. LOW-FAT/NO-FAT DAIRY Vitamin D found in fortified milk is essential for preserving metabolism-revving muscle tissue.  According to study results, people on a reduced-calorie diet who included 3 to 4 servings of dairy foods lost significantly more weight than people who ate a low-dairy diet containing the same amount of calories. Low-fat yogurt is the best source of weight-loss-friendly dairy products. Yogurt contains calcium, protein, and a lot of other healthy nutrients.
  3. SOUP According to a study at Penn State University, soup is a great appetite suppressant because it consists of a hunger-satisfying combination of liquids and solids.
  4. GRAPEFRUIT One study found that the unique chemical properties of grapefruit reduce insulin levels, which promotes weight loss and boosts metabolism. Grapefruit is packed with Vitamin C as a bonus. Vitamin C boosts calcium absorption. Calcium boosts your metabolism.
  5. APPLES and PEARS These fruits are great low-calorie, high fiber snacks that satisfy your sugar cravings. Their healthy nutrients also keep you feeling full longer.
  6. BROCCOLI Study after study has linked calcium with weight loss. Broccoli is loaded with calcium and Vitamin C. It contains lots of Vitamin A, folate, and fiber. At just 20 calories per cup, broccoli not only fights fat but also contains powerful phytochemicals that boost your immunity and protect you from disease.
  7. OATMEAL Oatmeal ranks high on the good carb and high fiber lists. Oatmeal keeps you full and is the best choice for starting your day. Choose steel-cut or rolled oats, not instant, to get your full dose of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  8. HOT PEPPERS The chemical capsaicin found in hot peppers temporarily stimulates your body to release more stress hormones, which speeds up your metabolism and helps you burn more calories.
  9. WATERMELON Watermelon is loaded with the amino acid arginine. Arginine has been shown to enhance the oxidation of fat and glucose. Other arginine sources include seafood, nuts, and seeds.

DRINK – Every chemical reaction in your body, including your metabolism, depends on water. Staying hydrated helps keep you from mistaking thirst for hunger. When you are dehydrated, you burn up to 2 percent fewer calories. In one study, people who drank 8 to 12 glasses of water a day had higher metabolic rates than the people who had four glasses a day. In another study researchers found that people increased their metabolic rates by thirty percent after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water. Drinking green tea also boosts your metabolism and helps you lose weight while providing you with great antioxidants and plant-based nutrients. Always drink your tea unsweetened to avoid the empty calories.

EXERCISE – As your body ages and begins to experience slower metabolism rates it’s essential that you maintain a high activity level. In order to maintain a healthy weight you not only need to eat less you need to exercise more. Age-appropriate aerobic exercise and resistance training is recommended. Weight training is a great way to keep your metabolic furnace burning.

SLEEP – A necessary end to your day of eating less and exercising more to keep up your metabolism is to get a good night’s sleep. Many Americans are sleep-deprived. Studies show that lack of sleep leads to unhealthy eating habits.

 All the Best!

Steve Victor