In the era of Click list, Instacart and Amazon delivery, I am still an old time shopper. The grocery store is a playground for food geeks like me. I like to pick out my own produce, see what’s new on the shelves, talk to the guy stocking veggies and taste samples when they’re out.
I recently provided a grocery tour for a lovely couple that had some health issues. She has Crohn’s and her husband suffered a stroke a few months ago. Their daughter-in-law bought them a tour for Christmas. What a great gift of health! I enjoyed asking them questions about how they shop and cook and what information would be most helpful. Below are some of the questions I answered for them:
What does the % Daily Value mean on a label? The % Daily Value (DV) refers to the % of nutrient in the food you are eating, compared to the amount you need for an entire day. All food labels are based on a 2000 calorie diet. If a nutrient contains 5% or less of a nutrient, it is LOW in that nutrient. If it contains 20% or more of a nutrient, it is HIGH in that nutrient. A food containing 3% of the DV for fat is low in fat. A food containing 20% of the DV for saturated fat is high in saturated fat.
How do I know a food is low fat? Low-fat foods contain 3 grams of fat or less for every 100 calories. For example, if a food has 300 calories, it should contain 9 total grams of fat or less. There are 9 calories for every gram of fat. A low-fat food contains 30% or less of calories from fat. When buying meat (beef, poultry), look for 90% lean or higher. Limit saturated and trans fat when possible. Saturated and trans fat are solid at room temperature. Low fat food: Calories: 200/serving, fat grams 6/serving. 6 x 9/200 = 54/200 = 27% fat.
What is considered a low sodium food?
A low sodium food will have 140 mg of sodium per serving or less. If a produce has 5% or less of the daily value (DV) of a nutrient, it is low in that nutrient. Anything above 20% of the DV on the food label is high sodium (most frozen meals, canned soup, sauce or beans, processed meats, etc). Individuals with hypertension, over 50 or African American are advised to consume no more than 1500 mg sodium per day,
How much fiber should I eat? Women need 25-30 grams/day and men ~38-40/day. How much should be in my breakfast (or snack) cereal? Look for 5 or more grams of fiber/serving of cereal and ideally < 5-7 grams of sugar/serving. You can blend cereals together to reduce sugar.
How much sugar should I have in my diet? Less is best! Your sugar ‘allowance’ should be no more than 10% of calories consumed. For a 2000 calorie diet, 10% is 200 calories or 50 grams of sugar/day (200/4 calories/gram = 50 grams). There is 1 tsp of sugar for every 4 grams of sugar.
How can I tell if a grain is a ‘whole’ grain’? Look for the word WHOLE in the ingredients. If it is made with refined or enriched flour, it is not whole. If the bread is white, but has a significant amount of fiber, it is likely enriched with non-whole fibers such as chicory root, cellulose, inulin or others. These types of fibers can produce more bacteria in your gut, which may lead to gas and bloating.
Should I buy organic? Organic fruits and vegetables may still have pesticides. Animals that are raised organically will not be exposed to added hormones or antibiotics and are often grass fed, VS grain fed. The produce below may be higher in pesticides, but still meets FDA standards for pesticide content. Eating more produce is more important than buying organic. Check out www.safefruitsandveggies for pesticide content
Apples Cherries Peaches Nectarines
Bell peppers Grapes (imported) Pears Spinach
Celery Lettuce Potatoes Strawberries
If you’re interested in a store tour with me or for a gift, contact me@ firstname.lastname@example.org
Holiday shopping and stress have already begun! While it’s easy to get caught up in the holiday hooplah, it’s important to take time for yourself. I was recently interviewed by the Family Success Consortium to provide some tips on self care this time of year. Read all their tips in the link below:
Now that are bellies have been filled with Thanksgiving favorites (and leftovers) and our trunks are full of Black Friday and Cyber Monday gifts, it’s time to think of those less fortunate. Giving Tuesday (AKA Give Back Tuesday) began in 2012. It was started as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation. I find it ironic that it’s dubbed “post Thanksgiving” since many shopping deals begin ON Thanksgiving. I prefer to celebrate the holiday with family and not shopping, but I digress.
There are many ways of giving back today. Some people may choose to donate to a charity that means something to them like the Alzheimer’s Association and Diabetes Association. If you can’t afford to donate to charities, there are multiple ways to support those in need. Here are just a few:
- Go through your closets and donate coats you no longer wear to Salvation Army, Goodwill or St. Vincent De Paul. You can find locations easily here: https://www.onewarmcoat.org/donatecoats/
- Find a drop box location for used clothing. http://www.clothingpickupatl.com/drop-box-locations.aspx
- Donate peanut butter, canned goods or toiletries to a local food pantry of the Free Store Food Bank. https://freestorefoodbank.org/
- Give away extra produce that you aren’t going to eat or will spoil to www.ampleharvest.org
- Find a mini People’s Pantry Cincy Pantry and fill it with feminine products that others can’t afford. facebook.com/peoplespantrycincy/
Whatever you decide to give back, donate with dignity. Just because someone cannot afford what you have does not mean they should receive items that are lesser than. A coat, dress or shoes with holes in them is not a desirable item to anyone. Expired or opened food is not safe to give away. Think of what you’d like to be provided if you were in need. Keep it simple. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Get ready for turkey, stuffing and pie! People traditionally see this as a time for family, friends and food, which is exactly what it’s for. If you’re worried about the big splurge, don’t be. In the grand scheme of things, it is one day. AND, you don’t have to stuff yourself just because seconds of pecan pie are offered. Here are a few tips for a more comfortable holiday:
- Do eat throughout the day before dinner. If you show up ravenous, you’re more likely to a. get drunk too fast on mulled cider or wine or b. overeat. Eat lighter fare before you show up such as veggies and hummus, fruit and yogurt or a bowl of steel cut oats w/chopped nuts.
- Drink plenty of water. Our urge to drink declines in colder months, so we’re more likely to be dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, crankiness and overeating. Aim for 16 oz. of water (about the size of a plastic bottle) with each meal and more if you’re exercising.
- Move it. Don’t view exercise as punishment or “work” in order to pig out. See it as taking time for yourself, improving your fitness, lifting your mood, building strength. Start a holiday tradition of a family walk or hike. Do some yoga. Exercise is not just for “burning calories”, though this certainly won’t hurt during the holidays.
- Be a food snob. I know exactly what store bought pumpkin pie tastes like, so I skip it. You can have nuts or cheese cubes as appetizers at any party you attend any other time of the year. Splurge on the foods you’ll really enjoy and pass on the rest.
- Don’t waste food. Turkey, ham and dessert freeze well. Cranberry jello mold? Not so much, but you can mix it into Greek yogurt for breakfast! Turn mashed potatoes into potato soup. Make sweet potato bread from leftover casserole.
- Give back. If you’ve got too many cans or boxes of things you won’t use, donate them to a local food pantry or People’s Pantry Cincy. Toiletries from your travel hotels also welcome! Locations can be found at facebook.com/peoplespantrycincy/
Have you ever heard someone say, “There’s no such thing as bad cake”? My husband would beg to differ. A perfectionist by nature, he must follow a recipe to a tee for fear of failure. Yesterday was a perfect example. He baked a two-layer cake for my birthday, but when he removed them from the oven, he quickly realized he’d forgotten baking soda. In a panic, he whipped up two more layers for my cake before our friends showed up to celebrate. How sweet is that? Doubly sweet!
We all make mistakes. We write down the wrong appointment. time. We miss answers to test questions. We forget ingredients. Perhaps we’re trying to follow a perfect eating plan and we “screw up” and have a cookie? Should that stop us from continuing to eat healthy again? I sure hope not.
When you find yourself in a self-depreciating mode of “mistakes”, try to have grace and forgive yourself. If you’ve upset someone close to you, would you stop spending time with them? If you made a mistake at your job, would you quit? Probably not.
Take the same approach to your eating habits. Rather than beating yourself up over a “forbidden” food eaten, remember that FOOD IS FOR EATING. It’s to be shared, enjoyed, savored. it’s not meant to leave you with feelings of guilt or shame. I’m not sure when we will eat the “cake failure” in the freezer, but it will serve as a reminder that no one and no diet is perfect. And that, is perfectly OK.