Updated Nutritional Labels

This article from Hungry Girl regarding updates to nutritional labels just came my way, and I actually saw the revamped format yesterday on hummus…with a much larger-than-normal, bold-faced font for the caloric numbers.

fda.gov image

I don’t count my calories, let me be clear – for me, that’s a surefire way to get into trouble.  Having had eating disorders once, I have the propensity to micromanage to the hilt when it comes to food.  Nowadays I take the much healthier approach of NOT counting or keeping track.  I DO, however, take note of the nutritional statistics – eating highly caloric foods, even healthy ones (think: avacado, nuts, salmon etc…) can add up on me quickly. So I appreciated being able to see the numbers more clearly without having to search.  

fda.gov image

The other cool thing about the change is that the serving sizes are being updated to a “more realistic” amount, AND the FULL amount (what’s in the package or container) will be listed. Portions can make a massive difference!

fda.gov image

The other major change will be that the added sugar will be more clear – sugar is bad news, period, and too much can cause a whole host of health problems you definitely don’t want. Yay for being able to seeing those details more vividly – the more educated we all can be, the more healthy also!

Portion Control 101, by Mackenzie Arrington For Jiu-Jitsu Magazine

This article about portions – Portion Control 101 – came my way recently via Jiu-Jitsu Magazine.  

Jiujitsu Magazine

Jiu-jitsu Magazine

If you google “portion control” you will be bombarded with enough articles and charts to sink a ship – but amidst the plethora, they generally share similar advice. Phew.

(As a note, you might also be bombarded with innumerable photos of Professor Snape – The seemingly insignificant “r” in portions makes potions so close in the eyes of Google that you may as well be in the Harry Potter fan club.  Nutrition, magic.  Eating, dragons… I dunno…)
Learningzone Express

Learningzone Express

Portions are a tricky thing for me – I can definitely eat a lot more than I do, and have to make a concerted effort NOT to go overboard.  As a kid, my level of activity was so high that I needed to eat more than I did.  Nowadays maintenance requires mindfulness, and a good deal less where volume is concerned.  When I falter, I see the difference fast.

Everyone is different so each person will have his or her own needs and requirements when it comes to how much they need to take in on a daily basis. No need – EVER – to compare.

One of my personal problems is being bored or – just-because-for-no-good-reason – feeling like I need to chomp on something (even when my stomach is fine!) I can’t say chewing gum is the best habit either but…better that (in my case) than eating more calories than I need.  

Anyway. . .the article talks about using one’s own hand as a guide – it’s a useful tool, and one you never leave home without. Jiu-Jitsu practitioners are notorious for monitoring their diets – the Gracie family, for one is HUGE on nutrition.  In fact, they have their own diet and they unapologetically recommend their students abide by it.  

At the end of the day what works best for you to reach your goals may well be different than someone else, or that new and special “diet” (fad, doctor-recommended, whatever!)  That’s OKAY! 

What can help all of us is portions – minding the amount of food we take can be a massive help in obtaining results, regardless of what macronutrients our body needs, or in what quantity.  

I know I need to allow myself to feel full sometimes, for example.  Taking a drink of water and waiting a few minutes helps deter me when I feel extra ravenous.  If I’m still starving in a half hour, maybe I do need a little more protein – but better than having far too much in a sitting without really needing it. 

 

Dinner With The Boys

My Jungle Cats never fit the “can-I’have-that-piece-of-fish” feline stereotype (so much so that I pondered if the whole thing was a made up gross generalization.)  I have to say it made dining at home a lot easier.  Unless of course I was eating meat.

These days I feel like I’m always ready to pull the water bottle trigger, lest one of the boys abscond with my dinner (I’m looking at you, Musashi!) 

img_0266

But. . . 

img_0391

I’d not change it for the world.  

img_0389

My boys and my hubby (and a few shrimp so I don’t get hangry!) are all I need.

img_0390

I’ll take having to guard my food as par for the “love-my-boys” course. 

Six Pack Bags Sauces

I’m always looking for lower calorie condiment options (keeping in mind that I actually want to USE it, not just put a quarter teaspoon on my food!) 

I am not, let me say upfront, associated with Six Pack Bags, so no one put me up to sharing… But I did see their sauce profiles recently and though they sounded pretty snappy.  

I have a super sensitive system so even if I wanted to go crazy and try something different, I can’t really.  So I appreciate knowing what ingredients are being used, but also that there are options to spice up otherwise boring food.

The Mango Serrano sounds up my alley – sweet and spicy – and I bet it would work well on whatever protein you choose, frankly.

One of the best things about these is that they are very low calorie (zero calorie doesn’t mean there aren’t any – magically – in the bottle, by the way.  There ARE, but they are under 4 or 5 calories a serving, so using these mindfully certainly isn’t going to sabotage your diet.  With hot sauce, a little goes a long way also.)

These sauces are also gluten free, low in sodium, and free of MSG. I try to avoid sauces when I’m out because I never really know what’s going into them.  I also like that I can taste my food, as opposed to a heavy sauce.  BUT, I like flavor as much as anyone and love that there are some options with not a lot of “stuff” on the label, and a lower calorie profile (which means I can worry less about the sauce and more about the quantity and substance of my meal.) The idea shouldn’t be that we can’t enjoy our food, or that we can only have a little of it, right!?

 

The Brilliance Of Riced Veggies

The riced veggie trend is one of my favorite things to have happened to grocery stores yet.  Sure, I appreciate the sugar-free products, absolutely.  And I LOVE that there are “natural food” aisles with non-monster brands (once nigh impossible to find.)  But while riced veggies are a cinch to make yourself – if you have a food processor at home – there’s a massive convenience in being able to snag a pre-made bag at the store.  And when a trend hits, that’s what you get – convenience!

I don’t use riced vegetables as the base for my meals all the time – sometimes the larger pieces are a good thing because it feels like you are eating more.  More bulk = feels like more substance.  

BUT…

Riced cauliflower, for one, is a fabulous substitute for rice, pasta, or even mashed potatoes – you get the volume, and a similar texture, without as many calories or carbohydrates.  So it’s a perfect swap for a dinner side (“healthy” fried “rice,” anyone?!) or base, as an example, and can even work for a base for doughs and baked items. 

 

What recently came my way was an announcement about Green Giant’s Riced Veggies – not just the cauliflower, but mixes.  What on EARTH has taken companies so long?!  

The glitch for me is that I have never actually seen Green Giant’s Riced Cauliflower in-store – I’ve had to buy other brands.  So I don’t know if I will have the best luck tracking these down, and desperately hope other companies follow suit (they’d be wise to!) Or…of course…that someone near me jumps on board and ups the stock levels!

The doubly-awesome news? GG is also offering a whole bunch of other mashed and roasted options so definitely check them out (store location link highlighted in the paragraph above.)

YUM!