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Questions and comments

January 31, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
Rather than replying to comments each day, I thought it might be easier to do it all at once. So here are a few things that people have been commenting on the past week.

Sarahracha writes: We like to eat at the cheesecake factory. Last time our waiter joked that it was mandatory for us to eat everything on our plates. I guess he realizes their portions are way too big. I ordered an appetizer and skipped the entrees. We shared everything and with two people out of the six of us not ordering an entree we still had our fill with enough to bring home for lunch the next day. We ordered one slice of cheesecake for the six of us to share.

Answer: That’s a good idea. My husband and I often order appetizers for our meals instead of a large entrée. But sometimes it is difficult to find healthier options on the appetizer menu. Most restaurant appetizers consist of deep fried chicken tenders or wings, baked potato skins loaded with cheese and bacon, and even vegetable choices, such as artichoke and spinach dip are packed with cheese and oils. Although I don’t have a problem with splurging on some of these favorites from time to time, if you eat out a lot, be careful of those high fat, high calorie appetizers. Sharing dessert is a great way of getting a taste of something decadent without going overboard and allowing a treat now and then will keep you from feeling deprived.

Lindsay75 writes: I agree, size does matter. I like to see all of the empty space on my plate because then I know that my portions are smaller. But my mother-in-law likes to use a smaller plate so she can still fill her plate, but have smaller portions. We have made it a habit to ask for a to-go box when we order our food at restaurants. A lot of higher class restaurants will place half of your portion in the to go box and keep it in a warmer for you while you eat. It's a great service and all you have to do is ask.

Answer: It’s great that you and your mother-in-law are devising ways to keep your portion sizes under control. My concern is that while your mother-in-law may be trying to fool herself into thinking she is getting more, she isn’t really helping to change her mindset when it comes to smaller portions. By allowing herself to think she is eating a lot, she could still have a distorted view of what a proper portion size is, even though she uses a to-go box at restaurants. I would suggest that she measure her portions at home for a few days. She can still use the smaller plates, but she will get an accurate idea of what a serving really looks like. She may find that she’s not eating enough of certain things, while she’s over-eating others.

AnitaH writes: I have "heard" that fertilized eggs are lower in cholesterol. Do you know if that is true?

Answer: I’m afraid not only is it not true, but tests have shown that fertilized eggs are actually higher in cholesterol, but the difference is so minute it is barely worth mentioning. The yolk of one egg can have as much as five grams of fat.

BekyDavis writes: I've spent some time on the site and find it to be very helpful.

Answer: The site has a lot of information. It is not a diet, but simply what we should be eating to maintain a healthy weight and still get enough nutrients. The Web site provides plans for all age groups and persons with specific dietary needs. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any weight loss or exercise program; however, to ensure your dietary needs are being met correctly.

martie0813 writes: This is the hardest thing for me to do, diet with my husband. He says he wants to, but then when I start cooking meals, after about a week he's driving me crazy for "real food". Eventually I give in and cook "real food".

Answer: I’m not sure what your husband considers real food, but the MyPyramid program can be adapted to just about any lifestyle. For example, if your husband wants fried chicken, simply calculate the extra oil in your daily allowance and use only skinless chicken breasts. You may try oven-baking your chicken instead of deep-frying. When making mashed potatoes, use fat free milk and lesser amounts of butter. If you must pan fry, be sure to use a healthy oil, such as canola. If your husband still resists, you can enjoy the same entrée you make for him, but cut back on your serving size and add extra vegetables. The MyPyramid program allows us to eat just about anything we want, as long as we keep in mind serving sizes and the number of servings we have each day.

Sarahracha writes: Hi, I was wondering, do you go by the weight of grains to figure out serving size or do you go by suggested serving size on the labels?

Answer: It depends. I am allowed 6 ounces of grains per day. According to the Web site, one slice of bread is considered one ounce, so I don’t actually weigh my bread. If I eat a particularly large roll or over-sized bread, I will calculate an extra ounce to my daily allowance. I do weigh my cereal; however, but after seeing it in my bowl, I am able to eyeball my portions. I revisit the scale every so often to make sure my idea of my serving sizes isn’t getting distorted.

My plan on Wednesday was to eat a Kashi granola bar before I left for the gym, but I rushed out the door so quickly that I didn’t think about it until I was leaving. I tossed the bar in my purse, thinking I would eat it in my car, but forgot to do that too. As a result, I didn’t get fueled before my workout, but I didn't suffer any ill effects. After the gym, I didn’t have time to get to my office for breakfast because I had some work-errands to run. As a result, it was nearly 11 a.m. before I finally settled down and was able to get something to eat. You can imagine that I was pretty hungry by then and I wasn’t going to wait until lunch. I also ran out of instant oatmeal at my office and forgot to bring another box, so I quickly stopped at the grocery store and picked up an Amy’s Breakfast Burrito. I chose this product based on the label that read, 7 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber and 4 grams of sugar. I also had a small banana.

As a result of my late breakfast, I wasn’t hungry again until mid-afternoon. I knew dinner wouldn’t be extremely late, so I opted for a small serving of low-sodium chicken and rotini soup with some cheddar crackers and artichoke spread. I also added an apple when I realized I;ve been lax on getting enough fruit in each day.

Neither of us felt like cooking, so my husband and I decided to go out to a local restaurant for dinner. I chose the broiled grouper in butter and wine sauce and asked that the butter be left off. My sides were a tossed salad from the salad bar that included a combination of iceberg and romaine lettuce, peas, carrots, red cabbage, grape tomatoes and about a teaspoon of sunflower seeds with low-fat dressing. I passed on items such as hard-cooked egg and shredded cheese. I also had a dish of steamed, mixed vegetables and a diet cola and a half slice of plain Italian bread (not pictured). I took about half of my dinner home.


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Breakfast: 1 ounce grains; 3 ounces meat and beans; ½ cup vegetables; 2 teaspoons oils; 3/4 cup fruit; 70 discretionary calories