Friday, March 16, 2012

Real/ Clean food eating doesn't always mean healthy

I cook for 4 very uniquely different people in my family.  Each of them have their own needs in regards to nutrition.   I must cook to meet the following criteria/ conditions:  low fat, weight loss , pre-diabetic, hypoglycemic,  elevated A1C levels - could be genetic or medicine induced, watching weight - one medicine can cause significant weight gain, ADHD and Autism.  I am determined to help meet each of their needs while only cooking one meal.  This process began with reducing/ eliminating processed foods from our diet.

What I am learning in searching for recipes is that eating clean/ real foods does not mean eating heart healthy and many websites do not have portion sizes or nutritional information.  One thing I always do is to put the recipe in my Weight Watchers recipe builder.  I cannot possibly know how many calories/ points something has until I calculate it.  Most of the time I have calculated before I even buy ingredients.  Sometimes, if I know it will be OK -points wise - I will go ahead and make it, so that I can determine number of portions or portion sizes.  Calculating points of all recipes is so helpful in portion control and as a result - my weight loss.  My personal opinion is that one the reasons we have such an obesity problem in the United States - we do not know true portion sizes.   I think the second would be fat and chemicals and who knows what else is in our processed foods. 

I also found that some of the recipes for clean/real food eating were foods are high in calories and use butter a lot.  While I agree that butter is much better than margarine, it can raise the fat content/ calories of whatever you are cooking.  In most of the recipes on my blog, I am either reducing the quantity of butter/ oil used or using an alternative such as applesauce, fat free yogurt or fat free sour cream.  The secret - don't be afraid to try.  I mostly use applesauce.  I found the following information helpful in substituting with applesauce.

Substituting applesaucefor butter or oil:
So start easy. For a recipe that uses one cup of oil, use ½ cup of oil with ½ cup applesauce. If the finished product makes you happy, slightly increase the ratio of applesauce (2/3 applesauce: 1/3 oil; ¾ applesauce: ¼ oil) the next time to see how it affects the cake or muffin recipe. You may be able to do without oil completely, or you might find that as little as 1 or 2 tbsp. of oil added to the applesauce is ideal.

I guess what I am really saying, use common sense and balance in looking at all recipes.  If it calls for a cup of butter - it is probably not very healthy - but you can probably substitute something to make it healthier.  If it is full of chemicals and very processed - it is probably not very healthy.  If nutritional information is not available, calculate it so you will know how it will fit in your healthy eating plan. 

Balance is the key - even homemade healthy options can be unhealthy when eaten in excess. 

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