Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Health-Wise Wednesdays

Topic: Recipes

Well, I'm on the losing track again. I weighed in at 133.8 lbs. this morning. I think the problem is I'm not eating my meals as I should because I'm running around so much. I've missed some morning and even afternoon snacks because I'm here, there and everywhere. Unfortunately that isn't changing yet: I've got to run to Costco this morning to get my tires rotated. I tell ya, I should be allowed to put my car down as a dependent on my income tax form. It requires as much care as any of my kids!


Nothing beats a home cooked meal. Fast food may be convenient, but let's be honest, it's not tasty. The food is loaded with salt and MSG which is why people go back for more, but I've found that if I stop eating it for awhile, when I try it again it tastes awful. The benefit of a home cooked meal is that it's prepared to our individual liking. I can make it spicier, smokier, crunchier, however I want. I can add more or less salt, or pepper, or sugar, according to what my body needs and what my family prefers. There's just one question: is it really healthier?

I can say that yes, my home cooked food is definitely healthier than anything McD's or BK can dish out. But healthier doesn't necessarily mean healthy. Just because it's better doesn't mean it's good. So how to figure out if the food I'm eating is in fact as nutritious as I think it is? MyFitnessPal.com has become the answer.

MyFitnessPal.com is a website similar to WeightWatchers except for the fact that it's absolutely free. You can go and find all kinds of foods and their nutritional facts, so that at a glance you can see calories, fat, sodium, vitamins, etc for any food. Recently they added a great option: my recipes. Here you can create a recipe box with your favorite recipes, and as the ingredients are added the program figures out the nutritional value of each item, the nutritional value for the entire recipe, and even for individual portions. It's a fantastic tool if you're trying to eat a more balanced and healthy diet because you can see the numbers and adjust your recipe accordingly, something that can't be done when eating out.

I was surprised to see how much lower in fat and calories my meals are than what is served in most restaurants (yay!), but also how much more sodium we were eating than I originally believed (boo!!). Not a problem, though. Since I can see what each item's nutritional value is, I can make changes to my recipes, like switching over to no salt added veggies or substituting other spices (like salt-free Mrs. Dash) for salt. The result: My meals are better than they were before, though my family doesn't notice the difference. Flavor-wise the change is minimal if at all; health-wise, it's better for all of us.

If you haven't tried it, go ahead and pull out a favorite recipe, then look up the nutritional value for each item. Like me, you may be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised, but that's all part of learning to eat wisely.

1 comment:

Kristi Lea said...

What a cool thing! It's wonderful that so many people are jumping on the heath wagon, because it causes more companies and organizations to come up with tools to help in the process! Lately, I've only been cooking from recipes that have the nutrition facts spelled out, but I may check it out anyhow...it sounds so neat!