By Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom
In my book, there are no bad foods, just bad portions. You’re not a nutritional slacker if you enjoy flavorful, high-fat foods or other favorites. You can learn some strategies to include them in a healthy diet – and avoid deprivation.
Check out some of my favorites and smart ways to incorporate them into your eating routine.
Cheese: While loaded with saturated fat and calories, cheese is hugely flavorful and a little goes a long way. Think of cheese as a condiment, and you’re off to a good start. Grate a tablespoon or two of a hard cheese like parmesan or sharp cheddar to top salads, pasta, or veggies; or try some packaged shredded versions. And consider reduced-fat versions for loads of flavor with less fat.
Pasta: One cup of cooked pasta is only 200 calories – a serving size many people find skimpy. Swap out white pasta for 100% whole wheat (the calories are the same), and the boost of fiber will keep you fuller longer. Add a cup of cooked veggies to bulk up your serving size. Top with a low-fat red sauce (skip those creamy ones!).
Potatoes: At 100 calories for a baseball-sized potato, white and “sweet” versions are packed with fiber, vitamins, and potassium. It’s the toppings – butter, bacon, sour cream – that add the calories. Top your potato with some chopped chives and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Or try a little butter spray.
Red Meat: While marbled, fatty cuts of red meat are linked with heart disease, there are 20+ cuts of beef that are lean and loaded with protein, iron, and other nutrients. Look for cuts like “loin” and “round”; one of my favorites is flank steak. Or try pork tenderloin, another cut as lean as a chicken breast!
What other favorites do you have – and how do you include them into a healthy diet?