Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 10th 2015 Contents A26
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Cooking at home seems like a far healthier option
than dining out, right? Maybe not. A recent study
found that the more time middle-aged women spent
cooking at home, the more likely they were to suffer
from metabolic syndrome. The reason for the finding
may be that the study didn t identify exactly what
the women were cooking, so there was no way to
measure the healthfulness of their homemade meals.
For example, the results wouldn t be surprising if
dinner meals included dishes like lasagna or meatloaf,
rather than veggie-filled stir-fries or entrée salads.
Researchers also say that the participants who cook
at home more frequently may also be baking more
as well, and therefore consuming more sugary treats
like cookies and brownies.
The bottom line is cooking at home is a chance
to either eat healthfully---or eat just as poorly as if
you had ordered takeout or dined at a restaurant.
Avoid these four common blunders to take full advan-
tage of the health opportunity home cooking offers.
Nibbling while cooking
Many of my clients start keeping food diaries soon
after our first consultation, and some are shocked
to discover just how much they eat while prepping
and cooking. One client regularly downed a glass of
wine (or two) while popping cheese cubes, nuts, or
crackers as she prepped. That mindless munching
resulted in taking in up to 300-400 extra calories,
which is enough to keep her at least two sizes larger
than her weight goal.
The fix: If you re hungry when you start making
dinner, munch on low-calorie raw veggies like bell
pepper or sliced cucumber. Or factor your prep-time
snack into your meal budget. For example, if you
want to nibble on nuts, reduce the amount of olive
oil you use in your dinner.
Many health-conscious people I talk to have given
up white bread and pasta in favor of healthy starches,
like quinoa, wild rice, and lentils. The swap is fantastic
for your health, but eating excess portions of these
superfoods can still prevent weight loss, or lead to
weight gain. I don t advocate ditching carbs altogether,
but the amount you eat should be in proportion to
your body s energy needs in the hours after a meal.
If you ll mostly be sitting in the evening, your portion
of anything starchy should be somewhere between
a half cup to a cup (more if you re younger, taller,
and more physically active; less if you re older, shorter,
and exercise less).
The fix: For most of my clients, the trick is swapping
the veggie and starch proportions in their meals, so
veggies are the main attraction, and the starch is an
I recently challenged a client to go 30 days without
eating cheese, because I knew it would be a major
key to her success. She, like many other people I
counsel, was using far too much cheese in home-
cooked meals, and as a result, she was racking up
hundreds of surplus calories. Ounce for ounce, cheddar
packs four times the calories and nine times the fat
of skinless chicken breast. Many of my clients think
of it as a protein source, but an ounce of feta contains
more fat than protein (six grams versus four).
The fix: If you don t want to give up cheese com-
pletely, think of it as a condiment, and use it sparingly.
Indulging in dessert too often
Over the years, many clients have told me that
they just need a little something sweet after dinner.
But one cookie can easily turn into three, and one
serving of ice cream can easily become the whole
pint. And once an after-dinner dessert pattern forms
it can be challenging to break.
The fix: In my experience, the desire for sweets
is often fueled by emotions, such as the need for
reward or comfort. If you really just need a treat, opt
for a few tasting squares of dark chocolate, or make
room for occasional desserts by cutting the carbs
and fat in your meal, which is what most desserts
are made from. (Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD)
Nibbling on cheese is one of the sneakiest way for the calories to add up.
Four cooking mistakes
that make you gain weight
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
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