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Saturday, March 26, 2011

If you're watching your carbs, try this

Nutty Chicken Slaw:

This is so easy to put together, literally 5 minutes, and it's tasty, filling, and low in carbs. Although it has only 350 calories, the fat, fiber, and protein content make it quite satisfying for a light meal.

Step 1. Get your sliced chicken of choice. Ideally you have fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the fridge - if you do, take one breast, cook it, and cut it in to slices. But if you don't, or if you're pressed for time, you can buy precooked chicken breasts, fresh or frozen, that are pretty darn good. I recently discovered Pinty's Chicken Breast Strips. These are so easy. You take the desired amount out of the box, place them on a plate topped with paper towel, and microwave for 3 minutes. Done! And they're delicious. I bought them at Food Basics. Check out the website; this is a great product to help you get protein in to your diet when pressed for time:

Lillydale also makes good precooked, grilled chicken breast strips (but be forewarned, they're quite salty).. they can be found on tables in the deli section of your grocery store.

Step 2.  Put the oven on broil. Spray a piece of tinfoil with cooking spray. Spread two tbsp of slivered almonds on the foil and place in the oven to toast *(watch closely because these can burn quickly). Also, measure them. If you just spread slivered almonds, as I did below, on tin foil and toast, you'll be surprised how many calories you may end up consuming. For instance, take a guess how many calories are in the picture below:

210!!! That may be more than you bargained for -- considering McDonald's Small French Fries have only 20 more calories at 230. Anyhow, the picture above is 1/4 cup of slivered almonds. I'd recommended you only use 1/8 of a cup, i.e. 2 tbsp, for a total of about 100 calories. Nuts are good for you and taste great, but they pack a lot of calories and fat so be mindful of portions.

Step 3. Grab your Broccoli Slaw. This stuff is great. You find it where the bagged lettuce sits in the grocery store. The stem of the broccoli is shredded and it's bagged, mixed with shredded carrots and cabbage.

Step 4. Take a few handfuls of broccoli slaw and place in a bowl (calories are negligible so don't worry too much about portion). Top with 2 tbsp of toasted slivered almonds and 1 chicken breast or about 8-10 strips of chicken. Top with a low calorie dressing of your choice. I chose Simply Natural Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette that I had picked up at Whole Foods - 2 tbsps have 60 calories.

Voila! A crunchy, delicious salad for about 350 calories. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I love a good bagel

This is my favorite bagel..

Bagel World Poppy Seed Bagel.. Delicious. The most delicious. But.. serious calories. My guess - 350 for one bagel. If you try to pull out the inside dough which many people do.. maybe you're down to 300 calories.

300 calories isn't crazy.. but it's a bit more than you'd want to eat when watching your waistline.. especially once you add the rest of the meal on your plate, whether it be the omelet or scoop of tuna or Greek salad..

Now I'm not suggesting you forgo any toppings or sides when indulging in your bagel, definitely not. Most bagels lack significant protein or fat and are essentially all carbs so this would be a very unbalanced snack or meal, and you'd be craving more carbs in an hour. You'd almost be better off having a Snickers Bar - 280 calories and at least it has some protein and fat.! I'm not suggesting that either though.. Here's the point:

A big, warm, freshly baked bagel is a treat, much like a Snickers bar is a treat; and while you can enjoy it on occasion, if you eat it too often, the pounds will pack on.

Here are some great substitutes that you can indulge in more regularly:

1. PC Blue Menu - PC Thins Multigrain Bagels: These are fabulous. They seem small in the bag but they're dense so they're filling and and take time to eat. They're great toasted. One bagel has 160 calories; 2 grams fat; 6 grams protein; 4 grams fiber; and 29 grams carbs.

2. Dempsters Bodywise 100% Multi Grain Bagel: For a low calorie bagel, this is excellent. Perfect on the side of an egg white omelet or toasted with 1 tbsp of almond butter or with some low fat cream cheese, lox, and tomato slices. One bagel has only 140 calories; 1.5 grams fat; 5 grams protein; 5 grams fiber; and 26 grams carbohydrates.

3. Weight Watchers brand bagel: This also is pretty good for a low cal bagel, but I like the other two slightly better. This bagel has 150 calories and 9 grams of fiber!

Oh and if you're tempted to try one of the low carb bagels like Baker's Deluxe.. beware that serious stomach cramps can follow. My suggestion is to go with the three I mentioned over the low carb option. Enjoy!