December 11, 2006

No such thing as bad food

"There's no such thing as bad food or good food, just bad portions," that's the word from Today show contributor, Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., CNS. (Eat smart during the holidays.)

Of course that makes sense. What doesn't make sense is why is all of the onus is on the eater, and not the preparer?

For the holidays, what can restaurants and party makers do for us Americans?

Ten portion-control ideas:

  1. Smaller portions of everything: Extremely tasty edibles!
  2. Food passed around, instead of bowls and platters of grazing foods.
  3. Plenty of protein. Plain meatballs, chicken, turkey, lobster and shrimp (any shellfish).
  4. Use salsa. Experiment with fat-free dips made with nonfat cream cheese or sour cream, or blend your own bean dip. Pair with vegetable spears or baked pita chips.
  5. Prepare the crackers and cheese in individual portions. Prepare everything in individual portions. Use whole wheat crackers and breads.
  6. Nuts in shells. Believe it or not, studies show when you have to work for your food (cracking nutshells), you eat less. The same is true for candy. If you need to unwrap the candy, you’ll eat less.
  7. Serve unlimited TASTY vegetables, fruits. Try grilled vegetables.
  8. Use exotic fruits. Plate them attractively. Begin the party/dinner out with these unusual starters. Be creative. Experiment with seasonal produce to lighten up your meals. Consider chutneys as an accompaniment to meats, slices of pears or oranges in salad, cranberries or dried fruits in rice pilaf, or apple sauce substituted for some of the fats in your baking. A little creativity can go a long way toward heightening taste and sneaking in your produce needs in the food.
  9. Try soup in handy cups. A little portion of tasty squash soup is a perfect holiday start.
  10. Set out bite-sized, healthy snacks such as popcorn, raisins or nuts in brandy snifters. That way your guests won't be tempted to keep reaching for the snacks -- they'll have to pick up the glass and pour a few into their hand.
  11. Bonus: Send care packages home with your guests so they can enjoy your special holiday cookies -- or whatever -- after the event. Give it to them at the beginning of the party.

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