Fattening Foods When Out

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Funnel Cakes

Deep fried dough covered in sugar! What could be worse for your figure, and for your body in general really?

Around 800 calories for the average serving, and a huge amount of fat.

Corn Dogs

Laden with fat and sodium, and well over 1,000 calories apeice, it’s another ‘better to be missed’ on the go snack.

Chilli Cheese Fries

Fat, salt and calories galore in these.  Best to be avoided if you’re trying to be healthy and/or shed a few pounds.

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Goodbye Mr. Chips

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Big John's Tavern

Did you know that the average  one ounce bag of regular, salted potato chips contains 155 calories, over ten grams of fat, of which over three are saturated, and 150mg of sodium?

The average American eats over one hundred bags a year. Do the math, and it works out  at around seven pounds of chips  a year.

A much better option would be the pairing of hummus and some pita bread. Each pita has under a hundred calories, and less that one gram of fat. Hummus is one of the healthiest dips you can choose, and it tastes darn good too!

Processed Food

We at TGFC shy away from much processed food.

However, not all processed food is bad by any means.

After all, when we cook food at home, we’re processing it. When we make our own sauces, gravies, and dips we’re processing food.

Artichoke Relish

What we mean at TGFC, of course, is food that is highly processed, usually on an industrial scale. This kind of processed food often contains extra sodium to make it taste better; added colors to make it look better, and chemical preservatives to make it last longer.

While we don’t want everything to go bad in five minutes, if we prepare food as we need it, that’s not going to happen in any case. Of course, we can also prepare dishes in advance and refrigerate or freeze them. That way, we don’t need to add extra preservatives anyway!

Some good examples of home produced processed food:

  • Ketchup
  • Sausage
  • Salad Dressings
  • Pickles
  • Jams
  • Bread

Much can be made from locally sourced fresh produce too, often organic. Food that’s in season is often less expensive, and tastes better. You’re also helping the environment by not buying something that has been transported half way around the world, and you’re helping your own local economy at the same time!

Save Money and Do It Yourself

Of course, that is usually said to those who want to maintain their homes, or their car.

It equally applies in the kitchen though.


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Save money by eating out less, and eat more healthily.

Save money by cooking from scratch, and eat more healthily too.

It’s not a lot of use eating at home if all you do is eat take-out items or frozen TV dinners. For one, it won’t save you much money, and secondly, most take out food and packets of TV dinners are highly processed, with lots of added preservatives, colors, sodium and other junk like HFCS.

If you cook from fresh ingredients at home, you know exactly what you’re eating.

If you can buy organic meat, fruit and vegetables, it’ll still be less expensive, far healthier and much more nutritious than buying junk food.

Try planning ahead and you can save even more. For example, a larger chicken can last two days, and you oonly need to cook it once. As long as you properly refrigerate the leftovers you can have a healthy chicken salad the next day, or perhaps make some chicken fried rice (which will have a lot less sodium in than that from the Chinese take out). You an also use wholegrain rice, for added vitamins and fiber.

Try to work out what you’re going to eat for at least a few days, and then you won’t buy too much, and have it go bad before you eat it, particularly vegetables and fruit (as fresh meat can more easily be frozen as-is, whereas vegetables need to be prepared and blanched first before freezing).

Eat Well, Eat Healthy, Eat Cheap

You CAN eat good healthy food, AND it doesn’t have to cost a fortune either.

  • Make a list of what you need before you go out. It’ll stop you buying junk, and keep you within your budget.
  • Be sure to read the labels at the store when buying new products or brands that are not familiar to you.
  • Avoid anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup in as this is simply a source of empty calories. Watch out for high sugar, and high fat and sodium contents too.
  • Go around the perimeter of the store. It always seems to work! Fresh Produce, and diary, and meat and fish seems to be around the edges, with all the junk stuff in the center aisles.
  • Do not ever go grocery shopping when you are hungry. Eat first, and you won’t be tempted to fill the cart with stuff you don’t really need, and certainly not candy and cakes and extra cookies.

Mediterranean Eating

It’s good for you right? Yes it is.

So if I go out and eat Italian, that’s a Mediterranean diet, and so that’s good for me too, right? Not necessarily, no.

That fried calamari that you’re so partial to at the local Italian chain restaurant can have as much cholesterol in as eating a large omelet.

You see, Italians are big on pasta. That’s great, but it’s the sauce you get with it in many American Italian restaurants that is the killer. Italians also eat a lot of vegetables.

In your average US Italian restaurant, you’ll end up with a plate of watery iceberg and a few bits of tomato, and carrot. Not so bad, but once you put that dressing on top, you might as well go to the fast food drive thru down the street, and eat a portion of fries.

Chinese food is usually lower in fat, but there’s all the added sodium to deal with then.

Our advice. Stick with dishes that have a high pasta content, are low in sauces, particularly meat based (high fat) sauces, go easy on the cheese, and if you’re somewhere like Olive Garden fill up on the salad, as you can have as much as you like. Just don’t flood it with that dressing.

Better yet, find some healthy low-fat recipes (that avoid read-made processed sauces) and try your hand at cooking Italian at home. That’s just what we’re doing this evening.

Alternatives To Using Salt

We need three times as much potassium as sodium so we can use lo-salt substitutes that contain potassium chloride instead of the sodium chloride that regular salt is made of. However, there’s still a limit to how much of that one should consume, and to be frank, many people do not like the taste.

To reduce your salt intake you need to watch labels closely. I recently picked up a can of soup, which was advertised as being top of the line, and when I read the label I was shocked to see that this one small can (it was about a mugful) contained over 800mg of salt. That’s about half of our daily requirement.

Watch out with some dairy food, and also bread, and canned vegetables. There are a number of low or no-salt varieties of canned vegetables out there now.

When cooking at home, try using herbs and spices instead. Some god substitutes for salt, are ginger, herbs, garlic, onions, and lemon juice.

Things can seem a little different at first, but, much like cutting down on the amount of sugar in your tea or coffee, your palate can and will adjust over time, if you have a little patience. Personally, I used to take two heaped teaspoonfuls of sugar in my coffee, and now, not only do I not take any, but I simply can’t drink it sweetened anymore; it takes horrible to me now.