Food is my life.

i will openly admit that. i love learning all about food combination’s, origins, and especially nutritional knowledge. i think the nutritional stuff is the most important, because people really are what they eat. as i was reading some articles this morning i decided to be the food nerd that i am and share them with you.

the first article is from health.com::

The 10 Healthiest Casual Dining Spots

  1. Uno Chicago Grill
  2. Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes
  3. Mimi’s Cafe
  4. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
  5. Bob Evans Restaurants
  6. Ruby Tuesday
  7. Romano’s Macaroni Grill
  8. Chevy’s Fresh Mex
  9. Olive Garden
  10. Denny’s

and the second article discusses 10 items that are seemily healthy, but are actuall unhealthy, it’s from cooking light.com:

10 Foods that Sound Healthy (but Aren’t)

1. Multi-Grain and Wheat Breads:: Terms like multi-grain, 7-grain, and wheat sound healthy, but they may not actually contain heart-healthy whole grains. Many breads labeled “multi-grain” and “wheat” are made with refined grains, so you’re not getting the full nutritional benefit of the whole grain. How can you be sure? Read nutrition labels carefully. If the first flour in the ingredient list is refined (it will typically say “bleached” or “unbleached enriched wheat flour”) you are not getting a 100% whole-grain bread.

2. Prepared Salads:: Don’t assume that anything with the word “salad” in it must be healthy. Prepared tuna salads, chicken salads, and shrimp salads are often loaded with hidden fats and calories due to their high mayonnaise content. While a lot depends on portion size and ingredients, an over-stuffed tuna sandwich can contain as many as 980 calories and 60 grams of fat. If you’re ordering out, for prepared salads made with low-fat mayonnaise, and keep the portion to about the size of a deck of cards. Better yet, make your own.

3. Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter:: Reduced-fat peanut butter is not necessarily a healthier version of regular peanut butter. Read the label to see why. Both regular and reduced-fat peanut butter contain about the same amount of calories, but the reduced-fat variety has more sugar (about 4 grams more per serving than regular). But isn’t it healthy to reduce some fat? Not in this case. Regular peanut butter is a natural source of the “good” monounsaturated fats. Reduced-fat peanut butter often contains partially hydrogenated oils, which are a source of the “bad” trans fats. So in some cases the reduced-fat peanut butter is actually higher in unhealthy fats.

4. “Energy” Bars:: Energy bars are the perfect pre-workout snack, right? Not always. Many energy bars are filled with high fructose corn syrup, added sugar, and artery-clogging saturated fat. Plus, some bars contain more than 350 calories each―a bit more than “snack size” for most people. It is a good idea to fuel up with a mix of high quality carbs and protein before an extended workout or hike Just choose wisely: one-quarter cup of trail mix, or 1.5 oz. of low fat cheese and 3 to 4 small whole-grain crackers. Or, make your own healthy granola bars and trail mix.

5. Bran Muffins:: Most bran muffins, even those sold at delis and coffee shops, are made with generally healthy ingredients. The problem is portion size. The average muffin sold in stores today is more than twice the size of the muffins made a generation ago. A random sampling of some coffee and restaurant chain bran muffins showed that many topped 350 calories apiece. Even a healthful food, if over-consumed, can be not-so-healthful. Enjoy your bran muffin, but just eat half, and save the rest for an afternoon snack.

6. Smoothies:: Even in most smoothie chains and coffee bars, smoothies start out pretty healthful. Most have a base of blended fruit and low-fat dairy. But disproportionately large serving sizes (the smallest is often 16 oz.) combined with added sugar, ice cream, or sherbet, can add up to a high-calorie treat. Some chains serve smoothies that contain 500 calories. A smoothie can be a great way to start the day or to refuel after a workout, but for the most economical and healthy variety, consider making your own.

7. Packaged Turkey:: Turkey is an excellent source of lean protein and a good choice for a speedy lunch or dinner, but many packaged turkey slices are loaded with sodium. One serving (just a few slices) of some brands contains nearly half of the maximum recommend daily sodium intake. So make sure you buy low-sodium varieties or opt for fresh turkey slices. If you can’t roast your own, the best rule of thumb is to find a brand with less than 350 milligrams of sodium per serving.

8. Foods Labeled “Fat Free”:: Fat-free does NOT mean calorie-free. Just because a food contains no fat that doesn’t make it a health food. (Think gummy bears.) Of course, there are many very healthful fat-free foods (like most fruits and vegetables), but always check the nutrition labels when buying packaged foods to be sure you’re getting a nutritious product and not just one that’s “fat free”. Calories, sodium, fiber, and vitamins and minerals are all aspects you should consider in addition to fat.

9. Restaurant Baked Potatoes:: Sure, a baked potato in its natural state (that is, sans toppings) is a very healthful food. Potatoes are naturally rich in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Plus, a medium-sized baked potato contains only about 110 calories. But if you’re eating out, don’t assume that the baked potato is the healthiest choice on the menu. Many restaurant-style baked potatoes come “fully loaded” with butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon bits, and other goodies that can add up to more than 600 calories and 31 grams of saturated fat. Ask for one that is plain and get 1 or 2 small-portioned toppings on the side.

10. Sports Drinks:: If you’re going for a leisurely stroll or doing some light housework, skip the sports drinks. While most sports drink do contain important electrolytes (like potassium and sodium) that are necessary for intense workouts or endurance training, you don’t need a sports drink to fuel light activity. Many sports drinks contain about 200 calories or more per 20-oz. bottle, so spare yourself the extra calories and opt for plain water or a calorie-free beverage to keep you hydrated.

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