By Alice Harrosh and Tanya Rosen
Dear Diet Diary,
I really did not want to have a weigh-in during Chanukah, but that was the only appointment available. I guess in a way it was good to know that I had to face the scale, because it did help keep things in check, but, unfortunately, I still gained some weight. When discussing this with Alice, she explained that sometimes we feel we are making good choices when in fact the foods we are eating are far from dietetic. Here are some examples she gave:
Carrot muffins, apple cobblers, zucchini cookies, and the like. We are so conditioned to believe that foods that incorporate fruits and vegetables are good for us that we forget that what we are really eating is cake! Packed with flour, sugar, oil, and calories, these foods often appear at Shabbos or yom tov meals, or as “healthier” dessert options. Fruits or vegetables that find their way into a recipe that is filled with white flour, sugar, and oil does not change the fact that it is filled with calories. It just makes us more likely to eat it even when on a diet.
Vegetable chips, kale chips, Terra sticks, etc. I did a great job staying away from foods like potato chips that are not only very high in fat and calories because they are fried but also have an addictive quality, where having just a few chips is never enough! It even says so on the Pringles can: “Once You Pop You Can’t Stop!” That’s their actual motto! However, snacks like vegetable chips, Terra sticks, and sweet potato chips seem much more dietetic. I snacked on some of these fancier chips that showed up at the Chanukah party, thinking that they are more waistline-friendly. They aren’t. Turns out, they have very similar fat and caloric content as their regular potato chip counterparts, and because they seem so innocent, people are more likely to eat a lot at a time.
Salads. When Alice told me she doesn’t like the word salad, I was pretty surprised. What does she have against salads? Well, nothing as long as they consist solely of non-starchy vegetables and a bit of light dressing on the side. But this isn’t what most people think of when they hear the word salad. Salads usually consist of add-ins such as croutons, craisins, mangos and berries, glazed nuts, starchy vegetables, ramen noodles, sunflower seeds, oil and/or mayonnaise measured by the cupful. A salad can easily have more calories than a big bowl of pasta, but it sounds so much more innocent.
Tip of the week: When having salad at a meal, make sure that the salad is only vegetables, and keep the dressing on the side so that you don’t end up eating more than one tablespoon. The fats in salads do matter!
Looking back at my Chanukah, I guess it is not surprising that I gained weight! While I stayed away from chocolate, fried food, and extra challah, I definitely did not eat perfectly, especially considering the above. However, I feel good about the fact that I did not binge or drop my diet completely, and I am ready to get back on track!
Till next week,
Alice Harrosh is a nutrition counselor and manager at Nutrition by Tanya with 11 locations, including one in the Five Towns right near Elderd Lane. For more information on Nutrition by Tanya or the TAP (Tanya-approved products) food line, please visit nutritionbytanya.com or call 844-Tanya-Diet. For daily tips and inspiration, follow @nutritionbytanya on Instagram.