Sugar, ahh, Honey, Honey

Have you seen the movie Fed Up yet? After watching it last year, I started paying attention to how much added sugars were in the foods that I eat. Last month, I tracked the amount of added and artificial sugar* I consumed during an average workweek (Monday – Friday) and counted the added sugar in things like:

  • Jams
  • Peanut/almond butter
  • Fage yogurt
  • Breads/grains/cereal/granola
  • Canned beans
  • Non-dairy creamer
  • Sweets

Here is a picture of my weekly sugar intake:

Snack-size baggies with teaspoons of the amount of added sugar eaten each day.

Every 4 grams of sugar on a nutrition label is equal to 1 teaspoon of refined white sugar. After 5 days of tracking, I was averaging about 9 teaspoons of sugar each day**. Not horrible, but also not the recommended amount.

How much sugar is recommended? The World Health Organization (WHO) says adults should consume on average no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day. The American Heart Association recommends 6 – 9 teaspoons a day.

How much sugar do most people consume? Sources vary; one states: “In 2012, Americans consumed an average of 765 grams of sugar every 5 days, or 130 pounds each year.” (That’s about 38 teaspoons per day.) Another states: Americans eat about 20 teaspoons of sugar a day according to a report from the 2005–10 NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) database. 

Actually seeing the sugar in those baggies made things more tangible and made me want to take action. That’s what prompted me to finally do the 10 Day Sugar Free Challenge. I looked at a few different blogs for inspiration and recipes to follow. I liked the info I found here. We (the hubby and I) are doing what I’m calling a “Modified Plan A” version of the rules. I’ll be posting pictures of what we ate and links to the recipes we tried soon!

 

 

* According to Fed Up, our bodies’ process all sugars the same, including lactose. I love milk, and I personally don’t think lactose is that bad for me, so I chose to exclude it from this count. 

** Because I was tracking my intake, I was hyper-conscious about how much sugar I was consuming, so I may have erred on the side of lower-than-normal-intake that week. But, it still provided a good insight on how much hidden sugar I was eating on any given day!

Recipe Hack: Frozen Yogurt-Covered Fruit Kabobs

At our house, we’re trying to substitute guilty snacks with healthier options, so last night I tried a variation on the following recipe (found via Pinterest): http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/04/frozen-yogurt-covered-blueberry-kabobs.html#more-1852

 Here are the ingredients I used:

  • Frozen mixed berries (I used just the blueberries and attempted to use the raspberries and blackberries* but only managed to get 1 raspberry on there)
  • Fresh strawberries (about 10), washed and tops cut off
  • ½ of a fresh banana, sliced
  • 6 wooden skewers
  • Plain Noosa yogurt, mixed with a few drizzles of honey (you could really use any brand/flavor of yogurt)
Image of mixed fruit on wooden skewers, with yogurt
Fruit (strawberries, blueberries, bananas, 1 raspberry), placed on wooden skewers; honey-infused yogurt

Here are the steps to take:

  1. Let frozen fruit thaw on the counter for 10-or-so minutes*; prep the fresh fruit
  2. Spread a bunch of yogurt on a plate, drizzle generously with honey (if you’re using flavored yogurt, you can skip the honey), and mix together with a spoon
  3. Stab the fruit* with a skewer
  4. Roll the skewered fruit in the yogurt*
  5. Place the fruit kabobs in a mason jar or other container
  6. Stick ‘em in the freezer (they freeze rather quickly)
Image of fruit kabobs after being rolled in yogurt, then placed in a mason jar
Skewered fruit, rolled in yogurt, then placed in a mason jar

*Lessons Learned:

  • I don’t know if it was the Noosa brand or what, but the yogurt seemed a little lumpy (even before adding the honey) and hard to spread without my fruit getting all squirrel-y so I used a spoon/my fingers to help completely cover the fruit.
  • The frozen rasp- and blackberries break apart when stabbed with the skewer; they’re probably cool if you wait for them to thaw/use fresh ones.
  • The frozen blueberries are stab-able, if the skewer is wiggled-in, rather than attempting to pierce it straight through. (Or, you could just wait for them to thaw/use fresh ones ^_^ )
  • I recommend slicing the strawberries before putting them on the skewer, to make them easier to eat when frozen.
Image of frozen fruit kabobs in a mason jar
Frozen fruit kabobs in mason jar

I ate a couple of these today – super yummy AND easy to make! I bet you could even do mini-versions on toothpicks, if you don’t have the freezer space for tall ones. I definitely think the blueberry and the banana are my faves.

 
What are some healthy alternatives that you’re trying? Share them in the comments below!

I like to pretend…

…I’m a food critique, mostly because I’m pretty particular about what I put in my mouth (ha).

The other day, my husband and I tried a new BBQ joint on South Broadway called Gary Lee’s Motor Club & Grub. Him being from Mississippi and me from Texas, we know some good ‘Q when we eat it, so we were pretty excited to try this new (to us) spot.

On first glance: pretty sweet place. The décor is sorta motorcycle hipster chic, with lots of wood, exposed beams and ductwork, and a really nice, spacious patio facing Broadway. We sat right on the edge of indoor/outdoor, where the garage doors open up to the patio.

The service: was good. Not great, but good. The waiter mentioned eating BBQ from a place up the street for lunch; not exactly something I would admit if I worked at a BBQ joint.

Closeup image of prosciutto-wrapped jalapeno

Prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño popper (day after)

Image of inside of prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño popper

Inside of prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño popper (day after)

The appetizer: We had the prosciutto-wrapped smoked jalapeño poppers to start. They’re marketed as “house smoked jalapeños stuffed with cheese and wrapped with thinly sliced prosciutto”. Let me tell you something: that prosciutto was most definitely NOT “thinly” sliced. I love prosciutto; this was more like thick-cut bacon. It was very smoky, and very flavorful, but I wish the prosciutto had been sliced thinner so that I could have enjoyed the stuffed jalapeños more. Instead, the overwhelming flavor of smoky meat was too much for me and I only ate one popper.

Image of pulled Pork BBQ with Brussels Sprouts

I sort of forgot to take a picture BEFORE starting to eat :-)

The main course: There was no bread*. We split the pulled pork with the Memphis BBQ sauce and the caramelized Brussels sprouts. The plating of the meat was a little sloppy, but hey, it’s BBQ so it doesn’t have to be neat. The Brussels sprouts were tasty, but a little al dente (I prefer the sprouts at Steuben’s). The pulled pork was on the moist side, which is great, but only if you have something to soak it up with (and Brussels sprouts don’t really do a good job at that). I was displeased with their side selections: the only potato option they have is mashed (meh), and there were no corn OR corn bread* options (which are kind of BBQ-side-staples in my book).

The drinks: I had a spicy Bloody Mary and my hubby had a beer (Avery IPA). Both were tasty and left us satisfied.

Image of leftover pulled pork turned into sandwich; with chips and baby tomatoes

Leftovers!

Image of leftover pulled pork turned into sandwich; with chips and baby tomatoes

The leftovers: were even better than the 1st go-round! I made myself a BBQ sammich with some sliced Muenster cheese, chopped onions, and mayo on a bolillo bread roll. Cue chips and baby ‘maters and I had myself one yummy lunch.

The verdict: I wish they had bread. I would go back to try the tacos (which the waiter raved about, but… really? You’re a BBQ place, not a taco place, come on now) or maybe a sandwich and definitely another side. Depending on that experience, I might even go back to try their brunch.

Score: 3 out of 5 (I’d go back)

 

*Okay, sure – if you order a sandwich, you will receive bread. However, the dinner plate options do not come with a bread accompaniment & while this is not an ABSOLUTE necessity, I like to have some cornbread, a dinner roll, or SOME-thing with my BBQ.

The Denver Diet

Growing up as a fat kid wasn’t exactly a piece of cake. Being somewhat kinesthetically challenged (a.k.a. – clumsy) I preferred reading over playing outside and it wasn’t until puberty hit that I finally lost some of my childhood chub. Not until my college years, however did I finally start becoming active on a regular basis.

My first year in the Mile High City was the adjusting year. A mixture of stress and homesickness caused a yo-yo effect on my diet and ultimately my weight. I would use food as a coping mechanism. After that first year I moved downtown where, parking being the bitch that it is, it proved much easier to walk rather than drive. I was forced to walk more – to school, food, stores, friend’s apartments, EVERYwhere. The local restaurants also offer food that is less greasy and smaller in portion size than what is offered in San Antonio therefore reducing my normal calorie intake.

Those lifestyle changes are what helped me lose the weight I had gained the first year in college and what helps me continue to keep the weight off. When I go home to visit, people ask me what it is that  I’ve done to lose so much weight. It almost seems too simple when I say “walk more/eat less” but it’s true. Now, if only it were that easy to help cities like San Antonio tackle and overcome their obesity problems. Maybe there is an easy way?