By Eileen Ferrer, Skinny Gene Nutritionist
All year long, you have been eating for your health. You have included more fruits and vegetables and cooked your own meals. But did the food you ate belong on the naughty or nice list? If you have been eating well all year, chances are your meal and snack options belong on the nice list. However, there are various misconceptions about certain food, like fat. Fat is notorious, and many people stay away as much as possible. Healthy fat like monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fats or omega-3 fats that come from olive oil, fish or nuts are actually good for you. Healthy fats can protect your heart and support overall health. There are more foods and/or ingredients that have gotten a bad reputation, but in actuality they are quite healthy (in moderation of course, always look at serving size).
Here’s a list of some “bad” foods you should be eating.
– Peanut butter. It is considered fattening. Peanut butter may be high in fat, but a little goes a long way, and a tablespoon will do. Peanut butter is a good source of protein, folate, and vitamin B.
– Red meat. Beef is full of saturated fat and is high in cholesterol, but lean cuts of beef are low-fat sources of protein and iron. Look for cuts that are deep red and have less marbling, which are the white spots of fat. Try flank or strip steak, sirloin or filet mignon.
– Chocolate (my kryptonite). Chocolate is high in sugar and fat, but in fact dark chocolate is best, and even has heart healthy benefits. Dark chocolate contains flavanols, which are antioxidants with a blood-thinning effect. Dark chocolate has also been shown to help with stress.
– Potatoes. They rank high on the glycemic index, which can increase blood sugars significantly. This is problematic for people with diabetes. However, potatoes are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Bake a potato and drizzle with olive oil. The fat from the olive oil will slow down the absorption of the potato’s carbohydrate, preventing the spike in blood sugars.
– Nuts. Nuts like peanut butter are full of fat. However, nuts contain unsaturated fat, the healthy kind. Depending on which nut it is they have added benefits, such as pistachios contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are good for the eyes. Almonds provide vitamin E and walnuts have heart healthy omega-3 fats. Be careful with your portion size because they do provide a lot of calories, one ounce of nuts contain about 160 – 200 calories.
– Bread. I’ve heard bread is bad. That is the case when the bread is refined and highly processed, which is the typical white bread. Whole grain or 100% whole wheat bread is actually good and it is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to make half the grains you consume whole grains.
Enjoy your holiday festivities with family, friends, and some food that is actually not that bad after all. Happy Holidays!