August 2009 Q&A

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 2:31
Comments Off on August 2009 Q&A

Q: Is that Cracklin’ Oat Bran? I love that cereal, but always thought that nutritionally, it was basically the same as a sugar cereal. Was I wrong?

A: Cracklin’ Oat Bran is not as healthy as some cereals but it’s definitely not as unhealthy as many others. Mike loves it so we get it once in a while. The main ingredient in C’OB is whole oats, evidenced by the 6 grams of fiber per serving. In addition there is 4 grams of protein which in combination with the fiber will help slow digestion and keep you feeling full for longer. The two downfalls of this cereal are the sugar content (15 grams per serving) which comes from the addition of brown sugar and corn syrup and the saturated fat content (3 grams per serving) from the addition of palm oil. I cannot imagine why they would need to use palm oil of all oils and it’s too bad they don’t cut back a little on the sugar because personally I think it tastes too sweet anyways. I wouldn’t make this your everyday cereal but you can have it once in a while if you enjoy eating it. eatlikeme

Q: quick question: i went on the MyPyramid website and entered my info. i like to think i eat fairly well; i usually get all of my grains, veggies, fruit & milk in, but have had a tough time getting my recommended amount of meat & beans in. i’m a long-time vegetarian, so i have learned to get my protein in. i eat lots of seeds, nuts, nut butters, and plenty of low-fat yogurt, cheese and milk. i also eat a lot of high-protein cereals and energy/granola bars. can i simply disregard this section if i can get enough protein elsewhere? i really don’t like beans, so that’s not really an option. what should i do? pippilongstockings14

A: I wouldn’t recommend totally ignoring the Meat & Bean recommendation but you can definitely eat around it if you plan your diet correctly. Both meat products and bean products contribute valuable nutrients such as iron, B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc and magnesium to the diet in addition to the protein and amino acids they contain. Most Americans over eat protein so it’s not as much an issue of getting the protein in as it is the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). You would have to take a close look at the rest of your diet to ensure you meet your micronutrient needs without taking in beans or meat. You may need to take a multi-vitamin if you cannot find ways to incorporate enough of these foods into your vegetarian diet. I would recommend you try eating beans in different forms – there are loads of types of beans and you can do so many things with them like make dips/spreads, mix into stir-fry, or have as refried beans. Eating nuts and seeds is great but be careful with the amount because although they contain the nutrients, they also contain more calories and fat than other products in the Meat & Bean group do. eatlikeme

Q: I was wondering how you grill your asparagus? I know some people use the grill tray things that just sit on top, but others put the stalks directly onto the grate. How do you do it? It always seems to look perfect! SaraWo24

A: We have a grill tray and use that sometimes but other times we put them right on the grates. We toss the asparagus with olive oil and a little kosher salt & fresh ground pepper so they don’t stick and come out tasting great! eatlikeme

Q: I recently started using stainless steel pans, and I am having a problem with having whatever I am cooking stick. I usually cook with olive oil and I try to constantly stir, but it still tends to stick. I know you cook alot and use stainless steel, do you or anyone else have any tips? Also, I heard you are supposed to “season” new stainless steel pans before the first use to help with this, is this true? I’d really appreciate any feedback! Greenbean13

A: I also have stainless steel cookware (Calphalon Tri-Ply) and although I have some problems with food sticking it’s not too bad. When I know I am cooking something particularly prone to sticking, I use my Le Creuset pot which cleans up wonderfully. It did take some time to get used to the stainless – you have to master the right amount of oil (while keeping it healthy of course) and also the heat. If you start off too high you are bound to have food stick so air on the low side and increase the heat as you go. It’s an investment for a Le Creuset but trust me it’s worth having one in the house, you can make so many nice meals in there and the clean up is so easy. They have outlet stores and I have found pieces at HomeGoods too. It’s a great gift idea to ask for or give – my sister got me one and Mike’s mom did as well! eatlikeme

Q: Im a new mom wanting to go back to school to be a nutritionist but don’t know what degree to look into or where to look. Any advice? Thanks! stacy21g

A: Visit the American Dietetic Association website: and you will find all the information you need. Good luck! eatlikeme

Q: I was just curious if you ever drink juice, and what are your thoughts on drinking juice? Is it a good option? GeorgiaRose3

A: I really don’t drink much juice. I don’t keep it in the house but I will buy orange juice occasionally to go along with a special breakfast (or breakfast for dinner). You can get some good nutrients from juice but you miss out on the fiber that you would get in eating whole fruit. If you enjoy juice, get yourself a small juice glass (5 ounces big) and make sure you limit yourself to one 4-ounce serving a day. The calories in juice add up quickly and your body may not recognize the calories as filling so you could end up taking in hundreds of extra calories in a day if you are having 8+ ounces of juice. eatlikeme

Q: Would the avocado technically count as a fruit? runmegs08

A: Yes, an avocado would count as a “Fruit” but I usually just count it as “Oils”. I believe it would be the same as an apple or banana where 1 cup of avocado = 1 cup of “Fruit” so you could count that in addition to the Oils where A? of a medium avocado = 3 teaspoons “Oils”. eatlikeme

Q: I have a question – I am a pretty athletic individual. I run at least 4 miles every morning along with at least 30 minutes of strength training a day. I load up on veggies, whole grains, fruits, and lean proteins, yet I am ALWAYS hungry, to the point that I overeat because I’m ravenously hungry. I’ve tried everything…eating small meals, drinking more water, and even supplements claiming to suppress appetite and nothing has worked. Any tips or advice? lb2306

A: It’s hard to answer your question here on the blog because I would need to ask you several additional questions before offering advice. If you are hungry and losing weight, then you need to eat more. If you are hungry and find that your hunger is causing you to eat and gain weight then you would need to take a look at portion size, meal composition and meal timing. I would recommend you try to meet with a dietitian to discuss your specific diet regimen along with your activity level and your goals (weight loss/gain, muscle building, etc). I will definitely recommend that you avoid all appetite suppressants – those can be dangerous and with the amount of exercise you do, you could be putting yourself at a very serious risk. Good luck. eatlikeme

Q: I have a question about how you would categorize light coconut milk – the mypyramid tracker lists only full fat coconut milk. glogarza1

A: I am not really sure how you would count light coconut milk. My best guess would have been a combination of “Oils” and “Discretionary Calories” but when I looked up the regular coconut milk on MyPyramid Tracker I was surprised to see it count as all “Meat & Beans”. It also surprised me how many ounce equivalents 1 cup was equal to (11.3 ounces). Since most light coconut milk has about half the calories and fat of regular, I guess you would count it for half of what the regular counts as. That is my best guess based on the info that I have at hand, sorry I could not be of better assistance. eatlikeme

Q: I wanted to know how long (distance, time) that you are currently running, since you just got back to it and how you stay motivated. I am currently trying to start running, I take my dog for a walk every morning (about 1 to 2 miles for about 30 mins) and I am having a hard time getting motivated to start and don’t know where/how to start, should I just run for the same distance and/or time that I am walking? Anyone’s advice or tips on how to get/stay motivated would be greatly appreciated, thanks! Greenbean13

A: I think the hardest part about starting a running regimen is staying positive so that you keep getting out there to do it. Running is hard and you feel it in all parts of your body – arms, legs, lungs, abs & back! Whenever I first get back into running I feel like I weigh about 20 pounds more than I really do but I have found that rather than let this feeling discourage me, I use it as motivation to get back out there. Soon enough you begin to feel light on your feet and you don’t notice each individual body part moving separately – they all move together smoothly! I think the distance you go at first depends on the individual – for some it may be a half mile and for others it may be 2 or 3 miles. I personally think going every other day or every third day is good way to start, but I like to walk on the off days. You might try joining a running club because you could get some personalized guidance there and you would have an additional source of motivation too! Good luck! eatlikeme

Q: Hey I came across this really cool lunch tote that portions your food for you. It’s called Basikbox. What I like about this site is you don’t have to think about how many calories you’re eating because it measure your calories for you and tell you what to make. Elaine29

A: I had never seen the BasikBox before so I had to look it up. It’s an interesting concept and I would be interested to see the meal plans they provide with the subscription. I wouldn’t make a recommendation without knowing the actual foods they recommend but if it’s all healthy food and the box is used for portions then I think it’s a neat idea. eatlikeme

Q: Normally I have a breakfast very similar to yours (whole grain cereal, skim milk and fruit, occassionally substituting in peanut butter toast, yogurt or a smoothie) around 7:30 AM and I always have coffee or tea (black). Typically I am so sluggish in the morning and don’t feel like I am very productive and awake until around 10 or later and I am usually starving and wanting a snack by then too. However, yesterday, I was low on groceries and on whim treated myself to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. I ate around the same time, and had a cup of black coffee plus two donuts for breakfast. I felt great, wide awake, and super productive all morning, didn’t get hungry again until after noon and didn’t feel a “crash” at any point. I know that is not a healthy breakfast to have regularly (high in fat and sugar, and low on protein and fiber…and really anything nutritious). However, from a “listen to your body” perspective, the unhealthy breakfast beats the healthy one by a mile. Why is that? Do you think that there’s something healthy I can do to replicate that level of energy and satiety? A higher calorie healthy breakfast? Add some healthy fat to my breakfast? –although I have to say peanut butter toast doesn’t usually perform any better energy-wise than my usual milk and cereal. Thanks for your thoughts. Love your blog! Mee_in_DC

A: My first guess is that the high fat content from the doughnuts was responsible for you feeling satiated for longer and the coffee (? larger than you usually have at home) boosted your energy. Two glazed doughnuts provide about 18 grams of fat and 440 calories and the smallest choice for coffee is usually 12 ounces which contains anywhere from 150-200 milligrams of caffeine. Although it’s not a nutritious breakfast it could keep you full (fat empties the stomach slowly) and energized but don’t be fooled by it…if you were to eat that everyday it would definitely catch up with you. I would stick with your usual routine and maybe consider increasing the portion size a little to hold you over longer or try splitting the meal up into two parts and eat one at 7:30 and the other at 10 when you start to feel hungry again. If these suggestions don’t work then try to increase the protein and or healthy fat content a little and see what happens. eatlikeme

Q: I have a question regarding lunch meat. I just saw on Good Morning America that there is new study out that says that processed lunch meat has a LOT of salt and unsaturated fat which is leading to Cancer and heart disease. They said that women should not eat processed lunch meat that much and that we should not be feeding it to our kids at all. I would like to know your thoughts on this as you eat sandwiches often and if you will feed Will lunch meat? KGromm

A: There are a lot of bad lunch meats out there for sure. I usually only buy roasted turkey or chicken and I am very specific about the brands I buy. I sometimes buy ham but not very often. I never buy bologna, salami or other highly processed selections. You have to do your research using brand websites to know what you are really getting (calories and ingredients). I have moved away from ordering lunch meat at just any old sandwich shop when I have the choice because I know that meat is usually not the same as I buy at the store. I do give Will sliced turkey and chicken but again I have very high standards for the brand and I’ll find a protein alternative for him if they don’t have what I am looking for. eatlikeme

Q: I’ve been a faithful reader of your blog and love your posts! I was wondering if you could give some good guidelines to portion sizes. I have a hard time knowing what 6 ounces of salmon looks like or how many ounces a piece of bread is. For grains, I’ve tried to figure out the grams of carbohydrates to ounces of grains (for but was wondering if you could give some guidelines to follow. Mmardoian

A: MyPyramid has an excellent link on their site all about portions – they provide nice visuals and I think it’s just what you are looking for. eatlikeme

Q: I have a question about hummus. I like hummus and eat it sometimes with veggies or crackers as a snack or part of lunch, and I have noticed you do the same. I think of it as a protein source (part of the “meat and beans” group) but the other day I noticed that on the hummus I had the nutrition facts listed only 2g of protein per serving. That’s even less than in the crackers I was eating (4g). Does hummus really count as a serving of “meat and beans” with so little protein? Clearly you consider it to be a good nutritious choice to have sometimes so I was just wondering how you think it compares to another protein source such as turkey or peanut butter. Thanks! Mee_in_DC says

A: Yes, hummus which is made from garbanzo beans and olive oil is considered a source of “Meat & Beans” as well as a source of “Oil” according to MyPyramid. A 2 Tablespoon serving does only provide 2 grams of protein but it counts as a 1-ounce equivalent of Meat & Beans because it provides 60 calories as well as micronutrients (vits/minerals) beyond the protein. It is nutritious and it can be included as part of a healthy diet. Turkey and peanut butter are also excellent sources of lean protein and all three should be consumed to keep variety in the diet. eatlikeme

Q: I had a question: so I have a gluten intolerance and mainly keep to a gluten free diet. Though I feel so much better, I constantly full hungry throughout the day and wanted to know if this possibly could be because of my low wheat/carb intake??? I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables (more fruit then veggies) throughout the day to try and curb my hunger but it only works for a little bit. Do you have any suggestions to help me feel full??? mandipi22

A: If you just eliminated all grains from your diet when you were told to go gluten free then it’s not surprising that you are hungry. There are still many natural grain choices you could include that would provide fiber and keep you feeling full longer – here is a complete list for you to use ( There are also lots of gluten-free commercial choices out there so look for a special section in your grocery store to find these too. If your doctor recommended a gluten free diet then he/she also should have provided you with some guidance or referred you to a dietitian for help. It’s not an easy diet to follow so seek out some help if you are confused. eatlikeme

Q: Just wondering what your thoughts are on seafood consumption while trying/during pregnancy. Everything I read has mixed information. My husband and I are taking a vacation to Boston then up to Maine. We are currently trying. Wondering how much seafood (particulary lobster) I can safely enjoy while I am there? Also, what are your thoughts on prenatal vitamins with DHA? Any information will be helpful! Thanks! Enjoy your day! Semirg

A: Technically there are just four fish you should totally avoid while either trying to become pregnant or when you actually are pregnant and those are: shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. In addition to these you should also watch your intake of tuna fish – you should limit intake to 12 ounces per week if you are choosing chunk light tuna and 6 ounces per week if you chose canned albacore or a tuna steak. Avoid any and all raw seafood – these pose serious foodborne illness risks. As for Maine lobster, I found some general stats on the mercury content and it appears similar to albacore tuna so I would limit your consumption to 1 or 2 at most for the week (and avoid the tuna that week). I asked my doctor about prenatal vitamins with DHA and she recommended (to my liking) to get the DHA from foods instead so I focused on doing that. Good luck! eatlikeme

Q: Cristin, how do you grill the sweet potatoes? Is there a particular way you dress them or anything? How long do they typically take to cook? Thanks! cbare1127

A: I just brush both sides with olive oil and let them cook for at least 10 minutes on each side depending on the thickness. You have to use a pretty low heat so they don’t burn – it takes a little while but they taste great in the end! eatlikeme

Q: Christin, Can you tell us about virgin coconut oil? I’ve read conflicting views on usage and nutritional value. Will you please clarify? Thanks! Kayjbe

A: I could not find a website that was valid enough for me to believe everything on it regarding virgin coconut oil. Mostly what I gathered is that there have been some health benefits seen in the tropical communities where the oil has been used but my concern is that you can not translate those benefits into our American diet because the food we eat is of much different composition. I have never learned in my schooling or continuing education about any extraordinary benefits to this oil and I would make the safe the recommend of sticking with oils we know about – olive, canola, vegetable, soybean, safflower or soybean. If I find some valid information on this I will share it with you all in a post or future Q&A. eatlikeme

Q: As an RD I am sure you now that children under the age of one year is not supposed to eat beets and other nitrate rich vegetables such as spinach. This is because their kidneys are not yet working at full capacity. Probably no harm done this once, but keep it in mind. MedSmarts

A: I appreciate you bringing this topic to my attention and everyone else’s – do you have a source supporting the delay of introducing these foods until 12 months? I researched this as it was a surprise to me and what I found was an article in Pediatrics (publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics) that said nitrate rich foods (such as green beans, carrots, squash, spinach, and beets) should not be introduced before 3 months of age which should not be problematic for any child since solid foods should not be introduced until 4-6 months of age. Apparently a much bigger problem is the introduction of nitrates through formula made with well water which is known to contain large amounts of nitrates. I am of course interested to know though if there are other published guidelines regarding these foods. My pediatrician never said anything and I have not read it in any of my parenting materials (books, websites, etc). Please share with us so we can all be informed – thanks! eatlikeme

Q: What’s your opinion on flavored instant oatmeal for breakfast? Nearly every morning at work I have 1 packet of peaches and cream with a cut up banana in it. I love it. And, silly question, but do you drink your milk out of your cereal bowl when your done eating? 🙂 Shaanon1

A: Flavored oatmeal does taste great – brings back childhood memories for me – but unfortunately it contains a lot of sugar. One packet of peaches & cream has 12 grams of sugar compared to zero grams in a packet of plain. It’s great that you cut up fresh fruit and add it to the oatmeal because that adds more fiber and makes it more filling. If you really enjoy the Peaches & Cream flavor you should count 50 calories as discretionary calories (12 grams x 4 kcals per gram) and watch your intake of discretionary calories for the rest of the day. Alternatively you could try making your oatmeal with milk and adding fresh or drained canned peaches to it and see if you can recreate that Peaches & Cream taste without the added sugar. The additional of protein from the milk makes the oatmeal more filling and slower to digest so you might find you get more satiation out of it this way too. And for your second question, I do drink the milk from my cereal bowl 🙂 eatlikeme

Q: I am wondering how the corn bread is whole grain.. is corn meal considered a whole grain? That is great news if so because I love corn bread, and that would be a bonus 🙂 keer38

A: Stone-ground cornmeal is whole grain, but cornbread is often made with half cornmeal, half white flour so I would count it as 50% whole grain. I usually make my own cornbread so I know exactly what goes into it. It’s really not too bad for you and I do find the cornmeal makes it quite filling which is good for me too because I also love it! See my dinner post from today (10/6/09) to learn about a great boxed cornbread mix! eatlikeme

Both comments and pings are currently closed.