Monday, April 25, 2011

Can I eat out in Tulsa and still Loose Weight?

Tulsa is full of great restaurants. We have wonderful little neighborhood eateries. We have an abundance of chain restaurants. We have fabulous gourmet spots.
I am a Dietitian. I live in Tulsa, and I LOVE to eat out. So how does a Tulsan with all these options eat healthy while eating out?
First of all, eating out should be a treat.  Keep it to a minimum. No more than 1-2 times per week. Second, fast food is not real food!!! You should not pay money for it. It should not go into your body. Save your money for a good meal at a real restaurant.  
Now, how to achieve your weight loss goals while enjoying those outings
Let’s start with chains. Most have online menus with nutrition information. Before you leave your house, check out the menu and decide on your order. This can also be done with your smart phone on the way;)  It is so much easier to make a good choice without the noise and smells of the restaurant to distract you. Avoid appetizers and desserts (way too many calories).
·         Ordering a salad is not automatically the safest choice. A lot of big restaurant salads have more calories than a cheeseburger! Example; Applebee’s Crispy Shrimp Cesar Salad is 1030 calories. The Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger is 970. This salad can be turned into a better choice by ordering the half salad with dressing ON THE SIDE, bringing the calorie count down to less than 400. Most restaurants put way too much dressing on salads. It’s better if you control that.
·         Look for special low-cal menus or special notations for low-cal items. 
·         Ask for steamed veggies instead of French fries or mashed potatoes.

The same rules apply to local restaurants of all kinds. The main difference is that you cannot always view these menus online (I usually try anyway).  Servers at local restaurants can be very helpful. They are usually knowledgeable about the menu, and can give you an idea about how dishes are made as well as portion sizes. 
·         Plan on sharing with a friend. If portions are known to be large, ask a tablemate to split an entre with you.
·         Plan to take some home. Ask your server to bring a to-go box with your food. Put at least half of your food in the box right away.  Don’t wait until you are finished eating. Many studies have shown that people eat 90% of the food on our plate, no matter how much food that is.
A little preparaton and forethought can make your dining experience enjoyable without ruining your weight management plans. So, go out, have a good time, and don't forget to get to the gym tomorrow;)

Monday, April 18, 2011


Are you getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet?
            Let’s face it, most of us don't (and no, French fries don’t count). In 2009, the CDC reported that less than 1/3 of Americans consumed 2 or more servings of fruit per day. Fewer than 20% of Oklahomans met this goal. Only 26.3% of Americans consumed 3 or more servings of vegetables per day*.  
                We all know that fruits and vegetables are full of valuable nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fiber, water, and cancer fighting antioxidants. Improving fruit and veggie intake can help with weight loss too, helping you feel full and satisfied without many calories. Here are some suggestions on how to bump up your intake of these valuable and tasty foods.
                Improving your fruit intake is easy. Fruits are the very BEST fast foods. Most require little or no preparation, just rinse and eat. Try adding a half cup of fresh berries to a cup of fat free Greek yogurt for your breakfast. Have a piece of fruit as a snack, or with your lunch. Voila!! that's 2 fruits today!
                Like fruits, many vegetables can be consumed with minimal preparation. Start with a big, colorful salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, red and yellow bell peppers, onions, black beans or chick peas, and a home-made vinaigrette. Add two ounces of grilled chicken or steak to the top, and an apple on the side, and you have a healthy and satisfying lunch or dinner. Change it up to suit your taste. Try different ingredients like almonds, walnuts, fruits and berries (fresh or dried). The possibilities are limitless.
                Try some meatless meals for dinner. Vegetarian cookbooks, magazines, and websites are excellent resources for new and interesting recipes. I have several favorites including this vegetarian stuffed bell pepper.


  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 medium green bell peppers


1)       In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, beans, rice, 1-1/2 cups cheese, corn, onion, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, pepper and salt; mix well. Remove and discard tops and seeds of green peppers. Fill each pepper with about 1 cup of the vegetable mixture. Place in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
2)       Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and cook 15 minutes longer or until peppers are tender and cheese is melted.

Recipe obtained from; modified by Amber Carson, RD/LD

          Remember that the USDA recommendations of 2 fruits and 3 vegetables per day is a minimum. This dietitian believes that 5 of each daily will make up a very healthy diet.
Happy eating,
*State-Specific Trends in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Adults --- United States, 2000—2009 Weekly; September 10, 2010 / 59(35);1125-1130KA Grimm, MPH, HM Blanck, PhD, KS Scanlon, PhD, LV Moore, PhD, LM Grummer-Strawn, PhD, Div of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; JL Foltz, MD, EIS Officer, CDC.