Friday, February 27, 2009

Healthy Snack Food

What would you say if I told you that one of America's most beloved party foods is actually healthy. This food is one that is gobbled up by both my little cousins and drunken male friends at the same lightning speed. If I told them that it was healthy, would it change their mind about this addicting snack? What if I told you, would it change your mind? I think that part of what makes "snack foods" fun to some people (especially kids and intoxicated men) is that it is not good for them and therefore satisfying. It is rare that you will find either of these groups of people reaching for an apple when they are trying to have a good time.

Are you ready for me to reveal the healthy snack?

It's Salsa! Salsa is a low-fat, nutrient-packed snack with only 10-15 calories per ounce (2 Tbsp)!! That means that if you eat an entire 16 oz. jar you would only consume 160-240 calories (although I don't recommend this).

Spicy, regular salsas are great, but sometimes I prefer sweeter ones like the one above with mango & peach (these are the ones that usually have more calories, but still nothing major)

I guess the problem with salsa is it's common sidekick- the fried tortilla chip. Dun, dun, dun...

Tortilla chips are fine in moderation, as is anything else. However, I do not think that our aforementioned friends--the kids and the drunk men-- practice the art of moderation. A lot of sober adults don't even practice this skill, including me sometimes!

Some lighter, yet still delicious, ways to enjoy salsa are:
  • On a baked potato- you can even add black beans, cheese, and a touch of sour cream

  • With baked tortilla chips- you might not know they exist if you have your blinders on at the grocery, but they're there

  • With baked pita chips- be careful, these can be addicting...

  • Make-your-own tortilla or pita chips- I like to take a whole wheat soft tortilla and stick it in the oven for a few minutes to crisp (keep a close eye so it doesn't burn). To make your own pita chips, cut into wedges, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and bake.
  • On an omelet or scrambled eggs- I used to cringe at the thought of this, until I went to FirstWatch for breakfast and tried it- Delicious!
  • On grilled chicken breast or your preferred protein, such as fish, beans (oooh, I love it with refried), beef, etc.

Don't be afraid to get creative with salsa. I can always find at least one brand on sale. With it's affordability, zesty flavor, and nutritional value, I think I'll dare to say that salsa may just be the perfect food. Now if I could only find the perfect guy...

Vitamin C and Kiwi! (Hey That Rhymes, Sort Of)

The other day in a conversation with my dad he informed me that according to him we are currently in a "limbo" period with the seasons. It is not Winter, but it is not yet Spring. It is not warm, but it is no longer bone-chillingly cold. Spring birds are chirping (as I mentioned in the last post) and geese are flying around honking as if to say "We're back, we're back- pull out your flip flops because Winter is over!"

I have to say I think that my dad might have something there. I like the idea of a limbo period because it makes these last, lingering Winter days a little easier to bear (after all, it's not even Winter, right?). One thing I have noticed that occurs during this in-between time---let's call it Winting; or should it be Wintering, Springter, Sprinter?--- is that people tend to get sick. I think it has something to do with the switch from cold to warm, but I'm no doctor. However, I do know that a little extra Vitamin C can help your immune system fight off some of the bugs. And by a little, I don't mean 1000mg provided by one of those powdered Vitamin C products. There's almost enough in there to cure an entire village of scurvy! (kidding of course).

The average male only needs about 90mg/day of Vitamin C and the average woman only needs 75mg/day. That's a HUGE difference from the marketed 1000mg! What some consumers don't realize is that Vit. C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that whatever the body doesn't need can be easily excreted in the--how can I say this politely?--lavatory.

Since this post is getting kind of long, let me just cut to the chase. As long as you eat a healthy diet most of the time, you should be able to get the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for Vitamin C. Foods that are kind enough to give the gift of this nutrient include: Oranges (1 provides 98mg), cooked brussels sprouts (1 cup= 97mg), strawberries (1 cup= 94 mg), kiwi (1 provides 57mg), and the list goes on.

I bought these at Sam's for $4 and some change.
At the grocery, kiwi are usually about $0.50 a pop.
This was a deal considering there were 15 kiwi,
making them each about $0.30 or less!

I wanted to shine the spotlight on the cute, fuzzy kiwi because not only does it taste great, but the 57mg+ it gives up from a tiny little fruit is pretty impressive. I don't think people really give kiwi the recognition it deserves: it's beautiful, tastes amazing, high in Vitamin C, good source of potassium and fiber, and also contains an enzyme called actinidin that can be used to tenderize meat (rub cut fruit on meat and let rest 30 min. before cooking).

Wow- sorry for the long post!! I could keep going, but I think I'll stop to save all of our sanity- Have a wonderful Friday!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fiber: Regularity as Exercise: Amazing Sleep

Sorry to be so blunt in the title, but they are facts of life. I debated back and forth on whether or not I should mention fiber in such a way, but that was the best analogy that I could come up with. Plus, with all of the Metamucil, Plum juice (the new, public-friendly name for prune), and Activia commercials out there, I don't think our society is very bashful about regularity anymore!

But this post is more about the Exercise: Amazing Sleep part of the analogy. Who would've guessed it?! Unfortunately, I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of exercise. I spout off the same old, tired excuses: I'm too tired, I don't have the time, I don't know what to do, yadda, yadda, yadda. Well lately, I have been forcing myself to do 1/2 hour each day, at the very least. Everyone can find 30 measly minutes in their day, right? Even if it's in front of the TV, it will be better than nothing. I promise.

This is my "home gym"- it includes an Elliptical I bought a few years ago. My brother used to swear it must have cost me $100 for each use (implying I barely used it, but since then the cost per use has definitely decreased because I use it a lot more). I also have an exercise ball and a jump rope with tigers on the handle. Hey, whatever works, right?

Ever since this whole change of heart that I've had towards exercise, here is what I have noticed*:

  • I sleep WAY better- I can't believe it really; I used to find myself googling "Insomnia" at 2am wondering what in the world was wrong with me. Now, I'm lucky if I make it past 10:30pm.

  • My skin is radiant- OK, maybe I'm exaggerating just a bit. I mean, I'm no Nicole Kidman, but it has definitely cleared up and feels a lot better.

  • My body feels better- I used to be sore all of the time, but in a bad way. Now, when I do get sore from the exercise, it's in a great way! I actually like muscle soreness after a workout because it lets me know I did something and it reminds me to keep it up! Keep in mind, this type of soreness doesn't always occur (like if you just went walking), but the activity is still beneficial!

  • I have more energy- Many people fall victim to the vicious cycle of not working out and having no energy. If you have no energy, how can you get off the couch and exercise after a long day of work? It may sounds crazy, but exercise will actually give you more energy than ever before. It might be hard the first few times, but after a while (not too long) you will find that you have more energy to get you through your workday. I recommend that you visually see yourself breaking this cycle. Go ahead- karate chop it and count that as your first little bit of exercise (Ha!).

With Spring well on it's way (I hope), it is a great time to decide to get active. In fact, I hear a Spring bird right now! Another benefit of exercise is that it often motivates and reminds us to eat clean, healthy foods. I am still trying to get acclimated to blogging, but you are going to start seeing more recipes and ideas for healthy meals and snacks soon!

*I do not have a degree in Exercise Science, nor am I a personal trainer. If you have questions about physical activity I would recommend visiting Erin Kurdyla's Fresh Fitness Tips blog over at I actually asked a question over there in the past and she gave a very lovely, detailed response!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Make-Me-Laugh Monday!

Mondays can be dull, depressing, boring, and looong. That's why I have decided to create "Make-Me-Laugh Monday!" I absolutely love comedians and would marry Demetri Martin in a heartbeat if I could. I recently discovered that Comedy Central has an entire website dedicated to Stand-up comedy; can I get an Amen?! The website is simply I can't help but think that someone else probably owned that domain name and made a killing off of it when Comedy Central decided they wanted it. I wish I would have thought to buy it in the past! Isn't that always the way? Like when the Snuggie came out, weren't you like, "Why didn't I think of that?!" Yeah, I wasn't either. But with other inventions that really do make it big, I always wonder why I didn't think of it first. Oh well, that's beside the point. Today isn't about beating yourself up for not inventing a multi-million dollar product; it's about celebrating Mondays, laughter, and my favorite comedian Demetri Martin!

Oh and by the way, my mom owns a snuggie. And that's no joke!

Here I am sporting that fine piece of fabric!

So to kick things off here are a few jokes from my future husband:

  • "I like fruit baskets because a fruit basket enables you to mail somebody fruit without appearing insane."

  • "I think they named oranges before they named carrots...

'What are these?'

'Those are orange: oranges.'

'What about these?'

'Oh, sh*t. Long pointies?'

Well, there you have it- a little food humor for your Monday. If you have any other jokes, great websites, or hilarious videos, I would love to hear about them! Now go and eat a long pointy!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Who to Believe?!

Eggs are bad for you. No wait, now they're good. Well, only eat the whites. Go ahead and eat the whole darn egg, they're good for you...

Oh, the confusion of it all!! I understand why people get frustrated with all of the conflicting health stories in the news. I am going to try to help you figure out when and when not to believe what you hear and give you some tools to find out the truth.

Research studies are being conducted all of the time. I know that if I was in the field of Clinical Research, I would be looking for the next big nutrition-related medical breakthrough. In a way, I don't blame them for constantly reaching new conclusions, but it does nothing but confuse the American public (as well as Dietitians sometimes!).

But how does the public decipher nonsense such as, "It is no longer necessary to drink 8 cups of water a day" or "Is coffee actually good for you? Find out after the break..."

No wonder people tend to just do what they want nutritionally- why should you listen to people that seem to have no idea what they are talking about?

Well, that's where Dietitians come in. We (and I use that term lightly since I am a new RD) are the Food and Nutrition experts. We have the knowledge, tools, and resources to help sort out the mess of information thrown at you by the media. I want to share some of these tools with you so that you are able to check the validity of the claims: This is the official website for the American Dietetic Association. Here you will find a Tip of the Day, Food and Nutrition Information, and can even locate a Nutrition Professional near you. There are a few areas that are restricted to members only; these will have a key next to them. However, if you have a question that you desperately need answered and are unable to find it in the tools I provide, you can ask me or contact a Dietitian near you. This is such a great website because it allows you to tailor a nutrition plan for yourself based on your age, weight, height, and physical activity. If you click on "My Pyramid Plan" it will customize the Food Pyramid to help you gain a better understanding of how much of each food group you should aim for each day. It also has special features for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as for children. If you click on "For Kids" there is a My Pyramid Blast Off Game that I have played with a class full of 5th graders that had a blast playing the game (sorry but I couldn't resist a corny joke!).

Another feature that the new and updated Pyramid includes is physical activity, which is wonderful since it goes hand-in-hand with nutrition. This website, operated by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), is a fun, interactive, and informative tool that I hope you will enjoy and share with your family. : This is another website brought to you by the USDA. It is a wealth of information for all things nutrition. You can find out What's in Food, Calorie and nutrient info for specific foods, weight management tools, grocery shopping/meal planning help, and much more! They also have a list of other Government Sites that may be of interest to you.

I could go on and on about the availability of information on the internet. But as we have already established, it can be difficult to know what is true, valid info. My only advice is to look for pages that are operated by large, credible organizations like the USDA, ADA, FDA, or even your local Health Department.

Good luck to you on your quest for true, honest, nutrition and health information that you can live by!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why Potassium Tube?

Potassium Tube = a banana. It’s that simple, but it’s not something that you would or should know. I grew up with a goofy dad that loved to make my brother and I laugh. I’m not sure when it started, but he always called bananas potassium tubes. And for good reason; 1 medium banana has approximately 470 mg of potassium! If we were having cereal for breakfast he would ask, “Do you want a potassium tube with that?”

I had a LOT of other ideas for a blog name before I had an epiphany of sorts. I love to write; so much so that I wish I had chosen a minor in journalism in college. I have also always had an extreme interest in food and nutrition, which is what led me to my actual major of Dietetics. Anyway, when I thought of the name Potassium Tube, I was ecstatic because it relates both to my interest in food and nutrition and my love of writing. Where does the link to writing come into play you ask? Well, I get it from the fact that people often refer to the TV as “the tube” and rely on it for information and entertainment. I can only hope that this blog will provide the same.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Welcome to My New Home...

Neat picture, don't you think?

This is my first post using blogger! For several reasons, I have decided to switch over here, and I think I'm going to really like it- I hope you will too! I haven't been a blogger for very long, but if you would like to check out some of my old posts, go to

One of the new features I have been able to add to the blog is a Super Natural Recipe Search thanks to Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks. I have been an avid follower of her blog for quite a while now, but have only commented several times. I now regret my near stalker-esque admiration of her blog because I like to let people know when I enjoy their work. So Heidi, if you're reading this, I want to let you know that I am a huge fan and appreciate your hard work.

Another thing I like about blogger is the professional look that I am able to achieve. Anyone that knows me is well aware of the fact that I am not up-to-speed with technology. I still prefer VHS to DVDs if that tells you anything.

In an effort to maximize the beauty and potential of my new blog, I am going to break through my technology block and learn the ropes of blogging. I hope you enjoy the site in its current state as well as through all of the changes that are yet to come!