Milk Substitutes


By: Nikki Nies

For hundreds of years, milk derived from animals only, such as cow’s, sheep and goat. Yet, with lactose intolerance, maldigestion and the preference for non-dairy sources of milk emerging in recent years, the market and need for milk substitutes as increased multifold. Like there are differences in whole milk, 2% and skim milk, the nutrition content, flavor, color and texture of non-dairy milks–soy, rice, oat, 7 grain, hazelnut, hemp, almond and coconut vary.

 

Milk Type Description Texture/consistency Nutrients–1 cup Use
Whole great source of vitamin D, B12 and calcium 147 calories; 8.1 g fat; 98 mg sodium; 12.9 g carbs; 12.9 g sugar; 7.9 g protein; 276 mg calcium; 349.4 mg potassium; 98 IU vitamin D
1% great source of vitamin D, B12 and calcium 91 calories; 0.7 g fat; 130 mg sodium; 12.3 g carbs; 12.3 g sugar; 8.7 g protein; 316.2 mg calcium; 419.1 mg potassium; 98 IU vitamin D
Soy–plain obtained from soy bean; closest option to cow’s milk; contains vitamin B12 and D; processed; can be high in sugar; comes in sweetened, unsweetened and flavored varieties such as chocolate and vanilla creamy 100 calories; 4 g fat; 120 mg sodium; 8 g carbs; 6 g sugar; 7 g protein; 300 mg calcium; 300 mg potassium; 119 IU vitamin D vegan–baking, coffee, as is, cereal
Almond made from ground almonds, water and sweetener; has ⅓ of calories as 2% milk; magnesium and protein content is good for bone strength; contains less sugar than soy or rice milk; tends to be high in sodium; contains vitamins A, D & E; low in protein; higher in fat than skim milk thick 60 calories; 2.5 g fat; 150 mg sodium; 8 g cars; 7 g sugar; 1 g protein; 200 mg calcium; 180 mg potassium; 100 IU vitamin D cereal, coffee, sipping, baking
Coconut richest, creamiest of all milk alternatives; when purchased in a carton, tends to have a lower fat content and is not as creamy as in can form; high in saturated fat and calories thick, creamy 80 calories; 5 g fat; 30 mg sodium; 7 g carbs; 6 g sugar; 1 g protein; 450 g calcium; 40 g potassium; 100 IU vitamin D ice cream, Thai curry, moistens cakes; coffee; tea
Hemp best for those with nut or soy allergies; rich in omega 3 fatty acids; low in saturated fat; mixture of hemp seeds  and water; contains essential amino acids; fortified with vitamin D and A; low in protein thick, creamy; “earthy” 100 g calories; 6 g fat; 110 mg sodium; 9 g carbs; 6 g sugar; 2 g protein; 300 mg calcium; N/A potassium; 100 IU vitamin D smoothies; porridge; baking; cereals
7 Grain–original Oats, Brown Rice, Wheat,  Barley, Triticale, Spelt and Millet thin 140 calories; 2 g fat; 27 g carbs; 3 g protein; 115 mg sodium; 125 mg potassium biscuits, smoothies and cereals
Hazelnut considered “more agreeable” in flavor with coffee; supposedly “froths” better thin 110 calories; 3.5 g fat; 120 mg sodium; 16 g carbs; 0 g sugar; 2 g protein coffee, baking, vegan cooking
Oat Void of cholesterol and saturated fats; high in fiber, iron; contains phytochemicals, which can protect against heart disease and some cancers; must be avoided by those that need to adhere to gluten free diet thick and grainy 130 calories; 2.5 g fat; 24 g carbs; 110 mg sodium; 19 g sugar; 120 mg potassium on its own as a beverage, cereal, gravy, cupcakes, hearty cookies
Rice most hypoallergenic option of all milk alternatives; good for blood pressure due to niacin and vitamin B6 content; low in protein; not recommended for diabetics; highly starchy; often enriched with calcium, vitamin A & D watery, thin 70 calories; 2.5 g fat; 80 mg sodium; 23 g carbs; 10 g sugar; 1 g protein; 300 mg calcium; 0 mg potassium; 100 IU vitamin D oatmeal, smoothies and cereals–not recommended to be used in baking or cooking due to watery texture

With cow’s milk allergy reported to be the largest allergy in infants and children, it’s safe to say that these milk substitutes are a valuable resource. What’s your experience with these different milks? Have a particular preference you want to share? If you’re up to the challenge, why not make your own milk?
Sources: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/273982.php

http://www.eatingwithfoodallergies.com/milksubstitutes.html

http://www.wellnesstoday.com/nutrition-recipes/which-nut-milk-is-right-for-you

http://www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-dd-is-hazelnut-milk-the-new-almond-milk-20140416-story.html

https://www.behance.net/gallery/2681739/Primer-Milk-Alternatives

http://www.pacificfoods.com/food/non-dairy-beverages/nut-grain-beverages/organic-7-grain-original.aspx

https://www.behance.net/gallery/2681739/Primer-Milk-Alternatives

The Pantry Challenge


Original Image by Incase via Flickr
Original Image by Incase via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

With the new year approaching, there’s no better time to take on the Pantry Challenge! If you haven’t heard of this challenge, keep reading! By partaking on the Pantry Challenge, you can literally save hundreds of dollars that have been sitting in your house!  In addition, you have the opportunity to get a real cleaning done-literally and figuratively.  Starting the year on a fresh page will be great with this challenge, which aims for families to eat solely from their pantries.

The Pantry Challenge can sound intimidating, but with some quick preparation, it can be well worth it!

  1. Prior to the start of the challenge, estimate how much money you want to save and how long you aim to partake in the challenge
  2. Do a detailed inventory of pantry [fridge and freezer if you’re doing an entire overhaul]
  3. Create a meal plan for at least the first week of the challenge. If you need help creating meals, download the Plan It, Don’t Panic: A Complete Meal Planning Resource PDF to limit stress and worry while menu planning
  4. Make a short grocery list of any fresh foods needed to complete the meals
  5. Get cooking with your pantry’s ingredients!

To get your creative juices flowing, here are some foods I found in pantry that I plan to use in future meals:

  • Green Chiles: Thai green curry; salsa; quesadillas; sirloin tacos; enchiladas; green chile sauce; chili verde; pork green chile; chicken stew
  • Baked Beans: bean and pasta soup; bean and pepper tortilla pizza; chili bean dip; chili bean quesadillas; curried beans; enchiladas; macaroni hot pot; nachos
  • Tomato Soup: parmesan basil tomato soup; chicken tortilla bake; pasta fagioli; chicken with sun dried tomatoes; tomato chicken stir fry; corn chowder with sun dried tomatoes; beef barley stew
  • Bamboo Shoots:  sesame chicken; coconut thai chicken curry; moo goo gai pan; chicken lettuce wraps; Chinese rice soup; chicken dumplings
  • Diced Tomatoes: tortilla soup; Middle Eastern tomato salad; stuffed tomatoes; penne alla vodka; tomato corn salad; tomato and sausage risotto; creamy tomato bisque; tomato soup
  • Water Chestnuts: sesame chicken; coconut thai chicken curry; moo goo gai pan; chicken lettuce wraps; Chinese rice soup; chicken dumplings
  • Chickpeas: chickpea couscous; fried chickpeas; Mexican chipotle hummus; Lemony chickpea stir fry; sauteed chickpeas and kale; avocado and chickpea salad; fried chickpea polenta; chickpea and spinach spread
  • Chunky Tuna:

With the pantry challenge, it can expand your creative juices to use ingredients in multiple dishes! Notice that I can use bamboo shoots in the same dishes as water chestnuts? WIN-WIN!

Additionally, Pinterest has some great ideas to stretch those meals and make the most of pantry foods! What’s the most creative concoction you’ve made with pantry staples? If you’re up for additional challenges, expand the challenge to include freezer and fridge foods.Why not grab all family members to come up with meal ideas for the next week?!

Photo Credit: 5 Dollar Dinners and The Toddle in Favorite Five

Sources: http://lifeasmom.com/category/good-eats/eat-from-the-pantry-challenge

Pantry Challenge 2014

http://www.food.com/cookbook/pantry-challenge-recipes-30370

Everyday Mom: Real Life Pantry Challenge

http://www.simplifylivelove.com/monthly-menu-eat-pantry/

Let’s Save Some Money: The Eat from the Pantry and Freezer Challenge!

It’s an Egg-cellent Idea!


93935ddc76ee03c515d43e550bd86e02By: Nikki Nies

The topic of breakfast being the most important meal of the day has been driven into the ground quite nicely.  In addition, it’s a well known fact Santa Clause lives at the North Pole. Yet, the best breakfast options and how to make them are still up for discussion.  It’s not a coincidence that when impending storms are on hand people run to the grocery store for milk, bread and eggs.  With that said, 9/10 homes have eggs on hand in their fridge, but can be hesitant to use due to the controversy its affect on cholesterol levels and inconsistent recommendations of egg intake.

While the yolks of eggs contain the cholesterol, that doesn’t mean you have to shy away from eggs.  In moderation, which means no more than seven eggs per week, having eggs can be advantageous and without concern of increased risk of heart disease*.  Furthermore, in comparison to sodium, trans fat and saturated fat found in the accompaniments of eggs, sausage, ham, hash browns and the oil used to deep fry the foods, the cholesterol content found in chicken eggs is minimal. Also, using cholesterol free eggs or egg whites, which doesn’t contain the yolk part of the egg is recommended.

It’s unfortunate eggs receive such a bad wrap! If one’s mindful of the quantity of eggs consumed, more positive attention can be directed to eggs beneficial nutrient content

So, whether you’re already at the recommended seven eggs a day, there’s no harm in mixing up how you make your eggs! While I’m a sunny side up kind of gal, I vow to try a different use of eggs!

Fun Ways to Eat Eggs:

Original Image by Jodimichelle via Flickr
Original Image by Jodimichelle via Flickr
  • Omelettes, frittatas and quiches: Great way to get your daily recommended intake of vegetables,fruits and healthy oils
  • Hard Boiled: keeping a few hard boiled eggs on hand at all times is a great snack to take on the go; additionally can help cook eggs in advance in case of concerns of consumption prior to expiration date
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Mayo free egg salad. Can be eaten between two slices of bread, English muffin or as is!
  • Breakfast, lunch and/or dinner burrito: By adding eggs in a burrito filled with lean turkey, tomatoes and cheese, you’ll have your family asking for more! Also,make sure to add a spoonful of guacamole for extra flavor and texture!
  • Poached: by cooking in only water, it’s one of the healthiest ways to make eggs. You can’t beat the presentation either!
  • Deviled: many people put their own spin on deviled eggs.  Mix up the traditional recipe with curry powder, chopped celery and mayo!
  • Steamed (Chawan Mush): much easier than one would think, especially in clean up!
  • Egg Soup
  • Eggnog: doesn’t have to be designated to only December! Swap out the whip cream for a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
  • Rolled Omelet (Tamagoyaki): A traditional Japanese way of frying eggs
  • Tea Eggs: A traditional Chinese snack, soak hard boiled eggs in a mixture of soy sauce and tea

What egg-cellent ways do you make eggs? What ways do you plan to incorporate eggs into your meals?

*Seven eggs may be too much for those with diabetes, with 186 mg of cholesterol per one large egg, this may significantly increase risk of heart disease.  It’s recommended that those with diabetes, heart disease and/or high cholesterol, cholesterol intake should not exceed 200 mg per day.  To translate, that means no more than 4-6 eggs per week!

Photo Credit: Pinterest 

Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/expert-answers/cholesterol/faq-20058468

http://www.eggnutritioncenter.org/health-professionals/patientclient-education/

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/eggs/

Should I Stop Eating Eggs to Control Cholesterol? (Diet Myth 4)

http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/cooking-ideas/20-quick-and-easy-ways-cook-eggs

http://www.rd.com/slideshows/leftover-egg-yolks-clever-uses/

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/good-eggs-for-nutrition-theyre-hard-to-beat

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/14/ask-well-how-many-eggs-can-i-eat/?_r=0

http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/eggs-and-cholesterol

How I’m Studying for the RD Exam


By: Nikki Nies

With the impending RD Exam around the corner, I’m sharing not only my method of studying, but hoping this will spark conversation regarding what has worked for other people and what study materials I may not be familiar with.

On a daily basis, I plan to study 60-90 minutes, with a culmination of: log12

Wish me luck as I embark on these studies! If any one else is studying for the exam and would like to bounce ideas off one another, contact me and let me know! Happy studying!

Photo Credit: Visual Veggies 

Sources: http://visualveggies.com/rd-practice-exam-software-study-guides/rd-practice-exam-2012

Food & Nutrition Magazine


food-nutrition-mag-logoBy: Nikki Nies

Are you a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND)? AND is the largest American organization of food and nutrition professionals. If so, do you actively read their published Food & Nutrition Magazine? It’s a fantastic, evidence based bi monthly magazine that is created and written by Registered Dietitians Nutritionists (RDNs) for RDNs.

This magazine has a plethora of information, everything from food related movie reviews to a list of RDN-Approved Desserts to the exploration of the latest food trendsIMG_8456

Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Blog, Stone Soup, is a guest blog written by members of AND. Some of the latest posts include Shaved Carrot and Fennel Salad, how to get ready for National Kiwifruit Day and  Winter Running Essentials.

I’m a huge fan of Food & Nutrition magazine due to their immaculate content, collaborative efforts and last, but not least, their dazzling pictures. If you’re a fan of the magazine, why not try your hand at becoming more involved in the production and creation of the magazine? To pitch a story,  Food & Nutrition Magazine welcomes engaging, dynamic journalism about food and food trends, innovations in research and practice, and explorations of the cultural and social factors that shape Americans’ diets and health.

Photo Credit: Food & Nutrition Magazine

Last Minute Christmas Meal Prep


10862700_10153070449640312_9052450153634395045_oBy: Nikki Nies

It can be a juggle to get everything done on your to-do-list on time-with home and work responsibilities taking over every extra minute. When holiday parties and expectations come around, at times it can feel like another chore, not a time of relaxation. Yet, by using a few ingredients that you have on hand, as you partake in the Pantry Challenge, holiday gatherings don’t have to be spent all day in the kitchen, but with loved ones!

While food allergies and preferences must be considered, there are some traditional dishes that must make it on the Christmas dinner table! SA6281

The great aspect of all the above recipes are that they are few ingredient recipes and not labor intensive. Lastly, if you’re feeling up to it, check out Real Simple’s Ultimate Christmas Checklist to ensure your house and family are as festive as can be! Have a happy and safe holiday!

Photo Credit: Eating Well 
Sources: http://www.hercampus.com/health/food-nutrition/7-delicious-healthy-holiday-snacks

green monster popsicles recipe

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/flank-steak-pinwheels-recipe.html

http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/christmas/holiday-gift-list-worksheet

What Your MD Won’t Disclose


By: Nikki Nies

Wouldn’t you want to know if your doctor was a paid spokesman for a drug company? Or held personal beliefs incompatible with the treatment you want? Right now, in the US at least, your doctor simply doesn’t have to tell you about that. And when physician Leana Wen asked her fellow doctors to open up, the reaction she got was … unsettling.

Pearly Whites for the Long Haul


By: Nikki Nies

With 3/4 of adults having a certain level of periodontal disease, whether its the simple gum inflammation to the damage to soft tissue and bone that support the teeth, these issues can be prevented with proper oral care, which includes brushing, flossing and a healthful diet.

Thank you Health Perch for sharing this great infographic!

healthy-mouth-2

Photo Credit: Health Perch 

Great in Size, Too Much in Nutrients


By: Nikki Nies

Unlike a typical restaurant review, which includes the evaluation of service, ambiance, and/or décor, we’re reviewing restaurants a little bit differently! Sensational Sustenance is redirecting one’s attention to the nutrient content of its menu items! We aim to not only evaluate the flavors in the entrees, but how nutrient rich entrees are in relation to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans using our own proprietary score sheet: Healthy Food Critic’s Ultimate Review Form for Restaurant Entrees. I recently made a trip to TGI Friday’s to check out their dishes!

TGI Friday’s name derives from the expression of TGIF—Thank Goodness It’s Friday, with its chain famous for red striped canopies, brass railings, Tiffany lamps and the use of antiques as décor. In 1965, Alan Stillman opened the first TGI Friday’s in New York. Since then, Friday’s has expanded to over 61 countries and is found ubiquitously in the United States. It advertises itself as a casual dining restaurant chain “…with a festive vibe serving beer, cocktails and a wide menu of American fare.” Without a doubt, they promote their alcoholic drinks, with promo deals plastered everywhere, starting with the entrance and ending in the bathroom.

This past week, I went to Friday’s with a colleague of mine, so you’ll be getting double reviews on this eating establishment! It was interesting to see the difference in experience, as my colleague and I have different food preferences, yet I’m glad I took her with me as I would’ve walked away from Friday’s with a more negative outlook than I did.

IMG_8540Since my initial run through the Friday’s menu didn’t indicate any “lighter” or “health conscious” menu options, I inquired with the waitress if there were healthier options. She confirmed that there wasn’t a designated healthy section, but directed me to the lunch specials, which are smaller in portions (one is served half of a sandwich) and a great value. Even though there were no nutrient or calorie listings provided on the menu, my colleague chose a House Salad with Bleu Cheese Dressing and a ½ BLT sandwich with avocado. The House Salad was described as “freshly chopped romaine, red cabbage, grape tomato, cucumber, mixed cheese and focaccia croutons with choice of dressing and a hot garlic breadstick.” There was no description of the BLT to compare to the actual dish to be served, but BLTs are pretty self-explanatory.

I opted for the House Salad without dressing and one of the “Handhelds” options, ½ of a California Club, which was described as “Mesquite-smoked turkey breast, apple wood-smoked bacon, ham and Monterey Jack cheese on a freshly baked toasted baguette with freshly chopped romaine, tomatoes, avocado and mayo.” I asked for the mayo to be omitted.

Once again, it is worth noting that there weren’t any calories listed on any menu options. TGI Friday’s Favorites were denoted with a “FAV” icon and dishes that could be modified for the Gluten Sensitive were denoted with a blue “GS” icon.

IMG_8551When the dishes came, I was surprised to see it had fries were on the plate. There was no notation next to the lunch dishes that the salads and sandwiches came with fries. Whereas, my colleague was fine with the fries, I didn’t see the harm in asking for a substitution in the fries. The waitress was kind enough to let me substitute fresh spinach for the fries. I was so happy to be able to switch side options as the fresh spinach was a hidden gem! Not only was the spinach sautéed, but it also came with sautéed mushrooms and shaved parmiggiano reggiano!

To limit confusion of dishes, we shall talk about the nutrient content and overall meal experience of my colleague first.

My colleague noted no specific aroma was present in her house salad or her ½ BLT sandwich & Avocado.  My colleague evaluated her overall experience as “liking very much”, as she was provided a generous portion of salad, considered her meal as a great value with the served entrees matching the menu descriptions. Yet, she noted no apparent aroma was present, but that did not alter her dining experience.

IMG_8545After evaluating the dish, I was able to retrieve further nutrition information on the House Salad with Bleu Cheese Dressing and ½ BLT & Avocado on Friday’s website:

  • House Salad with Bread Stick*: 210 calories; 3 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 30 g carbohydrates; 280 g of sodium; 8 g of protein; 4 g of fiber; 7 g of total fat
  • Bleu Cheese Dressing: 320 calories; 7 g saturated fat; 1 g trans fat; 2 g carbohydrates; 580 g sodium; 3 g protein; 500 g sodium; 0 g fiber; 34 g total fat
  • ½ BLT & Avocado with Fries Only: 600 calories; 12 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 35 g carbohydrates; 1510 g sodium; 19 g protein; 4 g fiber; 43 g total fat

*No breadstick provided with lunch special, which may reduce overall nutrients provided. Since we did not see the size of the breadstick, the nutrient content of the House Salad without the breadstick cannot be positively assessed.

In comparison to the evaluations’ healthy option measures, unfortunately, none of the healthy option parameters were met.  The breakdown:

Healthy Option Parameters1 House Salad with Bleu Cheese Dressing and ½ BLT & Avocado
600 calories or less 1020 calories—was not served breadstick with House Salad, estimated House Salad was 100 calories, not 210 calories that the nutrition information was listed on Friday’s website with the breadstick
At least 50% is fruit or nonstarchy vegetables ½ the meal was bread, French fries and croutons
Grain based items are at least 50% whole grains No indication of whole grains
Total fat is less than 30% of total calories 74%
Sodium is less than 750 g 2190 g
Less than 10% of calories from saturated fat 19%
Low in Added Sugars No indication of added sugars

1Healthy Option Parameters are based upon the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

While my colleague filled out a Sensory Evaluation Form on her meal, her overall takeaway of the meal was that she “like[d] the meal very much.” She was provided a generous salad, with a great variety in texture—as she likes crunchy, crispy foods. Yet, the meal was heavy on carbohydrates, with French fries, focaccia croutons and the toasted baguette. Additionally, we were not aware that we were able to substitute French fries for other sides until we requested.

The lunch special was a good value, with the salad alone priced $4.50. In total, her lunch was $6.99, but in further investigation of the nutrient content, Friday’s entrees are not the best “nutrient” deal as it didn’t meet ANY of the Healthy Option Parameters, in fact, exceeding the parameters overwhelmingly!

Now, onto the evaluation of my dishes:

  • House Salad with Bread Stick*: 210 calories; 3 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 30 g carbohydrates; 280 g of sodium; 8 g of protein; 4 g of fiber; 7 g of total fat
  • California Club: 600 calories; 10 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 36 g carbohydrates; 2140 g sodium; 24 g protein; 4 g fiber; 40 g total fat
  • Fresh Spinach: 180 calories; 5 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 8 g carbohydrates; 570 g sodium; 4 g protein; 2 g fiber; 14 g total fat

*No breadstick was provided with lunch special

Healthy Option Parameters1 House Salad with no dressing; ½ California Club; fresh spinach
600 calories or less 880 calories—was not served breadstick with House Salad, estimated House Salad was 100 calories, not 210 calories
At least 50% is fruit or nonstarchy vegetables ✓– Substituted Fresh Spinach for French Fries
Grain based items are at least 50% whole grains No indication of whole grains used
Total fat is less than 30% of total calories 62%
Sodium is less than 750 g 2990 mg sodium
Less than 10% of calories from saturated fat 18%
Low in Added Sugars No indication of added sugars used

1Healthy Option Parameters are based upon the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

I’m glad I was able to substitute the French Fries that came with the ½ sandwich for Fresh Spinach. Once I requested the substitution, I was told I could replace it with any of the sides—Fresh Broccoli, Ginger-Lime Slaw, Classic Fries, Parmesan Steak Fries, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potato Fries, Jasmine Rice Pilaf, Tomato Mozzarella Salad or Cheddar Mac & Cheese.

IMG_8546Based on the nutrient content provided on Friday’s website, the Fresh Spinach was 180 calories, 5 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 8 g carbohydrates; 570 g sodium; 4 g protein; 2 g fiber; 14 g total fat, which I find extremely hard to believe. Yes, the spinach had cheese and mushrooms included, but the listing of the spinach as 180 calories has to be error as sautéed spinach is no more than ~70 calories. Perhaps, Friday’s is counting the oil used to cook the spinach, but I have a hard time believing spinach would be close to 200 calories. With that said, if I weren’t able to substitute the Fresh Spinach, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the lunch as much as I did. I found the Fresh Spinach is a hidden gem of the menu!

The sandwich and fries were placed on a dish that was exorbitantly too large for the amount of food served. In relation to healthy portion sizes, the portions met those measurements—with my salad 1.5 cups, sandwich 4.5 inches and the spinach at ½ cup. While the average American might complain the sandwich is “too” small for their liking, the portions do reflect Dietary Guideline options. In addition, the fries appeared to be placed sloppily on the dish. I’m not a fan of crispy, crunchy food and as the bread was toasted, I had a hard time eating the sandwich.

I didn’t have any issues with the amount of spices, seasonings nor the amount of sour, acid and/or brightness of the dish. I found that the dish had a variety of flavors, meeting my flavor preferences.

I wouldn’t necessarily deem the dishes healthy, as the sandwich initially came with French Fries, but since I modified the meal to my food preferences, which I happen to like fresh vegetables, I was able to pick healthier choices.

Again, I was impressed with the Fresh Spinach. The House Salad was a traditional chef salad, with no particular menu development added to the salad. I liked that there were a variety of dressings available, including Avocado vinaigrette and Honey Mustard. I would say I was served a generic dish that I could find in many restaurants. I wouldn’t go out of my way to go to Friday’s for their lunch specials.500px-Tgi_fridays_logo13.svg

I applaud Friday’s portion sizes, but I have to be realistic that we ordered from the lunch menu, willingly ordering ½ sandwiches. Other dishes on the lunch and dinner menus are significantly larger in size than what we ordered, pleasing the average consumer’s plate serving expectations. Friday’s bleakly met a few of the Healthy Options Parameters, exceeding recommended calorie amount, sodium content, total fat and saturated content. I don’t want to sound like I’m touting my own horn, but if I hadn’t swapped out the French fries for the Fresh Spinach, my meal’s nutrient content would not have met the nonstarchy vegetable parameter and my fat intake would have skyrocketed if I had consumed the French fries. One must be an educated consumer to recognize the potential food swaps at Friday’s.  To conclude, Friday’s nutrient content is by no meals up to par with the servings provided.

Sources: TGI Friday’s Nutrition Content and TGI Friday’s Tumblr

“Cleanliness is Next to Godliness”


By: Nikki Nies

An elementary teacher, Ms. Courtney Lee Simpson, performed an experiment to teach her students about germs and how they spread.  Using three slices of bread, the first slice of bread was placed in a sandwich bag with gloves on.  This slice of bread was considered the “control.” Then she washed her hands and put a piece of bread in another sandwich bag, labeling the bag as “clean.” Lastly, she passed around the slice of bread around the classroom, allowing each child to touch the bread.  That slice of bread was placed in a sandwich bag and labeled with “dirty hands.”

image1

Over time, the bread changed due to the germs exposed.  As we know, people learn best from visual transformations and partaking in experiments.  This is a great reminder of the importance of hand washing that will surely stick with you with the upcoming new year!

Whether you’re a teacher yourself, a nutrition educator and/or an adventurous parent, try this experiment yourself! You won’t look at germs or bread the same!