Don’t Hold The Dressing

Have you ever entered a restaurant, ordered a salad without the dressing, then munched unsatisfyingly on crap lettuce… only to find yourself reaching for a cookie 30 minutes later?
Have you ever skipped the dressing because it would make eating a salad “pointless” or because you were worried you would be judged?

WELL, I just want to tell you right now:
YOU CAN HAVE THE DRESSING?

Whether the dressing you’re considering is dairy-based, oil-based, or vegetable-based… you CAN enjoy it and still make a healthy decision.
P.s- If someone judges you for adding dressing on your salad… don’t eat meals with them, they’re a jerk.

The important thing when choosing a dressing is that it fits your meal/appetite and that you eat the APPROPRIATE serving size.
Now, just to be clear: THE WHOLE BOTTLE OF RANCH IS NOT AN APPROPRIATE SERVING SIZE.
This can be a little challenging if you’re out to eat so the best way to tackle that is to ask for your dressing on the side. It will take a little extra leg work to mix your salad, but it will help you with portion control.

Next, I’m going to generalize dressings (and sauces) into three categories:

  1. Dairy-Based- Alfredo sauce, Ranch, Blue Cheese, Butter sauce, Mayo-based, etc.
  2. Oil Based- Vinaigrettes
  3. Other- Condiment Based dressings: Mustard, Bbq sauce, Salsa, Tomato Sauce, etc.

*With categories 1 & 2, the primary concern for most individuals here would be either high-fat content (if you track macros) or the high calories for a single serving.

*With category 3 dressings/sauces will likely be low calorie but may be high in sodium (if you track that kind of thing).

Now that we’ve broken that down, I want to analyze the reasons most people reach for dressings.

  1. Their food may be dry or bland (or they just eat it for every meal every day and need something to “switch” it up).
  2. They don’t enjoy the item they’re eating (usually veggies here, let’s be real).
  3. It’s standard to add dressing or sauce to salad, pasta, chicken parm, you name it, AND you don’t really need an “excuse.”

And here’s why (in my opinion) we shouldn’t HOLD the dressing if that’s what we want.

  1. You may be more willing to eat nutrients your body needs. For example, maybe your child won’t eat carrots without ranch. Is it really a “hard no” just because Ranch is high in fat… or is it worth it to give him/her a little so they’ll eat some GOOD FOR YOU foods?
  2. Nobody wants to eat plain, bland, or repetitive meals. Now, you could always add seasonings to make the meals a little different, but pouring a little oil or dressing over your chicken breast isn’t likely to kill you ASSUMING you practice moderation and proper serving sizes.
  3. Sometimes it is just good for your mind to eat food that’s a little higher in calories or that you know isn’t a “diet food.” You won’t gain weight from eating 2 TBSP of Ranch dressing or 1/4c of Alfredo sauce once a week. AND if you do… it would likely be because you’re not actually in a caloric deficit.

BUT, the cool thing about dressing and sauces is that in addition to the traditional items we’re used to, there are also tons of lighter and healthier alternatives out there!


I’ll link a few articles and recipes if you’re looking to make your own dressings and sauces but for those of you needing some store-bought options, look no further:

  • Bolthouse Dressings– They’re yogurt-based (I swear they’re the best yogurt-based dressings I’ve had), making them lower in fat and calories. We’re talking less than 50 calories for one serving. I keep four bottles of this brand in my fridge at all times.
  • Oils– There are many different options here in the oil market, but essentially, get what you like or what fits your nutrition plan. I personally prefer an olive oil/canola oil mixture and add balsamic vinegar to that with a few seasonings to make a homemade dressing.
  • Panda Express sauces– If you’re sick of rice, green beans, and chicken, drop a little bit of these sauces (you can find them in the noodle aisle, I believe) if you want to “spice” your meal up. *These are heavily processed, so if you’re looking for an item that you can name all of the ingredients, keep walking by this one.
  • Salsa– This is such an incredible option to add variety to your meals because it’s low in calories (although some can be high in sodium), and there are hundreds of different variations.
  • Pasta sauce: I’ve made my own before using a recipe from MEAL LIME, but it was even better when I added a store-bought pasta sauce that had a lot of veggies to it. My tip here would be to avoid a cheesy sauce unless that is what you’re going for. I love grabbing ‘Mom and Pop’ brands from our local grocery stores. These are usually on the top shelf (in my experience). Otherwise, watch the sodium content and grab whatever flavor/brand strikes your fancy.
  • Greek Yogurt-I spoke earlier about Bolthouse dressing, but I want to talk “in general” about dairy based dressings or sauces. When I’m looking for a healthier option for a dairy-based dressing or sauce, I almost ALWAYS use greek yogurt. It has a similar consistency, higher protein, more probiotics, and is equally as “bitter.” This is an awesome (and a quick way) to make your own dressings or sauces and cut down on the “junk.” This can also make high-calorie items – low calorie. * It’s the perfect substitute for sour cream btw.
  • Honey/Syrup– I didn’t plan to write about this one, but I know sometimes a dressing or sauce can be for a sweet dish. Just remember, honey is a GREAT tool and is low on the glycemic index (but still high in calories). There are also several low calorie (and even no-calorie) syrups out there… it just depends on your preferred level of processing.
  • Apple Butter– Do yourself a favor and check out last week’s blog and whip up some of that. You’ll find yourself adding it to everything. It’s low calorie (although you’re in control of that), sweet, and delicious.
  • And lastly, a condiment I just recently discovered: Honey Mustard. NO… not the dressing (that would be a calorie killer), but honey MUSTARD. Mustard is about as low (or no) calorie as condiments get, and I’ve recently discovered that honey mustard is EVEN BETTER. Still zero calorie (don’t ask me how maybe it’s magic), but it’s good on just about anything you’re looking to spice up (plain chicken and veggies, veggies, and rice, a burger, a sandwich, snacks, eggs)… TRY IT!

Now that you’re probably hungry, I’ll remind you about the tips I have for making dressing/sauce choices:

  • Go lighter when you can/when you want to.
  • Get your dressing on the side!
  • Make your own at home 🙂
  • Buy mom & pop type sauces
  • Snag some yogurt-based dressing (OR mix some of your dairy dressing of choice with greek yogurt and little water!
  • MUSTARD.

And if you’re ready to try your hand at homemade dressings/sauces, here are a few that I think could be fun!

  1. https://cookieandkate.com/healthy-honey-mustard-dressing-recipe/
  2. https://pinchmegood.com/4-easy-healthy-salad-dressing-recipes-you-need-to-try/
  3. Wow: I’m making this ASAP
    https://littlebitsof.com/2016/09/easy-healthy-five-minute-sauces/
  4. https://www.bonappetit.com/gallery/healthy-sauce-recipes

If you try here or have your own dressing/sauce recipes, let me know what you LOVE.
-C

Quarantine Dieting

Can you maintain a healthy diet while QUARANTINING?

I sincerely hope that this post finds all of you well and that you continue to remain so throughout the remainder of this epidemic.

Despite the Coronavirus and potential quarantines, some of us may be looking for healthy ways to survive instead of eating our weight in junk food and Ramen for 2+ weeks or months.

*Disclaimer: 1. If your grocery stores are sold out of fresh foods, it’s inherent that you’re going to eat some “less than healthy” foods. 2. If you’re already in quarantine, ill, or immunocompromised and can’t grocery shop or get groceries delivered to your door, by all means… EAT WHATCHA GOT.

BUT, if you’re looking for healthy suggestions to snag at the grocery store, Keep Reading.

I gotcha.

  • FRESH fruits and veggies:
    • Canned and frozen are better than none, but nothing can match the nutrient value of fresh produce.
    • I find berries, apples, lil’ cuties, and broccoli are devoured the quickest in my home. They’re nutrient-dense, versatile for recipes, and make a great snack.
    • Applesauce and smoothies are great options as well.
    • Don’t forget to grab some lemons as well to keep your water exciting.
  • QUALITY proteins:
    • Quality protein options for my family look like frozen salmon, eggs, rotisserie chicken, beans, nut butter, trail mix, and our favorite protein bars.
    • Keeping quality proteins on hand will help you manage your hunger while also assisting the body in creating ANTIBODIES!!! 
    • It will also help repair your muscles after you absolutely wreck those at-home workouts you’re hopefully doing.
  • DRINKS:
    • Tap or bottled, it doesn’t really matter, but GET YOUR WATER IN.
    • Electrolyte drinks can also be helpful during this time, so grab those but keep an eye on the calories, carbs, and added sugars.
  • SOUP:
    • When you’re sick, it’s essential to stay hydrated, which can be a chore when your appetite is low.
    • Keeping soup in the house can come in handy if you do become sick, lose your appetite, or just don’t feel like making a four-course meal.
  • COMPLEX Carbs:
    • Grabbing some non-perishable carbs are pretty important when preparing for quarantine. 
    • Some carbs currently in my pantry are rice, pasta, oats, sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, crackers, and popcorn.
    • If you remember from my previous spotlight post on carbohydrates, they’re the most essential nutrient for your brain and nervous system and provide 1/2 of the fuel utilized by your muscles.
    • Chips and cookies also fall into this category. And if you’ve got girls scout cookies in the pantry (like me)… DON’T EAT THE ALL IN ONE DAY. Eat a few and walk away. You may call it self control, but I’m calling it rationing!
  • Dairy/Oils:
    • Hard cheeses like parmesan last longer and can add flavor to your meals.
    •  Milk can be a tough one when facing a quarantine, but if you’re worried about shelf-life, you can grab powdered or boxed milk.
    • Don’t forget to snag some healthy oils like canola, avocado, and olive oil to help add flavor, calories, and fat to your meals. They’ll help with satiety because of that.
  • REALISTIC INGREDIENTS:
    • This may seem like common sense, but I’ve been on diets of blindly shopping through the grocery store before where I purchased food that I knew there was a 90% chance I wouldn’t eat. Don’t waste your money! If you’re planning to buy ingredients that you believe you “need” because you’re going into quarantine…. but you know you’re unlikely to make a meal out of it, DON’T BUY IT. Someone else may actually need or want that item, and it’s just going to collect dust in your pantry. Instead, be sure to buy ingredients you’ll actually work with and use.

I understand this is a scary time (for some right now more than others), and my heart goes out to all of you. If you CAN, let’s use this time to focus on HEALTH. We will get through this, and your body will be thanking you for all your efforts.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns or if there is ANYTHING I can do or ANY topic I can cover during the next few weeks, please leave a comment or email me at nutritionwcrystall@yahoo.com

Healthy Eating?!

What does that even mean?

It’s the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (so, so sad), and you’re probably either finished with your leftover turkey and stuffing, or you’re staring down the last remaining traces of your holiday meal. Either way, I hope you had an incredible holiday with good food, great company, tons of laughs, and the opportunity to make memories you’ll cherish until you’re old enough to be excused for forgetting things!

You may have overdone it in the eating department (womp womp womp), or you may wish you’d eaten and enjoyed more, but you were worried about the impact your Thanksgiving meal would have on your progress.

*If the latter is you, that’s a topic I’ll try and touch on in an upcoming post.

Whether you under-ate, ate just enough, are still eating, or are contemplating avoiding food until January 1st, I want to “discuss” healthy eating for a moment.

You may be immediately “turned off” by the words healthy eating, thinking of dry chicken breast, egg whites, chalky protein shakes, lots of spinach, or some other food that is entirely dissatisfying to you. BUT I’m here to bring you some good news:

Healthy eating is unique to your body and your lifestyle.

*Because newsflash, if you aren’t eating according to the above-your “diet” won’t make you feel good and won’t properly fuel your body.

So as a welcome to The Crumb Corner (blog) and Crumbs with Crystall (Instagram) I’d like to present you with a simple and hopefully informative post on healthy eating. In my personal and professional opinion, a healthy diet can be defined as a pattern of eating that focuses on the consumption of energy balancing food/nutrient-dense foods. Essentially, this means that eating healthy provides your body with all of the essential nutrients for optimal function for your health and energy needs. What this looks like in my mind is consuming quality proteins (fish, lean beef, chicken, eggs), carbohydrates (oats, whole grains, veggies and fruits), and fats (avocados, dairy, nuts/seeds), while moderately consuming solid fats & foods with added sugar aka: ICE CREAM!

Some, including myself, may find the idea of “healthy eating” and still reaching their goals challenging especially because of our vast diet experience. If you’re like me, you may have attempted low carbohydrate diets, high fat diet, restrictive diets, intuitive eating diets, macronutrient focused diets and calorie counting diets. Some or all may have worked for us. Still, if we weren’t simultaneously “eating healthy,” we may have experienced lethargy, headaches, trouble sleeping, excessive mood swings, and many other not so great symptoms. Additionally, our diet (and diet attempts) may have negatively impacted our body image and confidence, our mental health, and maybe even our friends, family, and coworkers.

But I’m here today, in an effort to spark a flame inside of you that consumes your negative idea of “healthy eating” and burns it to ash. There’s so much more to you than what you eat, how much you weigh, how much you can lift, how long you can run, and how great you do or don’t look in a bathing suit. I want to remind you that your body is the only vessel you have in this life. Keeping it healthy keeps you here, walking and talking, laughing and crying, lifting and running (yuck), awake and asleep, chasing around that toddler, and hanging with your friends. AND guess what… you don’t have to run yourself ragged doing those things.

Now that the pep talk is over let’s jump to some facts. All of the information I know about dieting/nutrition is either from experience or my certifications through the AFPA. Before starting a diet or even taking my advice, feel free to do your own research. Your needs are as unique as you are!

To give you a bit of information on what you should be looking for in your “diet” (generally speaking) See the below paragraph, but if you’re looking for more of a pep talk… go ahead and skip it!

If you know your BMR/desired caloric intake, apply the following information. If you don’t know that information or would like assistance determining that, please email me at the address at the end of this post.

Your appropriate caloric intake for your body, age, gender, level of activity, etc., should be broken down like this:

Carbohydrates should make up 45-65% of your total calories (also, there is some science in 55-70% carbohydrate balance for athletes, but that’s really dependent on the athlete and their sport). Now I realize that I’ve probably lost you and you’re probably freaking out BUT… Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of energy AND are the body’s preferred energy source. Read that again. Not only are carbs your body’s primary source of fuel for function, but they also play a CRITICAL role in brain function.

Carbohydrates provide half of the fuel used by your muscles and tissue (fat offers the other half). If you’ve ever been on a low carb diet (lower than 130g), you may have experienced “brain fog,” which can be an indicator that you aren’t consuming enough carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are also critical to blood sugar levels and hypo/hyperglycemia. Symptoms you may experience if you’re not eating the right carbs, at the right time, or eat too many at one time and your blood sugar spikes or dips, you may get shaky and feel weak. If you believe you may have medical concerns regarding carbohydrate processing or your blood sugar, I suggest you see your doctor.

Fats are another important food group. Fats are essential for transporting nutrients through the bloodstream and should make up 20-35% of your calories. It’s important to know that 1g of fat is nine calories, while carbohydrates and protein are only four calories per gram) so they can quickly put you in a caloric surplus if you’re not monitoring them. This is why you may have heard the advice to skip the salad dressing or only eat the egg white. BUT they’re essential to your body! Just be choosey! Pick the right ones and monitor your intake. If you’re cutting fats out of your diet, you may find you’re always hungry. Fats help aid in satiety, so don’t be afraid to add some healthy ones to your meal! There are two types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Both are ok, but mindful consume solid fats (hydrogenated oils, butter, etc.).

And the last macronutrient: Protein! My gosh, there are so many rumors about protein floating around. One of which is why I decided to start this blog. YOU DO NOT NEED 1g of protein per POUND of body weight. GOODNESS. That’s absurd. If you don’t work out (that’s totally ok, no judgment here!), you likely only need .8-1.2g per 2.2 pounds. If you’re an athlete, that range is increased to roughly 1.2-2g per 2.2 pounds. That could mean you may be happy and healthy, consuming only 100g of protein. The key here is that you’re consuming what is right for your body and lifestyle. Individuals consuming protein lower than what their body needs will likely have trouble recovering from workouts, and individuals consuming too much protein will have issues with digestion (ick).

If you’re not into calorie or macronutrient counting and you want to just eat healthy, that’s great too! Some guidelines to follow are: eat a variety of foods, focus on nutrient-dense and whole-grain sources, and eat quality protein. While protein bars, pasta, and cheesecake technically cover your “macronutrients,” make sure you’re eating the right amount of unprocessed foods. Since you’re not tracking your diet, it’s extremely easy to eat in a caloric surplus by consuming lots of processed foods! Practice moderation (and yes, I know this is a struggle… one I face daily LOL).

If you take anything from this, please know that your body requires YOU to take care of it so that it can take care of you (and so you can take care of others). It needs carbohydrates (yes, the good kind), it needs fat, it needs protein, it needs essential vitamins and minerals, and it needs a healthy mind. Just because you’re in a caloric surplus (to gain weight) or a deficit (to lose weight), doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health.

If you’d like to discuss what healthy eating may look like for you, please email me at nutritionwcrystall@yahoo.com!

*Disclaimers:

There are places in your life for dieting (regardless of diet choice i.e., IIFYM, Paleo, Keto). This post isn’t to bash the idea of dieting, but instead to help relieve some possible pressure to only diet for your goals (i.e., your ideal body, weightless, whatever) and remind you that it’s ok to diet for your health.

Also, in this post, I am not referring to athletes participating in sports that can require dietary/exercise extremes or aesthetic bodybuilding competitions. This is not within my wheelhouse and will not be something I likely discuss, so please keep in mind that my intention for my posts may not apply.