With Halloween and the holiday season approaching I thought it would be helpful to interview nutritionist Elissa Brenner. It's especially hard to stay on track during the holiday season when temptation abounds. Elissa's advice is sensible and easy to digest.
JZ: What are your patients always surprised to learn when they see you?
EB: People think that diet food is healthy. Things like Diet Coke and 100 Calorie packs are not healthy. People are too concerned with the amount of calories and they don't look at the ingredient labels. Instead of eating a 100 Calorie pack of Oreos, you should have a whole grain or something that is healthy and not a fake chemical food.
JZ: If you are craving something sweet, what is your treat?
EB: I love soft serve fruit. It looks like frozen yogurt but it's just fruit, organic sugar and water. It's good and it's filling. You can top it with some chocolate. There is no dairy or gluten in the soft serve. I also like sorbet or a small amount of dark chocolate.
JZ: Halloween is coming up. What are some tips to keep your kids on track when they are surrounded with all this candy?
EB: As a parent the best thing to do is just to limit your child to 2 pieces of candy. Most of the time the kids just eat too much and they get a stomachache.
Gummy candies and candy corn are just pure sugar and the worst. If you are going to have something sweet you should have dark chocolate or candy apples. The candy apples at least have some nutrition. It's hard because kids just love candy.
JZ: Do you have any ideas for eating smartly at holiday parties?
EB: You should always eat before because you never know what's going to be served. You should try to avoid sauces because they usually have cream and butter. You should also avoid doughy items like pretzels.
JZ: I thought pretzels were healthy.
EB: Pretzels have no real nutrition. They are only healthier than potato chips because they aren't fried. They are just empty calories and not filling. You aren't getting any vitamins or fiber. You are better off to have celery with some almond butter.
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