Purple Potatoes

Have you ever had purple potatoes? Maybe I am one of the few, but I had never had them before last week. I was attending our annual Extension conference in Stillwater and during a luncheon they brought out our plates with purple potatoes. I have to admit that at first I thought they were just burned white potatoes, and then I cut into them. How pretty do these look?

Purple potatoesI’m an Oklahoma girl and just like the rest of us I grew up on the “Oklahoma Diet”  which consists of corn, green beans, white potatoes, and beef (doesn’t exactly fit MyPlate). These new colorful potatoes really intrigued me so when I got back I decided to look into them a little more.

According to the USDA these purple potatoes have been around South America for many years but have just made their debut in the United States within the last decade. (A co-worker told me they have been popular on the West Coast for a while, but have just recently started appearing in Oklahoma.) While these colored potatoes are high in potassium and carbohydrates, just like white ones, they are also higher in antioxidants. As you probably already know research is showing that antioxidants can play a big role in preventing some cancers and cardiovascular disease.

Any dietitian will tell you the more color you have on your plate the better, because the more color you have the more variety of vitamins and minerals you are consuming. I think the purple potatoes would be a great addition to our often colorless “Oklahoma Diet”. We can still have our tasty potatoes but with a little more nutritional value.

I have never seen purple potatoes in the store before but I am definitely going to start looking. I have heard there are a couple of markets in OKC that carry them but they often sell out fast. Have you tried purple potatoes or seen them at your store? Let us know if you have! If you haven’t I encourage you to try them and see what you think.

Grocery Shopping – It’s Tricky

Whenever I grocery shop I usually take the time to stop and compare food labels. I think it is important to compare food labels because often times the front package of a product can be misleading. The food label on the back is always where you find the real facts.

A few weeks ago I was looking for coffee creamer and came across an interesting situation.

Label-3On the left is regular coffee creamer and on the right is the fat free version. Which one would you guess is healthier?

Here is the label for the regular creamer. Notice the regular creamer only contains 0.5 grams of saturated. That isn’t very much. Also notice that it contains 1 gram of carbohydrate and 10 calories.

Label 1-1

Now we look at the fat free version. Yes they did remove that 0.5 grams of fat and we are now left with zero. Do you notice what else changed?

Label 2-2

The total carbohydrates increased from 1 gram to 2 grams. Calories however stayed the same at 10. Basically, when the fat was removed so was the flavor. In order to make it tasty they had to add some carb to the fat free version.

So back to our question, which is healthier? Well in this case I would say it’s a toss up. Yes you are cutting out your saturated fat but the original amount was so small to begin with, and you are not decreasing your calories any.

I point this out not because I think coffee creamer is bad for you (I drink it every morning) or because I think food companies are evil (they are not). But it is important when grocery shopping to know what you are getting.Take time to read food labels and compare. Hm..I think that might make a good blog post, “How to Read a Food Label”. Stay tuned.

New Year’s Goals 2014

It is hard to believe that it has already been one year since I sat here and wrote about New Years Resolutions for 2013. I know we say this every year, but man that year went by fast! If you read through my post from last year you will see that one of my goals for 2013 was to read at least one book a month. Well for the first time ever in my life I kept my New Year’s resolution, I read 19 books in 2013!

Were you able to keep your goals for 2013? What are some of your goals for 2014? Let me guess, one of them is to get healthy or loose weight. This seems to be on the top of everyone’s list in January. I love it! As a dietitian I am so happy when people decide they want to get healthy, but how long does this usually last? Maybe until the first of February? Then all those fruits and veggies you bought for your juice cleanse are over ripe in the fridge and your gym bag is collecting dust in the back of your car. (I’ve been there, I’m not judging.)

Well let me offer you some quick tips to help you get healthy in 2014. First of all, it won’t be easy. It just will not. Prepare yourself for that battle right now, mentally and physically. If being healthy was easy and came naturally we would not be battling an obesity epidemic in America.

The best way to start is small and simple. Overwhelming yourself with goals that aren’t attainable is the quickest path to resolution ruin. Start small and grow bigger as you gain confidence. For example, if you never go to the gym don’t go out and buy a membership now. Instead start by taking walks around your neighborhood or playing basketball with your kids. These things probably fit much more naturally into your schedule and won’t be as intimidating. You don’t have to be at a gym to be “working out”, as long as your heart is pumping faster than normal you are making progress.

When it comes to your plate small steps are the key. Again, making drastic changes only causes you to get worn out faster. Instead of vowing to cut out sweets, decide to eat more fruits and vegetables. Instead of giving up soda completely, limit yourself to 3 sodas a week, etc. Supplements, juice cleanses, detox diets and other trends may help you loose temporary weight but they won’t help you get healthy. MyPlate is the perfect eating pattern to start getting healthy. You may look at it and think “that doesn’t work” but it does. It really does!

MyPlate Full

Getting healthy and loosing weight takes time and lots of commitment, but it is attainable. Don’t get frustrated and don’t overwhelm yourself. This year my goal is to run a 10k. I know that might not sound like much to some of you avid runners, but for this girl who hates running it really is a commitment. But just like you all I want to be healthy in 2014 too. Good luck, this can be your year!

P.S. I would love to hear some of your New Years Resolutions. Let me know in the comment section.