I absorbed a number of great educational sessions at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) last week, and one of the first, and best, was by Barbara Rolls and Ellie Krieger.
While Dr. Rolls is best known as a scientist and author of the Volumetrics books, and Krieger (a registered dietitian) is best known as a cookbook author and Food Network celebrity, they both brought a valuable and complementary perspective to the issue of "Is 'eat less' the best message." The crux of this is that people want to find pleasure and satisfaction in their food, both in terms of volume of food and the more sensory pleasures of taste, texture, aroma and visual appeal.
I appreciated their perspectives because I feel they are important. When I still worked in an office, I watched many of the women I worked with microwave their frozen lowfat meals every day at lunch and eat their carrot sticks and nonfat yogurt for snacks. That kind of food is lacking soul, for want of a better word. And soulless food might feed the body, but it certainly doesn't feed your soul!
As I sat through the presentation, I felt the urge to cook something. (Instead, I got on my iPhone and ordered one of Krieger's books that I didn't already have.) I love her message that delicious food can also be healthy food, because I embrace that ideal myself. There's no need to eat food we don't like just because it's "healthy."
There was a time when I did fall into the "but it's good for me" trap, but that ship sailed away long ago, thankfully. I eat healthfully most of the time not because I have to...I do it because I want to. I enjoy daily how eating healthy food makes me feel my best, and I'm also banking that eating this way now will help me stay healthy for decades to come.
As I write this post, I have a grass-fed beef roast in the oven, brushed with balsamic vinegar and rubbed with a paste of olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and dried herbes de Provence. I also have a huge baking sheet of Brussels sprouts (halved), purple carrots (whole), cremini mushrooms (quartered...they were huge!) and red, yellow and purple fingerling potatoes. All of those were tossed with a bit more olive oil and some sea salt. That's dinner...and lots of good leftovers. Nourishing for the body, and for the soul!
If you find that you are struggling with feeling full without eating more calories than you need, I recommend the Volumetrics books. There are useful ideas for adding more volume and nutrients to dishes like pasta sauces, soups, casseroles and quick breads without adding calories. These techniques have been tested in a number of research studies, and they really work.
If you need ideas for making delicious, healthy food, check out Ellie Krieger's cookbooks. I love The Food You Crave, and I am eagerly awaiting Comfort Food Fix. She works hard to come up with recipes that cut out calories and fat where they really won't be missed, and leaving them in where they really enhance the food. A thumbs up to that, because while there's no reason to fear healthy fats, they do contain more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein, so using them wisely is, well, wise.