washingtonpost.com
Lean Plate Club
Talk About Nutrition and Health

Sally Squires
Washington Post Health and Nutrition Writer
Tuesday, April 1, 2008 1:00 PM

Confused about nutrition? Wondering how to fit in more physical activity? Welcome to the Lean Plate Club. Ask Sally Squires, nationally syndicated Lean Plate Club columnist for the Washington Post, about eating smart and moving more every Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET. Sally draws upon her master's degree in nutrition from Columbia University to preside over the lively Lean Plate Club web chat. Whether you're trying to reach a healthier weight or simply maintain it, you'll find plenty of tips and strategies.

Share your own food finds, creative workouts and secrets for healthy, great tasting meals. We'll cheer your successes and help with your setbacks. (None of this, of course, is a substitute for medical advice.) E-mail Sally, author of the newly published Secrets of the Lean Plate Club (St. Martin's Press) at leanplateclub@washpost.com.

Or just sign up for the free Lean Plate Club e-mail newsletter. The Lean Plate Club column appears Tuesdays in the Washington Post Health section and is nationally syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group. Find other Lean Plate Club members at www.frappr.com/leanplateclub.

The Archives:

Sally Squires's Recent Columns

Discussion Transcripts

A transcript follows.

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Sally Squires: Welcome to the Lean Plate Club! Today one of the topics up for discussion is Jared--yes, the Subway guy--who lost 245 pounds and has managed to keep off that weight for 10 years.

Pretty impressive, don't you think? So how much do you think being in the public eye has helped Jared with his efforts? And do you go public when you lose weight--and by that I mean public with your family, friends and colleagues?

The e-mail newsletter should be in your electronic in-box right now. In today's issue find links to:

5 Healthy Salads that won't make you feel like you're eating rabbit food; Sizzling Citrus Shrimp that takes just 15 minutes to make; Hearty Tomato Eggplant Pasta, Broiled Haddock with Mango-Lime Salsa.

Plus, you'll find a list of the healthiest fast food restaurants, sit-down chain restaurants and independent stand-alones. Who says you can't eat out and eat healthfully?

Speaking of check out our cool slideshow which features Portions from Au Bon Pain. (And let me hasten to add that I have no connection with the company.) My colleagues and I taste tested these new dishes last week and liked them a lot. And they all clock in under 200 calories.

Okay, so if you don't yet subscribe to the free, weekly e-mail newsletter, signing up is easy at www.leanplateclub.com.

And don't forget to join us on the National President's Challenge. Registration continues until April 3. Join the Lean Plate Club Group. Our number is 69734.

Now on to the chat!

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washingtonpost.com: 200 Calories Can Look Pretty Good (Washington Post, April 1)

Sally Squires: As promised, here's the link for the slideshow

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Laurel, Md.: Where could I get the Au Bon Pain small portions meals? I read your Lean Plate Club article in the Post today.

washingtonpost.com: Au Bon Pain location finder

Sally Squires: You can get Portions at any Au Bon Pain location. They're all made fresh daily. (And now I will stop talking about these lest I sound like an --unpaid--commercial!)

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Washington, D.C.: Any idea what Health magazine's criteria were for choosing the top five fast food restaurants? Several of their "winners" are notorious for oversized, high-calorie, high-fat meals. Just because something is organic, doesn't mean it's healthy. For example, a typical chicken burrito at Chipotle has over 1,100 calories, 47 grams of fat and 2,989 mg of sodium (this information is online). I've lost over 160 pounds over the past 5 years (and I'm successfully maintaining) - and I've done my homework on restaurant nutritionals. I think Health magazine needs to re-think their list!

Sally Squires: Good point--and congratulations on those 160 pounds! Very impressive. I'll check after the chat, but Health magazine didn't say that ALL the items featured on the menus are healthy. They just highlighted restaurants that featured some healthy stuff. Speaking of which, I give McDonald's credit for now offering a salad with edamame. Who would have thought that could have happened even just a few years ago?

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Vancouver, Canada: My favourite fast food in a restaurant or to make at home is Caesar Salad.

Sally Squires: In today's Lean Plate Club e-mail newsletter, I asked what favorite meals are at fast food and other restaurants.

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Grampian, Pa.: My favorite sandwich is Subway's Veggie or Subway's Roasted Chicken Breast.

Sally Squires: I'll bet we will have an interesting list today. Thanks Grampian!

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about Jared: What did he REALLY do to lose that weight? Over how long? If I ate one Subway sandwich everyday I would NOT lose weight. I don't understand how he did it, what he isn't telling us. That makes me suspicious so I don't trust his ads.

Sally Squires: I understand your skepticism. Will we ever know for sure exactly how he did it? Of course not. But what he describes certainly makes it possible. And he didn't get that contract and then lose the weight. Perhaps if we interviewed his college roommates or friends, we'd get the story confirmed. What do you think?

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Dallas, Tex.: Posting early...

Can you point me to a site where I can find easily understood information on nuts and seeds? We love them and I would like to incorporate the most healthful ones into our menus.

I understand that almonds and walnuts are supposed to be good for cholesterol. Pecans are readily available here -- are they just as good?

And what about sunflower, sesame, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts? Are they healthful or just good?!

I realize that they way they are processed -- oils and salt -- can be of impact but I usually get both my seeds and nuts raw and toast them myself.

Thank you, Sally. I always find new and useful information in your columns and chats.

Sally Squires: Thank you Dallas. I love the fact that the Dallas Morning News carries the Lean Plate Club column.

Actually, all seeds and nuts--even peanuts which are a legume, not a tree nut--have healthy fat which is good for your heart. In fact, they usually contain so much fat that it doesn't much make a difference whether they are cooked in oil or dry roasted. That's because they apparently absorb more, according to an expert that I once interviewed. Interesting tidbit, don't you think?

And yes, salt is a frequent "companion" ingredient with many nuts and seeds.

The only problem is that nuts and seeds are often high in calories. So portion control is important. Hope that helps. Thanks!

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River City: I guess I don't realize how much food severely obese people eat. So to me, one sub a day seems like a lot, but he may have been eating 3 times that before.

Sally Squires: Actually, he was eating nearly 10 times that much, depending on which sandwiches you look at. Jared estimates that he ate about 10,000 calories daily. That's, in a word, huge!

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Washington, D.C.: Making the change to healthy eating; purchased a butternut squash yesterday. Any good recipes for butternut squash?

Thanks.

Sally Squires: We do indeed. I plugged butternut squash into our Recipe Finder--have you used it yet? It's pretty cool--to find two butternut squash soups that we will try to post links to in a minute. Also, I went to World's Healthiest Foods and found a bunch of recipes. We'll try to get a link there in a minute.

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Washington, D.C.: What do you think it will take for restaurants to consistently lower sodium in their foods? Most of the places listed today in the article are consistently high sodium, for example even a hummus and veggie sandwich at Cosi has over 1100 milligrams. Given the rising health care costs for things like heart disease and high blood pressure, doesn't all this salt seem irresponsible?

Sally Squires: I don't usually make predictions, but based on some recent developments, I think that sodium/salt could be the next major food issue--similar to what we've seen with trans fat.

And the interest is fueled by the rising number of people with high blood pressure and the rising age of the population. In countries where sodium is not as widely used--and admittedly, these countries are few and far between--blood pressure does not rise with age. So we can side-step some of this problem if we manage to get some sodium out of diets. And I would be remiss if I didn't also point out that weight also is linked with higher blood pressure. So losing pounds is key too.

Thanks

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washingtonpost.com: The World's Healthiest Foods by George Mateljan

Sally Squires: Here are links to the butternut squash recipes as promised. Thanks to Elizabeth Terry who is producing for us today!

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washingtonpost.com: Vegetarian Chili with Butternut Squash and Rutabaga (Post Food Section, Dec. 6, 2006)

Sally Squires: Here's one of the butternut squash recipes.

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washingtonpost.com: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (Post Food Section, Jan. 5, 2005)

Sally Squires: One more butternut squash recipe.

Have you got a favorite butternut squash dish to share with us? Send it our way.

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Austin, Tex.: Good for Jared Fogel, I'm happy his Subway Diet worked for him. I'm mildly intrigued about the cost comparison between various "preportioned diet plans" -- Subway vs. Jenny Craig vs. etc. Wonder what the most efficient $/pound value would be. Less expensive than preparing and eating organic fresh fruits, vegetables, etc?

Sally Squires: That's a very intriguing question, Austin. Eating organic can be pretty pricey although it's interesting that even the major chains, such as Wal-Mart, now offer some organic products.

I feel a column coming on...

Thanks!

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washingtonpost.com: Hold the Salt: A Growing Chorus (Lean Plate Club, Nov. 6, 2007)

Sally Squires: As promised, here's a recent column about an unusual coalition to help reduce sodium in our diets...

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River City: My plan: I bought a scale (first one, age 46) and plan to weigh myself every day. I'll divide my weight by 2 and exercise (stationary bike with flexing handles) that many minutes. My husband made a funny face when I told him my plan... What's wrong with it? (5'7", trying to go from 164 to... what should my target weight be? not 120 like when I was in college... 140?)

Sally Squires: With those numbers, you're just on the cusp of being overweight, River City. I think that's a very clever plan for activity. (And I hope you'll join the Lean Plate Club Group on the National President's Challenge. We'll post a link in a minute. Group number is 69734.)

If you were to lose about 8-9 pounds you would be at a healthy weight. And there's a BMI calculator on the Lean Plate Club homepage. We'll post a link in a minute.

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washingtonpost.com: The President's Challenge

Sally Squires: Here's where to sign up for the President's Challenge. Registration continues through Thursday, April 3. Our Lean Plate Club Group number is 69734.

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washingtonpost.com: Body Mass Index Calculator (washingtonpost.com)

Sally Squires: Here's the calculator...And we've also been adding to the list of nutrition facts information available on our Web site. Thanks to all who continue to send me links. Much appreciated....

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Washington, D.C.: I found these online and unfortunately can't remember who to give credit to, but they turned out really well and are pretty easy.

Butternut Squash Enchiladas with Salsa Verde - Makes 8 servings.

1 package (16 oz.) diced peeled butternut squash, or 1 1/4 lb. squash, seeded, peeled and diced

Canola oil spray

1 can (15.5 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup (3 oz.) crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese, divided

8 large (about 7-inch) corn tortillas

1 jar (16 oz.) salsa verde

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)

Place squash in medium saucepan. Add 1 cup water. Cover pot tightly, and place over medium-high heat. Cook until squash is tender but not mushy, 12-15 minutes, depending on size of cubes. Drain squash, and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Select a baking dish just large enough to hold the eight tortillas, folded over and slightly overlapping, so that they fit snuggly in the dish. (You may want to "test" and see if the baking dish is the proper size by arranging unfilled, folded tortillas in it, as they would be once filled and ready to bake.) using the canola oil spray, lightly coat the interior of the baking dish and set aside.

Place beans in mixing bowl. Using fork, partially mash beans. Add squash and blend, leaving mixture coarsely mashed, with some beans still whole. Mix in 1/2 cup of the cheese. Season filling to taste with salt and pepper.

Coat a tortilla on both sides with cooking spray. Lay it on a plate. Spoon 3/4 cup of filling on one half of the tortilla. Fold tortilla in half over filling. Set it at one end of the baking dish. Repeat, placing filled tortillas so they overlap, filling baking dish tightly. Pour pureed sauce over assembled enchiladas. Sprinkle remaining cheese over sauce. Cover pan with foil.

Bake enchiladas about 30 minutes, until they are heated through and tortillas are soft. Uncover and serve garnished with cilantro, accompanied by cooked brown rice, if desired.

Per serving: 180 calories, 2 g. total fat (1 g. saturated fat), 33 g. carbohydrate, 8 g. protein, 7 g. dietary fiber, 479 g. sodium.

Sally Squires: Yum! Sounds great. Thanks, DC

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Calorie counter: I'm having trouble finding a free Internet calorie counter that will let me put in the ingredients of foods and tell me the calories and nutritional analysis. For example, I make a homemade Caesar salad and I want to get an idea of how many calories per tablespoon.

Sally Squires: Try Nutritiondata.com. I checked last week and if you register (free) and input the ingredients, it will give you a nutrition facts label for your recipe. It's pretty cool.

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Bethlehem, Pa.: Hi Sally,

Hubby and I recently realized we'd fallen off a little bit in our veggie intake and had each put on a couple of pounds. So, to help us get back on track, I pulled out my cookbooks for inspiration. I thought I'd share this find, which I modified from a dish I saw in the Moosewood Simple Suppers vegetarian cookbook. This ended up tasting a lot like old-fashioned green bean casserole, only with better nutrition and much less fat!

Hummus and Green Bean Casserole

Preheat oven to 375 and coat a lasagna pan with nonstick spray.

Place two bags of frozen cut green beans in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for five minutes, then drain and pour into prepared pan.

In the food processor, whirl one can each of chick peas and white beans (undrained), four cloves of garlic (or more!), salt, pepper, a dash of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup sesame tahini.

Pour the hummus mixture over the green beans in the lasagna pan and spread to cover. Top with two cups low-fat sharp cheddar. Drain and rinse another can of white beans and sprinkle beans over the cheese.

In a small bowl, make the topping. Combine two cups whole-wheat breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, and two tablespoons olive oil. Mix to combine and sprinkle over the casserole.

Bake covered for 35 minutes, then uncovered 10 minutes more, or until hot throughout and golden on top.

Sally Squires: This sounds great! And it's a dish that I like to call double dipping because you add veggies to veggies for a whole lot of flavor and nutrition. Thanks much.

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Las Vegas, Nev.: Yes! Jared is motivated to keep his weight off. His job depends on it. I played the role of Tarzan for MGM in 1959. The worst movie ever made but playing the role was incentive to stay in shape to be able to play other Hero types. If not heroes then men that looked strong and healthy. Example - I was the GORTON'S Fisherman for 14 years. Keep up the good work Jared. If you don't, then start looking for another job. Denny Miller

Sally Squires: Sounds like your career has helped keep you very much in shape. Thanks for weighing in Denny.

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Jordan, Minn.: I am 47 yrs. old, weigh 145 lbs. 5'5" tall. I would like to lose 5 lbs. For the past 30 days I have joined a gym and go to classes and used the treadmill/weights at least 60 min a day and eat small meals and no more than 1500 cal. a day/lots of vegetables. Yet I haven't lost a pound! what's the matter??? (I threw my scale out the door - I was so discouraged)

Sally Squires: Besides being discouraged, how do you feel after having tried this regimen for a month? Do you feel more energetic? Are you sleeping better? Do you feel fitter? Are you clothes a little loser? Do you stand up taller? Can you climb the stairs without huffing and puffing?

There are plenty of benefits besides just the numbers on the scale. Also, you are already at a healthy weight. So your body could be telling you something. And if you still really want to lose that weight, you may have to go a little lower on the calories--try 1,400--and find ways to be more active outside the gym.

Hope you'll let us know how it goes.

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D.C.: Today, like most days, I started the day eating healthy--apple, some grapes, a Dan Active yogurt and a piece of pre-wrapped light cheese (Cabot, I think is the brand). For lunch, I had a spinach salad, no fat dressing, a few sliced mushrooms, a few chick peas and a couple of small pieces of roasted turkey. But, it's when I go home from work that it all falls apart. I am in the kitchen because I need to make dinner for my family and I feel hungry and pretty soon I am eating my way through the cupboards and then I don't want to eat dinner. Any tips on what to do? I don't think drinking a gallon of water is going to satisfy me but I'd like to repeat a healthy choice for dinner. I really need to drop some weight (5ft 2 in and 143 lbs.)! Thanks!

Sally Squires: I sure do. And you're not alone in feeling this way. First, consider adding a few more calories to your meals during the day. Or you might try having a snack, just before you head home. A third option: have a healthy snack ready to grab while you prepare dinner.

One tip that I learned from chefs who could eat their way through their jobs is to fix a small plate for yourself. You could put some hummus and crackers, some olives, a hardboiled egg, some nuts, plenty of veggies. Or salsa. Choose things that you really like, but will fill you up. (And plan these portions ahead of time so that you don't overdo it.) Eat from that plate while you fix dinner. Also drink water or another low-cal beverage while you eat it. The sodium in the food will help you absorb the water and make you feel fuller.

You can also sip something hot: a cup of tomato soup, a cup of tea, a clear chicken or veggie broth while you cook.

Hope that helps. And hope you'll tell us how it goes.

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Butternut Squash Recipe: This one doesn't highlight the butternut squash so much, but is tasty and nutritious. From the Candle Cafe Cookbook:

Lentil Chowder

1 c. lentils, rinsed

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 potato, peeled and chopped

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 tomato, seeded and diced

1.5 T tomato paste

2 t dried thyme

Freshly ground black pepper

Put it all in a pot with 4 cups of water, bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 1.5 hours. Season to taste.

Sally Squires: Thanks! And I should mention that butternut squash is a great source of beta-carotene which is converted by the body to vitamin A. It's good for vision and a lot of other things.

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Stamford, Conn.: For Calorie Counter: I lost 50 lbs about 12 years ago, and for the most part have kept it all off. That is, when I have put on a few pounds, I get more diligent and take them back off. There were a couple of key things I did, and I think one will help you with calories. That is to learn the right portion size for me. From Dr. Barry Sears' diet book I learned that the right size was a piece of protein about the size of my palm, and then I'll have 2 servings of either fruits or veggies that are the same size. That turned out to be about the right amount of calories without having to carefully count them.

The other thing I learned was that I didn't need to eat every time I got hungry, which was usually after 2 - 2.5 hours. Instead, if I worked through that, which took about 15 minutes, I found I only needed to eat every 4.5 - 5 hours.

Combining these two elements allowed me to take my weight off and keep it off.

Sally Squires: Good for you, Stamford! Those 50 pounds are very impressive. You, too, could qualify as one of our successful losers and for the National Weight Control Registry. We'll post a link to our gallery in a minute.

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Va.: I would like to add that not ALL obese people eat LOTS of food. I have had a weight problem all my life and always ate small portions. People always treated me like I ate everything in site and simply gorged myself all day long. The cruel comments made to me were almost unbearable. I have worked with a nutritionist and Doctor who have found medical reasons for my weight problems and I have now resolved them. And without surgery, by simply eating the things that my body requires. I actually eat more now then before and if you see my you would think I am as normal as anyone else. People need to get over the "fat people" are simply fat sloppy overeaters stereotype. Sorry for the ranting, but life before now has been painful so I sympathize with those who struggle with weight problems.

Sally Squires: Not a rant at all. This is a wide-ranging forum with plenty of room for lots of thoughts. Congratulations on what you've been able to accomplish. We've certainly got a lot of successful losers today!

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healthy snack while making dinner: I'm like the previous poster who eats while they cook dinner. I am also the type of person that likes something with a crunch, such as corn chips or crackers. If I keep a bag of baby carrots on the counter I'll reach for those. I may still grab a cracker or chip but now it won't be as many as if I didn't have the carrots to munch on.

Sally Squires: That's a really good plan. I love a dip red pepper eggplant that I find at Trader Joe's. And again, it qualifies as double dipping since you can dip veggies into veggies. They not only have a lot of flavor and good nutrition, but are rich in fiber, which can help you feel full with fewer calories. Thanks!

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e-mail newsletter: Is there a place on the web site to view your weekly newsletter? I've tried signing up for it several times, and it never makes it to my mail box. But I'd love to be able to see it so I can better participate in the discussions.

Sally Squires: I'm very sorry to hear that you've had trouble receiving your newsletter. My apologies.

There may be a sample, but I don't believe the newsletter is published or archived on the site. But please, e-mail me after the chat at leanplateclub@washpost.com and we'll try to correct the problem. My phone number is 202-334-5018. If anyone else experiences this problem, please do let me know. I'll help track it.

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Trenton, N.J.: A very simple tip and something that I learned a long time back (because I, too, snack through cooking) chew gum when you cook! It tricks your brain into thinking you are eating and staves off the hunger just a bit longer until the meal is ready.

Sally Squires: Yes, that's a great idea, Trenton. I do it too, except when I forget and start cracking my gum--a terrible habit!--that drives my husband crazy with good reason.

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Va.: Thanks for letting me rant. I have lost over 100 lbs in a year. You said at the end or your response that there are a lot of losers today. This is one time I don't mind being called a loser!!!

Sally Squires: Wow! That is very impressive, Va. Congratulations!

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Chatham, Ill.: Wow! How cool it is that Denny Miller is reading Sally Squires. Brought back a lot of very good memories. Thanks!!

I want to comment too that Denny makes a good point -- If we're motivated enough we can get the weight off -- the tough job is finding what our motivational "button" is for each of us.

Sally Squires: Yep. It is indeed. And that motivation also seems to change with time, don't you think? So what may be motivating this year, may not be motivating next. That's why we all have to look for ways to keep this quest fresh. Me included!

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Rockville Md.: For the "evening eater" from D.C. Not sure of the portion sizes during the day but that sounds like virtually no fat. Should definitely have some, especially later in the day (e.g., handful of nuts).

Sally Squires: Yes. That's an excellent point. A slice of whole wheat with some almond or peanut butter would be another good option. or a piece of fruit with either. Thanks!

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washingtonpost.com: Lean Plate Club Success Stories

Sally Squires: As promised, for continued inspiration, here are our Lean Plate Club Successful Losers.

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Alexandria, Va.: not to discourage the Moosewood bean casserole cooker, but the Moosewood recipes are typically loaded with fat. 2 cups of cheddar, low fat or no, is a lot. (plus, if you are a veg, make sure the cheddar is vegetarian, as most cheese is not). For fun, my husband and I put a few of their recipes through a nutrition analyzer and the numbers were daunting. Anyone with weight or heart disease issues might want to think twice. Just because it is vegetarian, does not mean it is healthy (and I say this as a vegetarian). They have a low-fat version of their book out, and it is a lot better, but still not great.

Sally Squires: Yep, good point. The original Moosewood came out in the days when we were not so worried about saturated fat. And now we know that while all fat isn't bad, saturated, trans and cholesterol are fats to be avoided.

I am also a fan of Deborah Madison's cookbooks. And let's not forget that the Mediterranean style of eating is not low fat, but healthy fat and filled with plenty of veggies, fruit, nuts, fish and some cheese and meat or poultry. Increasingly, that seems to be a very good way to eat. And by the way, there's an Indian version of the Mediterranean diet that is healthful food.

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Chevy Chase Md.: Someone just asked Kim O'Donnel about having carbs for dinner - their personal trainer told them no carbs for dinner. I cook for a type 2 diabetic, and I can assure you, you can have carbs for dinner - beans, vegetables, etc. with a lean protein. I'm tired of seeing and hearing about extremes - I hope this guy meant carbs like bread, pasta and rice, but beans and veggies are great kinds of carbs to have, anytime.

Sally Squires: No carbs for dinner? Let's get that personal trainer to give us 20 push-ups! Healthy carbs are a great way to eat. That means beans--which have protein and are also high in fiber--plus veggies and fruit and perhaps a half cup of wild rice or brown rice or quinoa. The list goes on and on.

And the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has a vegetarian plan to help control diabetes. They've reported the results in at least one scientific journal.

In any case, if you or any one you love has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, ask their physician for a referral to a diabetes nutrition educator who can help them develop a smart plan to better control blood sugar levels.

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Butternut squash: Hopefully not too late ... I roast butternut squash (just cut it in half and scoop out insides after roasting).

Then puree firm tofu in food processor. Drizzle in olive oil sloooowly until consistency of ricotta. Add in roasted squash and puree the lot. Use in lasagne, etc.

Sally Squires: Yum! Thanks!

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Gaithersburg, Md.: One really great snack, pre-dinner or while fixing dinner, is some salsa (I like Trader Joe's Smoky Peach Salsa) and a cut-up yellow, red or orange pepper.

Very filling, healthy, and a real treat, as well!

Sally Squires: It is indeed and it's another way to get those 2 cups daily of fruit and 2.5 cups daily of veggies that most adults need. Thanks!

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Atlanta, about Jared: : As a person who has managed to keep weight off successfully, comments like that are not surprising and amusing. The way I have managed to keep my weight off is considered very unconventional (like Jared) by virtually everyone who approached me about my success. Why? The reasons have never been based on anything other than: they wouldn't do "that" way, they "know" it wouldn't work, and (my favorite) they "just don't believe" me. Therefore, I must be lying or not giving the complete picture. Ultimately, Jared just ate less and exercised more. No magic of any source.

Sally Squires: I couldn't have said it better myself! Congratulations and thanks!

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RE: Jared...Amazing..: Losing weight is about calories... mostly. So if he, as you said, was eating 10,000 a day and went to 1500 or so, he'd lose the weight. He also added walking into his schedule and other exercises as he lost (if I remember correctly). If you eat one subway sandwich a day, you're not going to gain weight. Especially if it is one of their healthy ones. 250-300 calories does not make someone fat.

Sally Squires: You're right, those 250 calories won't make anyone fat--unless they're 250 calories above what you burn. An extra 200 calories per day can add up to 20 pounds added per year (if nothing else changes.) On the other hand, the good news is that cutting 100 calories daily can add up to a 10 pound loss per year; trimming 200 calories daily can add up to 20 pounds lost.

Thanks for weighing in!

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Hyattsville, Md.: How do you get motivated to lose 10 pounds when you don't mind how you look with 10 extra pounds?

I'm a 26 year old female, 5 feet tall and my weight fluctuates between 130 and 135. That sounds high for my height, but I'm curvy and lift weights. I'm happy with how I look, but I know I am a little overweight and it's hard to decide to lose weight when I'm happy.

I guess I need to lose weight because as I age, the 10 pounds will likely increase...

Sally Squires: Well, you could just decide to stay exactly where you are. Weight maintenance takes focus too. And it could be good practice as well. That way you may not fall into the yo-yo dieting routine that befalls so many.

Just a thought...

Thanks for chiming in.

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Grand Rapids, Mich.: I've been enjoying a delicious, filling breakfast -- a cottage cheese pancake. Blend (in the blender) 1/2 cup of lowfat or nonfat cottage cheese, 3 egg whites, and 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (or 1/4 cup steel cut oats). Cook like a big pancake (takes quite a bit longer than a regular pancake though). I nuke a cup of frozen berries to put on top and it keeps me full for HOURS.

Sally Squires: That sounds fast, filling and nutritious. A great combination, Grand Rapids. Thanks!

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Burlington, Vt.: I love to make sweet breads and am trying to up the nutritional content of some of my favorites. In my latest version of pumpkin bread, I replaced two thirds of the white flour with whole wheat, used egg whites instead of whole eggs, cut the butter and sugar in half and added baby food prunes and applesauce to make up for the loss of moisture and sweetness. I'm pretty sure I've improved the nutritional content -- have I also reduced the number of calories by much? Do you know of Web sites where I can calculate the calorie and fat content of particular recipes? Thanks!

Sally Squires: You've taken a lot of great steps, Burlington. Egg whites have just 10 calories versus about 70 for the whole egg. There's no caloric difference in the flours. You will cut fat and some of the calories with the other substitutions.

Nutritiondata.com which I mentioned earlier in this chat, should enable you to do a nutrition facts label for your new creation.

Thanks for weighing in today.

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Washington, D.C.: Hello all... I make this healthy and quick dish often and freeze the leftovers: In a big saucepan (use cooking spray or olive oil) empty three cans of chopped/diced tomatoes with the juice. Cook on med-high heat. Season with Italian spices, black pepper, garlic powder. Then, slowly add fresh spinach and cook until it begins to wilt. Add two cans (drained) of any variety white beans. Simmer all together until hot. Then, add a cup of whole wheat couscous, cover for five minutes until couscous has soaked up the juices and cooked. Serve with feta or parmesan and pine nuts on top. Great on its own or as a side for grilled chicken.

Sally Squires: This sounds great! Easy, fast and nutritious. We've got successful losers and creative cooks on the chat today! Thanks!

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Anonymous: Sally,

My husband and I are seniors, age 68, and moderately active. Our nutrition needs are different from younger age groups, but I don't know what they are, i.e. food group servings, calories, key nutrients.

I am delighted the Post is relying on a qualified expert for their nutrition column. Like you,my former boss graduated from Columbia in nutrition. Many thanks.

Sally Squires: Thanks very much for your message. As a senior, you likely need foods or supplements with more B12 and added calcium. (We're out of time, or I'd add more details.) You may also need some extra vitamin D. But your sodium needs are a little lower. I'll try to put more details in the upcoming newsletter. Thanks much.

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New England: Good Morning,

I am a 40 yr old male. Since the beginning of the year, I have been weight training 3x week and walking 3x week. This, along with making better food choices, has helped me lose 20 pounds.

I am considering purchasing a protein powder to replace my mid-morning & mid-afternoon snacks of about the same calories. The protein powder is 50 grams of protein and 230 calories, low sugar and low carbs.

I want to do this to support my goal of consuming about 1 gram per pound body weight per day to support muscle growth.

My wife is concerned that this will put too great a strain on my kidneys - I don't have any pre-existing problems. She also doesn't think my body will absorb that much protein at a time.

My wife is very smart, especially about nutrition. The articles I have read are consistent about the need to increase protein consumption to support muscle growth. The 1 gram per pound of body weight is about the middle of the range I have seen -0.7 to 1.5].

Thanks for your comments.

Sally Squires: Save your money! You don't need the protein powder. I'll put more details in the upcoming newsletter. Have an extra piece of chicken breast (without the skin), an extra glass of skim milk, or a cup of nonfat yogurt, some beans. It will do the same thing as that protein powder.

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Sally Squires: We're out of time, but thanks to all for a wide-ranging chat. And congratulations to all the successful losers today!

Winners today are:

Austin, River City, Atlanta, Grand Rapids and DC for the butternut squash enchiladas.) Please send your name and address to leanplateclub@washpost.com and please include winner in the subject line for faster handling.

Thanks to all. Until next week, eat smart and move more and join me in the President's Challenge and on the Lean Plate Club daily discussion group.

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.

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