Dumb Food Moves

According to my teenagers, I made a “bomb” dinner last week, healthy chicken sausage sautéed with onions, garlic and Swiss chard over brown rice. I thought I had made enough for the four of us with plenty of left-overs. Not a morsel was left! I started to wonder, had we eaten more because I told them it was healthy?

I read some research and got my answer. Three studies by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab found that when low fat labels were put snack foods, people ate 50% more calories!

So why would a “healthy label” encourage someone to overeat? The research discovered that when people saw the low fat/healthier label, they increased their serving size because they thought the food had fewer calories and they also stated that they would feel less guilty for eating them.

How many times have I and my family fallen for this label trap? An extra 100 calories per day will turn into a pound of body fat within a month. As we age, our metabolism slows by about 1% per year. This sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Here are my best tips to end your portion distortion:

  • Read your labels! Even if the label says low fat, just eat the amount listed.
  • Even healthy food can make you fat. I had a client year ago who loved almonds (a very heart healthy food, but with a small serving size) he would sit down in front of the television and eat a whole bag. He finally put a shot glass (perfect ounce serving of nuts) in the bag and would dole out one serving at a time.


My “Bomb” healthy dinner recipe:


2 AmyLu’s Spicy Chicken Andouille Sausages, chopped

1 small onion (about ½ cup), chopped

1 Tbs. of olive oil

Swiss Chard (I like rainbow chard and I remove the tough stems), chopped

1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar


In a medium sauce pan, add the oil and heat. Sauté onions until slightly translucent. Add the chopped sausage and cook for another five minutes until thoroughly cooked. Add the chopped Swiss chard (spinach or kale also work). Cook until a bit wilted (usually about 3-4 minutes). Before you pull it off the burner, add the tablespoon of vinegar and stir through. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve over brown rice.

If you make the rice ahead of time (I usually make a big pot on Sunday) just warm it up and you will have a great dinner in less than 15 minutes!



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