“On top of spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball,
When somebody sneezed…”
Anybody? Anybody? I’m all alone here with this one?
Alright, well whether you enjoyed that song as a kid or not, who doesn’t like Spaghetti? I’m a fan of angel hair with meat & marinara sauce, toasted French bread covered with butter, Caesar salad, and a glass of Pinot Noir. I was whipping this up the other night for dinner and started calculating out my numbers that looked something like this:
Food: calories / carbs / protein / fat / fiber
Noodles 1 cup: 221 / 43 / 8 / 1 / 3
Sauce 1/2 cup: 90 / 11 / 3 / 3.5 / 2 << Classico Four Cheese Spaghetti Sauce
Ground Beef 3 oz: 182 / 0 / 23 / 9 / 0 << 90% lean
About a 1” slice: 93 / 18 / 4 / 1 / 1
Butter 1 TBSP: 100 / 0 / 0 / 11 / 0
Caesar Salad 1 Cup: 80 / 4 / 1.5 / 7 / .5
Total SO FAR:
That is already a BIG meal. 766 calories is a LOT of food for your body to consume all at once. Unless you are a professional athlete or have a VERY physical job, you are just asking to pack on the pounds.
BUT IT GETS WORSE!
Most people will eat about 2 servings worth of noodles, sauce, beef (all combined as the entrée), and 2 or 3 pieces of bread with butter (let’s assume 2). Even if you stick with 1 cup of salad, your numbers look like this for ONE MEAL:
That is about 3/4 or more of your entire daily calories (assuming a 1,900 calorie diet). The amount of carbohydrates and fat are also through the roof!
I try to eat between 30 and 45 grams of carbs per meal (generally speaking). I am diabetic, but even for non-diabetics this isn’t a bad general rule. Your body needs carbs for energy, but overload combined with a sedentary lifestyle will equal obesity. Moreover, if you are using “regular” noodles instead of multi-grain noodles you are getting more simple carbohydrates that convert to glucose faster and are perfect for gaining weight.
I LIKE SPAGHETTI
I’ll still make it for dinner once in a while. But you can’t eat like this every night. If calorie, carb, and fat heavy foods are your typical dinner – things like pasta, burritos, enchiladas, fried anything, etc. – your body will suffer.
SO WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT IT?
I’m a crazed maniac when it comes to tracking my health. I get it. I can’t get through my day without my Game Plan daily tracking sheet.
Of course I would recommend that you use it, so you too can fine tune your health. BUT if you aren’t going to do that, at least add up your numbers for a meal here and there. Get an idea of what you are eating.
IGNORANCE IS PUNISHMENT
When you ignore your numbers, and don’t track, you will punish your body with food. The food industry is not on your side. They adjust sizes regularly so they can maximize financial profit, not improve your health. Even worse, they will use ingredients that are not the best for you, because that costs more money to produce, and therefore reduces their financial margins. But they are in business, it is what they are supposed to do. I don’t blame them. It is YOUR JOB to pay attention to what you are putting in your body.
BUT HEALTH FOOD TASTES TERRIBLE
I like some things and not others, but you have to find things that you enjoy. And remember, your body will likely be coming off of a diet of simple carbs, so you will need to adjust. Give it some time and let your palette adjust and I think you will find that many things actually taste pretty good. I’m all about the “ER”. I’ve known people who are super nutrition warriors, and I know I’ll never live up to that. But they are my inspiration to do better. So instead of a Snickers bar I’ll have a ProGrade Craver bar, instead of a McDonnald’s Big Mac I’ll have a Carl’s Jr Low Carb Burger. My choices aren’t always perfect, that Low Carb burger still has 43g of fat! But I try to be about the “ER” and live healthiER.
SO NEXT TIME TRY THIS…
Make spaghetti for dinner with multi-grain noodles. Measure your portion so you can get an idea of what 1 serving really is. Add up your numbers and get a feel for how many calories, carbs, protein, fat and fiber units you are consuming.
The more you do this, the better you will become at estimating your meals. Nothing can compare to the precision of nutrition labels, but at least you won’t be delusional as you pile your plate up into a mound of body punishing goop.