Topping the Perfect Bread Time Snack

Question: Is putting butter on bread really that bad? Please say no- I love it.

Ha ha! Well lucky you- No, its not THAT bad. But it’s not that good either. Often times when choosing foods (or toppings, which is always my weakness too), its simply a matter of ‘pick your poison.’ While often times eating a certain food item isn’t THAT bad, you can typically find an equivalent that is just more nutrient dense. If calories were money, wouldn’t you rather get more for your money?? That being said, lets compare some stuff!

Butter is actually full of some nutrients that you want and need. Its high in vitamin A, and has a touch of vitamins E and K. It also has some stronium, which works with calcium and magnesium to promote bone health, and some chromium which helps your body maintain normal blood sugar levels. The bad, however, is that butter has 11 grams of fat per tbsp, and 63% of that is saturated fat which is no good.

Olive oil on the other hand is a whole other ball game. It has 14 grams of fat per tbsp, however, its a monounsaturated fat that is high in omega-3 and it is only 14% saturated fat. It too has high levels of stronium as well as lots of vitamin E and K. You can even amp this up to add even more flavor and nutrients by sprinkling in a tbsp of parmesan cheese (or another hard/grated cheese) which boosts the nutrient value of this bread business ten fold. Then you receive stronium, chromium, calcium, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, B12 and riboflavin, as well as a complete protein. Additionally, you’re likely to use less olive oil than butter because it spreads more easily.

So pick your poison, but it looks to me like you get a lot more for your money (akhem…calories) with some olive oil and cheese sprinkle, which I personally think tastes more flavorful too.

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Gimme a Tater

taterWhy Do I love baked potatoes you ask? Because they are delicious and nutritious!
A 10-11 oz potato (as seen in many restaurants) can be a meal in itself yes- but what you’re getting can be a whole lotta good.
In that 2/3 pounder, you’re getting:

  • 230 vitamin and mineral full energy units (calories)
  • 6 grams of protein (incomplete)
  • 46 grams of carbohydrates
  • 0- thats right ZERO grams of fat.
  • 5,420 mg of dietary fiber (if you eat the skin) and thats a lot of something people tend to get too little of
  • a measly 20 mg of sodium (and thats a good thing)
  • 1500 mg of potassium
  • about 80% of your vitamin C
  • a healthy serving of your energy metabolizing B vitamins (riboflavin, niacin and thiamin)
  • about 20% of the hard to come by B6
  • and about 10% of your daily iron. PLUS a potato offers iron which has a greater bioavailability which means your body absorbs more of it.
  • Plus much more such as zinc, phosphorus, magnesium and folic acid.

Bring it on right! Thats a lot of nutrition at a zero grams of fat rate!

So why the bad wrap for the ever nutrient-dense taters? Because of all the crap we put on them. So here’s the skinny on how to stay skinny and still enjoy the occational tater.

  • Skip the salt. If you go out to eat, ask your server for an unsalted potato. Most likely it can be done
  • Salsa is a low to no fat, no cholesterol option with some added anti-oxidant properties. Also high in iron, B vitamins and vitamin A. I add it to every tater I eat and its delicious.
  • Skip the bacon. I mean…. Just dont get it. Next.
  • Sour cream vs butter- if you must. (and I stress- if you must) PICK ONE! And I think thats generous of me. But you really should not get both unless it is your birthday which gives you one day a year to indulge in pleasures of fattning business.

So lets compare the two. While regular sour cream has a little more (1 gram to be exact) fat per serving than butter the saturated fat is the same at about 7 grams. Sour cream has about 30 calories per Tbsp and butter has about 100 (two servings of butter and you’ve just nearly doubled the calories of the whole potato!) Sour cream has 10 mg of cholesterol compared to butter’s 30mg and 10 mg of sodium compared to butter’s 95 mg (although I am using a salted butter and unsalted is available in grocery stores. Not likely in restaurants). Lastly- sour cream has one gram of protein and butter has none. Again, they both contain saturated fat which you’d be adding a perfectly fat free potato, so I am not advising the loading of either of these substances. But if you MUST add one, sour cream wins.

Now for the grated debate: cheese. This is better than butter or sour cream. At 2.25 grams of fat, 1.25 grams of sat. fat, 7.5 mg of cholesterol, and 47.5 mg of sodium, it’s lower in the ikky stuff than butter or sour cream. And the real plus: cheese has 1.75 g of protein.*

So whats my perfect potato (and trust me I eat about 4 a week- no joke)

One potato unsalted with 2 tbsp. cheese and and 2 tbsp. scallions in it (so that the cheese can get melty- yum). On the side, two tbsp. of sour cream, and about 4 tbsp (more if needed) of salsa. This brings my potato to… Lets see:

  • Potato= 230 nutrient dense calories
  • Cheese = 55 calories
  • Scallions= about 4 calories (and so much flavor!)
  • Sour Cream= 60 calories
  • Salsa= 20 calories

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  • Grand total of 369 calories. A drop in your daily bucket. And this isn’t going to leave you wanting more. You get to be a little bad so you’re not restricting yourself entirely (which we all know Im totally against) and you get a whole lot of flavor and nutrients.

* Please note that all tater toppings were obtained from my fridge and all nutrient values were calculated at 1 tbsp of said product. They include:

  • Giant brand sour cream
  • Land-O-Lakes butter
  • Sargento chef style sharp cheddar
  • Nature’s Promise Medium organic salsa (Low sodium)

**My side note: Add a 6 oz chicken breast and 5 spears of asparagus for a whole super filling super nutrtious and satisfying meal at only about 544 calories. Not hard right?? Enjoy!