While Californians are often thought of as health-conscious, the foods they eat may hinder their healthy, active life style, according to the California Dietetic Assn.
An active body needs a balanced diet consisting of foods from the nutrient-based food groups--milk, meat, vegetables and fruits, and breads and cereals--to stay healthy and physically fit.
Some Substitutions Needed
However, some common California dishes are not only high in calories, but relatively low in nutrients. With minor substitutions, these foods can be made more nutritious to support the physical needs of the healthy Californian.
The CDA offers the following list of foods often thought of as typically Californian and how they can be made more nutritious and lower in calories:
The California sandwich--cream cheese, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes and avocado on whole-wheat bread--served with a glass of mineral water provides 480 calories and only two servings from the four food groups. Try substituting turkey and a slice of Swiss cheese for the cream cheese on the sandwich, and servings from all four food groups are provided, adding only 33 calories.
A wedge of bacon and Cheddar quiche served with a glass of white wine can have as many as 420 calories with only two food group servings. Calories can be brought down to 310 for the meal by using lean ham, zucchini, skim milk and mozzarella cheese, and served with orange juice mixed with sparkling water. It also provides one serving each from the milk, meat and vegetable/fruit groups.
Some Light Choices
The following California foods are light, nutritious meals, relatively low in calories, perfect for lunch.
--Quesadilla: Flour tortilla with melted cheese, chopped tomatoes, avocado and onions provides about 390 calories and one serving each from the milk group, vegetable/fruit and bread/cereal groups.
--Fresh fruit smoothie: Made with one banana, one-half cup of strawberries and one cup of low-fat milk, this contains 259 calories, one milk group serving and two servings from the vegetable/fruit group. Smoothies are quick nutrition if you're in a hurry.
--California salad: Iceberg lettuce with sliced carrots, tomatoes, bean sprouts, green onion and chunks of chicken, sprinkled with sunflower seeds, served with two tablespoons of sesame oil dressing consists of one serving from the meat group and two servings from the vegetable/fruit group for about 490 calories.
--California pasta salad: One-half cup of cooked pasta tossed with fresh broccoli, cauliflower, one-half cup of tiny shrimp with a curried low-fat yogurt dressing provides about 511 calories and one serving from three of the four food groups with calcium from the yogurt dressing.