Thoughts on Dating
It all started when my husband noticed the date on someone’s garbage can. We thought that was a great idea, you know, to see how long a garbage can would last. Then those Sharpie-inscribed dates started appearing on lots of things at our house—like hubby’s economy-sized shampoo, the box of garbage bags, the peanut butter. I must admit, I took it personally when he dated the peanut butter, so much so that I asked him how long he thought a jar of peanut butter should last in our house.
In order to preserve our privacy, this is where that story ends; however, I did think I could put to good use the concept of “dating” some food items. Just how long does it take us to use a bottle of cooking oil, tub of margarine, bottle of salad dressing or jar of mayonnaise? If these items are used quickly, we could be unintentionally getting more calories than we thought. That quart and a half of cooking oil contains 11,520 calories! Consider—just a tablespoon of oil has 120 calories (there are 1,920 calories in a cup) regardless of the type of oil. We can make healthier choices like canola and olive oil, but the calories are the same.
How can we use less of these high-calorie ingredients? Use an oil sprayer to mist your pan before sautéing seasoning. A mister can add a mere teaspoon to the pot, and spread it evenly, whereas pouring from a bottle adds so much more with less coverage. And you can choose your healthier oils with no aerosol. Buy a soft tub margarine that lists water as the first ingredient. These may not always perform to our liking in baking, but it can modify the calories when used as a table spread or on vegetables. Buy a low-fat mayonnaise for sandwiches and use a mustard-mayo-chicken broth mixture to moisten chicken, tuna and potato salads. When eating a green salad, use the dip-and-stick method. Pour dressing in a small bowl; dip the tines of your fork in the dressing first, then in your salad. You will get the flavor of the dressing without all the added calories of a drenched salad.
I know you think I must be terrible to live with. But, hey, he started it.
Debbie Melvin, M.S., C.F.C.S., is an extension agent for the LSU AgCenter. She specializes in nutrition and knows just about everything there is to know about everyday living.