Food Matters Tip of the Week #7

Week #7 of these tips – and only one more to go before it goes on a bit of a hiatus for a few weeks.  I hope everyone has been getting something out of these and you have been both taking on the weekly challenges AND trying out the recipes.

With (what seems like) every office Christmas party in the world being scheduled for the next few days, this weeks tip is going to be all about alcohol, drinking and that sort of stuff.  Before you turn away with a ‘I have to be allowed to live my life’ type of comment, please just hang about for a second.  This is not about not drinking.  And it is not about drinking in moderation.  (But if you are on a weight loss kick AND are hoping to get some good training done the day after the night before, you should be seriously thinking about the second option – moderation – if not the first – abstinence!).  What it is about is understanding what is in the drinks you are making/ordering and making smart choices.

So…here is a quick and dirty list of some common drinks and the number of calories in each one:

  • 1 vodka soda: 64 calories (the soda has zero calories!)
  • 1 glass of white wine: 100 calories
  • 1 glass of sparkling wine: 100 calories
  • 1 glass of red wine: 120 calories
  • 1 full-strength beer (250ml bottle): 155 calories (note – this is the standard drink size NOT a bottle).
  • 1 old-fashioned: 150 calories
  • 1 gin and tonic: 200 calories (Lots and lots of sugar in tonic water!)
  • 1 rum and cola: 248 calories (Lots and lots of sugar in tonic water!)
  • 1 espresso martini: 285 calories

So…what else has 285 calories?  Well, I have to admit to being a bit too lazy to look it up but I seem to remember that 150g of chicken – enough to serve ME – works out to 250 calories…so I could make an entire MEAL (chicken and vegies or chicken and salad, hold the rice/potatoe) for less than 300g.  So if you think of every espresso martini being the equivalent of your evening meal, maybe that will discourage you from having 4 of them?  Just have the one, slide back to the vodka/sodas and live to fight another day!

Easy Prep for Cheat of the week

This is simple.  Go to Dr. Google.  Type in ‘How many calories in…..’ and add your favorite drink – or rather, the drink you are planning on drinking on your next night out – and just see what the ‘damage’ is going to be.  If you are feeling really keen, go back to Dr. Google and ask what meals/foods you could eat that are the same number of calories as that drink.

You could go another way as well.  Work out how many minutes you would need to spend on one of the assault bikes for every calorie in each drink…

Food Matters Challenge of the Week.

No challenge this week (or next week).  Relax and enjoy your Christmas time with friends and family…but go into it knowing how many calories are in what and how hard it will be to undo the ‘damage’!

Recipe of the Week

Baby Octopus (or Squid) with Sliced Capsicum and Chilli’s

Watcha need.

  • 2-3 Capsicums (various colours works amazingly well)
  • 2x medium chillis – one red and one green would look cool.
  • 1kg squid (cleaned of course) OR 1kg baby octopus (washed)
  • A couple of big handfuls of english spinach
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Ground sea salt to taste
  • 2 Red onions, thinly sliced (not chopped)
  • Balsamic vinegar to taste
  • Half a lemon to squeeze over the final product
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped, leafy herbs (basil works, parsley works, you pick).

How You do it?

Seed and slice the capsicums.  You want them to be less than 1cm wide but ‘long’ slices.  Peel and slice the onions.  Again, long slices (not chopped).  Dice the chillis.  Chuck all of that in a pan on a low-ish heap and cook until the onion softens and the taste is right through the pan.  Set it aside (you can actually put it straight in the intended serving bowl if you like) with the olive oil.  Give it a bit of a stir and leave it.

If you have squid, slice it up into pieces that approximate the size of the capsicum slices.  If you have occie, don’t worry about cutting it.  Mix the coconut oil through the squid/occie and chuck it on a bbq at a pretty reasonable heat.  Squid wont take more than 2 minutes or so to cook (you will need to turn it after 45 seconds or so) whilst the octopus will take a bit longer (but not much).  Get it off the hotplate and chuck it in a bowl.  Add the salt and pepper to the squid/occie and stir it around, add lemon juice and keep stirring, add the herbs (if you want them) and keep stirring.

When you are happy that it is all mixed through, chuck the squid/occie in with the capsicum you cooked earlier and stir it all through.  Add the english spinach and stir that through.  Other stuff you can add if you are keen includes halved baby tomatoes, slices of baby cucumber, snow peas (nice and crunchy).  I also love adding giardiniera to something like this (olives, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes) and writing all this down I could see myself adding some sauerkraut or even some kimchi if I had it at hand.  Then again, the kids probably wouldn’t like that so it might be something to put on the table and be put on the individual plates of people who want it rather than into the ‘main bowl’.

There you go.  I am not really much of a seafood person but even I have to admit this stuff is delicious and you will find it is super easy to make and quite inexpensive.