Archive for the 'Dieting' Category

Ideal body weight calculator

Monday, June 28th, 2004

Here’s a site with a much more medically modern ideal weight range calculator than most of the others on the net. Most of them are based on 20-year-old actuarial tables that fail to take into account your age and are wildly off if you’re outside a narrow range of heights. There’s a link on the site to an explanation of what else is wrong with that commonly used set of weight ranges.

In praise of spaghetti squash

Monday, June 28th, 2004

The biggest single thing that’s made being on a diet bearable is spaghetti squash. It is a dieter’s dream food.

A spaghetti squash is an unassuming-looking yellow vegetable, roughly watermelon-shaped, generally around five pounds. Inside, the flesh is made up of pale yellow strands, which from a distance look like spaghetti noodles. (Some people say it even tastes a bit like egg noodles.) You can use it the same way you’d use noodles: mix in some vegetables or chicken, top it with some sauce, or make a light vinaigrette and use it in a salad. But unlike real noodles, it is extremely low in calories: an 8-ounce serving, which can easily serve as the main course of a meal, is only 75 calories. Yep, that’s right, only 150 calories a pound and you can eat it like pasta.

It is a winter squash, meaning it has a long shelf life as long as it’s kept in relatively cool temperatures. I keep it on my kitchen counter out of direct sunlight and have never had one go bad, even after sitting there for a month.

Cooking it couldn’t be easier: poke a hole in it with a fork and bake it at 400 degrees F for an hour or 375 degrees for 40 minutes if you have a convection oven. Let it sit on the counter for a half-hour or so to cool down, then split it open. Scoop out the seeds and the connective tissue they’re attached to. Then scrape out the flesh with a fork, and before you know it you’ll have what looks like a big bowl full of noodles.

Here’s one simple way I eat it at work; I can prepare a batch of the ingredients once a week, and it takes just a few minutes to slap together in the morning before I leave. At only 150 calories for a good-sized portion, I can bring a couple servings with me and have plenty to eat at my desk without blowing my calorie budget.

8 oz spaghetti squash (75 calories)
1/4 cup marinara sauce or other tomato-based sauce (30 calories)
1 oz chopped grilled chicken breast (45 calories)

When I’m ready to eat it, I mix it all up in a microwave-safe container and nuke it for about a minute and 20 seconds.

This site has some more elaborate recipes and some photos.