Louisiana is known for its mouth-watering cuisine. The downside of that is it’s easy to get carried away chowing down on foods that aren’t healthy. How do you find the balance of eating well and living well? Molly Kimball, registered dietitian with Ochsner Fitness Center, offers some tips.
1. Red Beans & Rice
As local specialties go, red beans and rice isn’t bad health-wise. Kimball loves red beans because of the high amounts of protein, fiber and antioxidants. But, the rice can be a problem, try cauliflower rice instead. It has 80 percent fewer carbs and calories. Also, try substituting chicken sausage for pork.
2. Fried Chicken
What people stereotypically think of as fried chicken is battered and fried. Kimball says if you fry chicken, but don’t batter, it’s actually much better for you. Popeye’s calls it “blackened tenders.”
Boiled crawfish are very high in sodium. Kimball suggests sautéing or stir-frying crawfish tails. Also, if you want to make étouffée, try using a vegan, plant-based butter such as Earth Balance.
If you want a healthier gumbo, try using brown rice flour for the roux. Aside from being a smarter choice, it also provides a finer texture.
You’re only human. It’s OK to splurge every once in a while on the state’s decadent food options. But, you can always work to make it healthier. For example, if you get a fried seafood poor boy, take the top half of the bread off . Kimball says it’s important to ask yourself what “bad” foods are worth it for you. Healthy eating plans with no cheats are usually doomed to fail. “Don’t sweat it on the occasional treat,” Kimball says.