Top 10 Foods to Watch in 2011

How will this year’s Top 10 Foods to Watch impact your nutrition and weight-loss efforts? Read on.

1. Small pies. Think sweet and savory, bite-sized to extra large. Picture stand-alone pie shops as well as plethora of pies integrated into countless menus. Nutritionally speaking, opt for bite sized! Depending on a pie’s circumference and ingredients, the portion size can fluctuate. Research shows wedge-shaped foods such as pies and pizza to be among the most difficult to accurately determine portion size. I tell my patients to count bites—4 modest bites for women and 5 men help keep portion size in check. Remember, the first bite tastes the same as the last so minimize those in between to keep your diet on track.

2. Sausage. Nutritionally speaking, there aren’t many good things to say about sausage. It is a combination of fatty meats stuffed into a casing, not to mention their high sodium content. The fact that the sausage is local won’t change its nutrition content…it’s still a high fat meat.

3. Nutmeg. No calories and a great complementary spice to cinnamon, clove, and so many more. Enjoy!

4. Moonshine. This alcohol is now legally distilled in some parts of the country and is predicted to be a hot commodity in 2011. This fermented corn mash packs similar caloric content to your average liquor, with about 70 calories per ounce. Just remember to count the calories of your mixer if you can’t get it down without one. Everything in moderation…

5. Gourmet Ice Pops. Better known as paletas in Mexico, these delicious treats are often worth the calories, but do your research. Seek out the best place in town and plan your calories accordingly- perhaps an extra Zumba class this week or an extra 15 minutes on the treadmill can help justify “spending” up to hundreds of calories on these hot weather goodies.

6. Grits. It’s true they can be delicious, but grits are mostly refined grain meaning they deliver less than desired fiber and other nutrients. Additionally, they’re often dressed with butter and/or cheese to give them a creamier texture. Maybe you can substitute No. 7 for the grits?

7. Sweet potatoes. A naked sweet potato is a great veggie loaded with nutrients and has a higher fiber content than your average potato. However, beware of sweet potato fries…because a fry is a fry…and any version of a loaded sweet potato which could be fat and sugar-ridden.

8. Fin fish. Again, be cautious of the fried variety, but otherwise Americans could use more fish in their diet. Remember, a portion’s size for fish is about the size of a check.

9. Cupuaçu fruit. We’ll trust the Food Channel’s prediction for this sister of the acai berry. When you see it arrive at a grocery store near you, pick it up for the nutrients and antioxidants it promises.

10. Beans. They’re good for your heart and so much more. This is the food trend dietitians have been pushing for years.

Here’s to a Happy, Healthy 2011!