For The Love Of Food

by | Nov 30, 2012

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week romantic meals help you eat less, why you should buy organic meat, and how to fight holiday weight gain.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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How To Cook Perfect Rice Without A Rice Cooker (and store it for months)

by | Nov 26, 2012

Rice Balls

I have been getting a lot of questions about rice lately, and I am not surprised. Though some people swear by rice cookers I have found them to be inconsistent and generally unreliable, especially when it comes to brown rice.

My solution? Stove top.

A few years ago I read about this method of cooking rice that supposedly worked “every time” for every kind of rice. I had trouble believing it because I’ve found that different styles of rice have hugely different requirements in both the amount of water and time needed. However, I have had great success with the method and am extremely happy with it (sorry, I do not remember where I found it).

The reason this trick works so consistently is that it does not rely on a specific amount of time or water. Rather you need to test the grains occasionally for tenderness and decide for yourself when it is done. I have found for brown rice the entire process takes about 30 minutes, which is 10 minutes shorter than it took in my rice cooker.

Because rice does take so long to prepare, I like to make large batches and freeze individual servings so that I do not have to wait half an hour for dinner every single night.

For short grain brown rice, I use about 2 cups of dry grain and a large 2 quart sauce pan. Put the rice in the pot and add cold water until it is almost full. Use your hand to swirl the rice around and loosen any dirt and dust. When the rice settles back to the bottom, dump the water off the top and repeat. Continue to rinse rice until the water is almost perfectly clear, about 4-5 times.

After the last rinse add cold water to your rice until you have at least 3 times the volume of water to rice. Do not worry too much about the amount, and err on the side of excess. This is especially important with brown rice which absorbs much more water than white rice. Place the rice and water on the stove and turn the heat on high.

When the rice begins to boil, reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer, uncovered. This is a good time to start the rest of your dinner.

Check on the rice grains occasionally by grabbing a few out with a fork and testing them for tenderness (squish between your fingernails or taste it). Rice becomes opaque when it cooks, so there is no point in checking it while it is still somewhat translucent. Once the rice does start to turn opaque, check tenderness every 2-5 minutes. If too much water evaporates and the rice starts to look soupy, you need to add more water. You should add enough water at the beginning to avoid this.

Boil rice until it is almost tender enough to eat. In other words, imagine you are an impatient person who wants the rice to be finished as quickly as possible so you decide the rice is done and serve it, but later regret that decision because the rice is ever so slightly al dente. It is at this point you want to stop the boiling and begin the steaming.

Next drain off the remaining water. A mesh strainer or splatter guard works nicely for this (hold it over the pot and simply dump the water into the sink), but you can also carefully pour the water off and use a fork to keep loose kernels from falling out (but seriously be careful!).

Place the pot with rice back on the burner and reduce the heat to as low as it will go. Cover the rice and set a kitchen timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes turn off the burner and set the timer for another 5 minutes. Do not lift the lid during this process unless you are concerned that you messed up the boiling time and want to check on the doneness. After the rice has sat for 5 minutes, remove the lid, fluff with a fork and serve. Put the lid back on if you are going to let the rice cool in the pot.

If for some reason you think you overcooked the rice when you were boiling it, you can skip the steaming step and just let the drained rice sit covered with the burner off for 5 minutes. If you undershoot, you can always extend the length of the steaming process, but it will take much longer.

I usually wait until the rice has cooled down substantially before wrapping it in plastic. It is the last thing I do in my after-dinner clean up. To store rice, break off squares of plastic wrap and scoop individual rice servings (1/4-1/2 cup) into the middle. Fold over the plastic, twist the ends and tie them in a half knot so that the rice is in a ball, as shown. Put rice balls in a freezer bag and into the freezer.

To thaw, remove a rice ball from the freezer and allow to sit on counter for a few minutes until you can untie the knot without leaving little pieces of plastic stuck in the folds of rice. If you forgot to do this (I always forget!) you can run the knotted plastic under warm (not hot, heat releases toxins in the plastic that can get into your food) until you can untie it. Place unwrapped frozen rice ball in a small bowl and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes. I like to use our microwave cover for this, but you have to figure out for yourself what works best in your own microwave.

Having individual rice servings is very, very handy. Brown rice is a fabulous option to make light vegetable dishes, soups and salads more substantial.

I just dug this recipe out of the archives because it is so darn useful. Use it wisely.

Originally published October 12, 2008.

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Book Review: The 4-Hour Chef

by | Nov 21, 2012

The 4-Hour Chef

In my humble opinion, there are few things on this earth that improve your life (not to mention your physique) more than learning to cook.

Like most urban kids in the late 20th century, I grew up thinking that “cooking” meant heating frozen lasagna or adding orange powder and butter to tubular noodles. Heating food is hardly the same as cooking, but even if you love Kraft’s neon version of Mac N’ Cheese, if this is where your culinary adventures end you’re selling yourself sadly short.

That said, by no stretch of the imagination do I consider myself a chef. The most common request I get from readers is for more recipes. But while I am touched by the overwhelming positive responses to my roasted cauliflower and delicata squash dishes (both ultra-simple kitchen homeruns), it has been difficult for me to provide more detailed cooking instructions on a regular basis.

The reason for this is that I almost never use recipes myself. I find them constraining, which means they generate a certain amount of stress for me—not dissimilar from the feelings I had running experiments in the lab (you can keep your frozen aliquots of DNAse, thanks). It’s slightly comforting knowing I could cook by the book if I had to. But the reality is I have more fun being creative with the ingredients I have at the moment, sort of winging it as I go.

The result of this method is that while I often eat delicious food, I rarely cook exactly the same thing twice, which does not make for reliable recipe development. If I do share a recipe here on the blog, it is usually because I’ve found a simple technique to make an ingredient taste lightyears better than it had ever turned out on accident with my random kitchen hacking methods. These are discoveries I think will change your life, and I am very confident you can reproduce.

Of course when I first started cooking I was not proficient enough to be so whimsical. It took years of kitchen experiments and more than a few screw-ups to get to a place where most of the things I cook at home are edible. This skill level (nothing particularly impressive, but head and shoulders above most open-heat-serve American dinners) is the minimum you should strive for if you’re serious about optimizing your healthstyle.

Enter: The 4-Hour Chef. Despite the cooking theme, this is not a cookbook. Think of it more as a cooking class, where each recipe is designed to teach a skill (e.g. braising, sautéing, knife skills, etc.) and every subsequent recipe builds upon those of the last. The idea is to teach the principles of cooking, so that after finishing the book you can tackle any recipe you come across and, more important, have the skills to improvise on your own.

If you’ve struggled with cooking in the past, this alone is enough of a reason to pick up the book. Not only will it ensure that you have the essentials under your belt, it’ll also give you a few crowd-pleasers to dazzle dates and parents alike. But the fun doesn’t stop there.

The 4-Hour Chef is divided into five main parts: Meta-Learning, The Domestic, The Wild, The Scientist, and The Professional. For those familiar with Tim Ferriss‘ previous work, these subdivisions make perfect sense. If not, here’s a quick rundown:

Tim* is a bit of a self-made savant, and has built his career on starting as a no-name, know-nothing then transforming himself into a world-class _(fill in the blank)    . The “blank” for Tim has included holding a world record in tango, being a champion Chinese kickboxer, #1 best-selling author, etc. The full list of Tim’s accomplishments is astounding. As such he’s developed a reputation for learning things incredibly quickly, unusually and effectively. In The 4-Hour Chef he unveils the secrets of this “meta-learning” using cooking (a skill he’d always struggled with) as an example.

At first glance I was most excited about the Meta-Learning, Domestic and Scientist sections (go figure), and I was not disappointed. In “Meta” he breaks down the basics of deconstructing problems (e.g. language learning, tango, swimming, tasting, launching companies, etc.) and solving them in the most effective way possible. (It also includes how to say “I must eat” in 9 different languages. Win.). Long-time Ferriss fans will love this section.

Despite having a decent idea of how to navigate a kitchen, I learned a lot from the “Dom” section as well, and found its instructions far more logical than most introduction cookbooks. He focuses on transferable skills, like learning to “eyeball” measurements (while clarifying when you need to be exact) and knowing when something is “done.” There are also dozens of little tips and tricks that’ll instantly skyrocket your kitchen confidence, which is half the battle of sticking with it. Though I didn’t cook my way through the lesson plan (I’ve only had the book for a few days), it seemed highly approachable and even a little fun. The first day you’ll learn to make osso “buko” without ever touching a knife.

The “Sci” section wasn’t at all what I expected (come to think of it, I have no idea what I expected—I just like science). It turned out to be a crash course in molecular gastronomy, which left me a bit crestfallen at first. While I love eating at fancy restaurants that serve elegant foams and spherical droplets of surprising flavors, I’ve never had any desire to recreate these things at home; some things are best left to the professionals. But the second I saw his “Crunchy Bloody Mary” recipe where chipotle infused vodka and bloody mary mix is transformed into a gel used to fill mini celery sticks, I had a change of heart. Reading the science behind all the culinary magic of restaurants like Alinea and El Bulli is fascinating, and I picked up a few parlor tricks to impress my friends. This section is a great way to feed your inner food geek.

I didn’t expect to be as impressed with the “Wild” section. Catching city pigeons in the park with my bare hands? Thanks, but no thanks. Yet sure enough, I was roped in after a few pages. The recent devastation of Hurricane Sandy really drove home the importance of this section. Though he dives deeper into shelter building and arrow carving than I probably need (Tim may beg to differ), this section is an excellent lesson on the value of life, the importance of life skills, and even a few things you’ll use on a more regular basis, like quartering a chicken. To my surprise, I found myself enthralled by the details of cooking a squirrel over a fire and removing pigeon (aka squab) breasts from a whole bird (feathers and all) with bare hands. Yum.

The “Pro” section was another surprise. As I’ve said, I’ve never aspired to cook like a pro at home. I just want simple, tasty food. And the quicker the better. But this section is essential for transferring the skills from the rest of the book into things you can use in the real world. It also covers some essential “classic” dishes, like roasted chicken, that weren’t covered in the “Dom” section. Most important, this section teaches you the basics of kitchen creativity, and how to branch out and improvise on your own using the techniques from the earlier sections.

The 4-Hour Chef is an incredibly ambitious book, but it is clear from the beginning that the goal is always to simplify and distill the essence of any task to its basic elements. It teaches the principles of cooking (and learning in general), not one-off recipes that you may or may not get around to making. I anticipate using it for years as a reference, whether it’s to find restaurant recommendations in NYC or as a reminder of the essential few ingredients that define a specific ethnic cuisine. I’ve flagged dozens of pages to revisit in the future.

On that note, I’d highly recommend getting the hardcover if you plan to buy it. I have both the print copy and the Kindle version, and while the latter will certainly suffice (and is much lighter, if that’s an issue for you) you really miss out on the beautiful design and experience of the printed book. That said, both the print ($21.00) and the Kindle versions ($4.99) are on sale right now, so you can get both for less than the price of one originally priced hard copy ($35).

Lastly, I also love that Tim revisits life philosophies in this book, which I loved in The 4-Hour Work Week, but missed in The 4-Hour Body. The 4-Hour Chef touches on several invaluable life lessons, including why it is important to not waste food (especially if it comes from an animal), and how cooking is a path that brings you closer to love and life. Feeding ourselves is one of our most basic human needs, and is at the root of our life, our culture and ultimately our happiness.

Bon appetit! 

*Full disclosure: As many of you know, Tim is a friend. He even included a jumbotron shot of me stuffing my face in the first few pages of the book. Hence my using his first name in this review and not his surname, which is more conventional in journalism. That said, he did not ask me to write this review, nor am I being compensated in any way for writing it (unless you count the $0.20 Amazon affiliate commission I’d get from reviewing any book in their inventory—blogging isn’t particularly profitable). The truth is I would have reviewed The 4-Hour Chef whether I knew Tim or not (I was a fan before we were friends, The 4-Hour Work Week changed my life), because I knew it had the potential to be particularly valuable to you (my readers). You may think you want more recipes, but what you really want is to feed yourself well in as many ways as possible. This book is the equivalent of teaching you to fish, rather than giving you fish. If you still have conflict of interest concerns, feel free to voice them in the comments. Just keep in mind that nothing trumps trust on the internet and I’ve spent years working to gain yours. As much as I like Tim, I’d be an idiot to jeopardize that.

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UPDATE: Farmers Market Gift Set + 20% off Mercado – Offer Extended!

by | Nov 16, 2012

UPDATE: Joyus has extended the offer until Thanksgiving Day, November 22! Happy Holidays!

I’m thrilled to announce an amazing farmers market gift set I put together with Emily Olson and the folks over at Joyus.

The set includes Mercado (the farmers market bag I helped design), a set of reusable produce bags, a jar of tomatoes from the amazing Happy Girl Kitchen, Good Food Award winning pickled cauliflower with turmeric, and a grow your own mushroom kit. It’s perfect for the farmers market shopper in your life, and a great way to get some of your holiday shopping done of early.

The gift set is a steal for $69.95. But this week only Summer Tomato readers can take 20% off their entire Joyus purchase.

Just use the link: bit.ly/stomato and enter the code: SUMMERTOMATO

Sale ends November 17 November 22!

Pssst… the code will get you 20% off even if you want to get a Mercado or two for yourself. Enjoy!

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How To Become A Great Cook Without Being A Chef

by | Nov 12, 2012
Photo by Sara Bjork

Photo by Sara Bjork

I have a confession to make: I don’t love to cook.

Sure I like the idea of cooking, and I’m glad that I can cook, but my idea of a perfect day rarely involves spending time in the kitchen.

What I really love is food.

I love to shop for ingredients and envision the delicious dishes I can make with them. I love the taste of fresh, ripe, seasonal produce from the farmers market. I love the way good food makes me feel. I love the knowledge that what I eat helps me thrive.

But cutting stuff up and putting it in a pan isn’t particularly fun for me, though I certainly enjoy the fruits of my labor.

For me cooking is a means to an end. I cook for my own health and happiness, and for whomever I happen to be sharing my time with at the moment.

This is enough for me.

I came to realize my lack of cooking passion over the past several weeks as I’ve watched my fellow food bloggers fret on Twitter over holiday meal plans, perfect cookies and fallen souffles. It became very obvious to me that I had no desire to entertain dozens of people or perfect the quintessential holiday recipe.

I’m proud of the food I make and it’s always important to me to do a good job (I love eating, remember), I just don’t have that extra drive that distinguishes a good cook from a true chef.

For some, cooking is a true passion–they adore being in the kitchen and everything it involves. These are my heroes. They are the brilliant chefs responsible for the exquisite food all over this wonderful city. They construct the fabulous recipes I count on when searching cookbooks and blogs for something new. They photograph the beautiful dishes that inspire me to try a little harder. Without passionate chefs we would not have spectacular food, and I am profoundly thankful for them.

But not all of us can be amazing cooks. Fortunately it isn’t necessary to be a Michelin-rated chef to make delicious food.

Simple, fresh cooking doesn’t require any special talent. It all starts with excellent ingredients and just a few basic techniques that anyone can master with practice.

The moral of the story is that you do not have to be a kitchen ninja (or even particularly enjoy cooking) to be able to feed yourself well on a daily basis. The most important step is getting in the habit of buying good-quality, seasonal food and learning the basic skills you need to whip up something you enjoy.

If you get in the habit of cooking for yourself, it will one day stop feeling like a big ordeal and become second nature. You’ll get faster at chopping, you won’t need to constantly check recipes and measure ingredients, and you’ll intuitively know when and in which order to add things to the pot. But all this takes practice, and if you don’t make a regular habit of cooking for yourself it will continue to be difficult.

The good news is once you are comfortable in the kitchen, more interesting and complex recipes start to sound appealing. This is not necessarily because you learned to love cooking, but simply because it is easier for you.

Once you’ve broken the proficiency barrier you open a world of different dishes and cuisines, unchaining yourself from repetitive stir fries and culinary boredom.

For the non-chef, this is the level of proficiency you want to achieve. You do not have to love cooking to enjoy making dinner. You just have to get beyond the point where you struggle with it. It really isn’t as hard as it sounds.

Why do you cook?

Originally published January 4, 2010.

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Farmers Market Update: Sydney, Australia

by | Nov 11, 2012

Fresh Vegetables

Tora Cullip and Donna Richards are Weight Control Experts based in Sydney, Australia. They teach people how to get in control of their weight by mastering their mindset, motivation and metabolism. They believe that eating real, whole food is not only delicious, nutritious and satiating, but also allows you to easily control your weight without diets and deprivation. They prefer to eat local, seasonal and preferably organic and believe the only diet anyone should ever follow is the Upgrade Diet —always be upgrading to better quality food!

Follow them on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter @donnaandtora.

Eveleigh Market, Sydney, Australia

by Tora Cullip and Donna Richards

Eveleigh Market

Although Sydney isn’t a huge city, we are typical Sydneysiders in that we don’t always venture too far out of our own stomping ground on weekends, so we didn’t come across Eveleigh Market until about a year ago. Since then, it’s become our firm favourite and the one that we visit every Saturday. In fact, during our first trip to Eveleigh Market we had a mixture of excitement and disbelief: how could we not have known about this fantastic market only 20 minutes away?

Over the past year, we’ve come to know a lot of the stall holders at Eveleigh Market and we are always amazed at their stories. One of the things we love the most about farmers markets is discovering how everyone came to be growing or making their own produce. Without fail, each of them is driven by a passion and belief in health for their families, community and the environment. We love that!

Overlooking Eveleigh Market

We know that people can find getting their groceries for the week a real chore and hassle, so we like to think of our farmers market trip as our ‘hunting and gathering’ time. That may sound a bit silly, but it makes our weekly trip to get all of our fresh produce seem fun and enjoyable rather than humdrum. Of course, it helps that we always pick up a piccolo latte before we get started.

We made this particular trip to Eveleigh Market in November, which for us down under is Spring. We’re not quite into stone fruit season, and our favourite organic farmer doesn’t come back until Summer, but apart from that this is the perfect time for us to enjoy all the wonderful local produce from the State of New South Wales.

Donna Richards

After a stop at the coffee bar, we picked up our vegan falafels at Naturally Falafel. Josline runs the stall and is also the founder and head chef of the business. She started making falafels because she loves cooking and wanted to do a small job while she was having her three children. With a Middle Eastern background, her passion is for this style of food and she found that people quickly took to her delicious falafels. Her business has grown from running one little stall at a farmers market selling falafels to, three years later, having 30 shops on board and a range of different flavours of falafels. Despite that growth, she still makes all of the falafels by hand and they are all gluten free, 100% vegan and contain all natural ingredients. If you’re in Australia, these are definitely the best tasting falafels in the country.

Salads Direct

There’s nothing better than a falafel and fresh green salad, so our next stop was Salads Direct. Jason runs the stall and the farm, and gets up at precisely the right time each day to get the maximum nutrition out of his range of lettuce and edible flowers. On market days, he’s still up just as early to ensure his customers get the freshest produce. And all that hard work pays off. His salad leaves are the best we have ever tasted; you can literally eat a bowl of his salad leaves with no dressing or any additions because they are so full of flavour. Delicious!

Salads Direct

Margin’s Mushrooms are a family run business, so each week it’s a surprise as to which dynamic duo you’ll see running the stall. On this trip, wife Christine was there with a member of their picking team. Although Donna has always been an avid mushroom eater, Tora’s only been a convert since discovering the non-watery, full flavoured variety. And that would be Margin Mushrooms. The family are also such happy and delightful people that we think they send these positive vibes into all of their mushrooms.

Margin's Mushrooms

We always like to start the morning with some lemon in hot water. We don’t like those waxy ones you get when you’re at the supermarket, so we always pick up a big pile of organic lemons from Champion’s Mountain Organics. That’s not the only thing they grow, of course. They also have a fantastic range of produce that is always changing because they only sell what’s in season. Cucumbers, zucchini, leeks and lots of greens were also on offer this trip.

Champions Mountain Organics

A few months ago, we were a bit disappointed that our favourite ‘Egg Man’, also known as Egganics, seemed to have disappeared from Eveleigh Market. These are the best tasting eggs and have the brightest, deepest hues of orange and yellow yolks—we couldn’t believe they had left. Thankfully, they are now back with their weekly stall so we can enjoy these true free-range and certified organic eggs again. If you check out their website you’ll see that the chickens (or chooks as they’re known in Australia) are free to roam in huge amounts of pasture space. They are also incredibly fresh, thanks to a family effort at getting the eggs delivered fresh to the market each week.

We did discover one interesting new fact this time: the color of the egg yolks change according to the seasons, so in summer they are lighter because the pastures are lighter. You learn something new every day.

Egganics

Macadamia Nuts are a popular nut in Australia, but most people only eat them when they’re chocolate coated or dipped in honey, not realising that they have so many health benefits. However, Hand ‘N’ Hoe organic macadamias come to the rescue with their spread of oils, natural and roasted butters as well as the ‘treat’ style macadamia. Owners David and Kerrie Flinter first started planting in 1997 and lived in a tent for three years before they got things off the ground, trialling various types of macadamia until they discovered what was most suitable to their soil and climate. They now proudly employ people in the surrounding area, which is a high unemployment area, to help with their hand harvesting and offer a fantastic product. We often chat to David about the benefits of macadamia oil. He couldn’t believe we weren’t using it on our skin. He’s also very generous with his free chocolate covered nuts.

Hand N Hoe Macadamia

As our Eveleigh Market trip drew to a close we had a lovely chat with Kemps Creek Farms, which is a co-op of six to nine farmers providing seasonal vegetables. Many of the farmers are retired or don’t speak much English—Italians, Cambodians, Chinese, Lebanese and Nepalese people all contribute their produce to Kemps Creeks Farms, and they have the most amazing mixture as they often grow produce that’s unique to their origins and not readily available in Australia. For example, this is the stall where we finally found purslane, which has the highest omega-3 content of any green vegetable. They all try to use as little pesticide as possible to grow their produce, so we know to always expect to find a little snail or worm hole when we return home with our produce.

Kemps Creek Farms

Although we enjoy our weekly trip to Eveleigh Market, we particularly loved this one as we got to spend more time chatting to the stall holders about their wares. If you live in Sydney, or ever make the trip to Australia, do be sure to pay Eveleigh Market a visit. We think it’s the best Farmers Market in Sydney.

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For The Love Of Food

by | Nov 9, 2012

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week sitting goes out of style, mindful eating competes with nutritionists, and we learn the truth about boxers vs briefs.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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Healthy Snacks For After Your Workout

by | Nov 5, 2012
Delicious Nuts

Delicious Nuts

“When I work out at the gym, I am there for a couple of hours and by the end of the first hour, I am still energized but start getting hungry. I read your article on packing food for lunch but wanted to specifically ask if you recommend any specific store bought bars.”

I frequently get questions about different nutrition and energy bars. Generally I think they are a bad idea, since they are usually just processed food with added vitamins and/or other trendy diet ingredients—a hallmark of food from the Matrix.

Energy and meal replacement bars serve only one purpose: convenience. Some may be better than others (check the ingredients to be sure), but don’t fool yourself into thinking these are health foods.

That said, I understand that quick calories can be incredibly useful, particularly when intense workouts are a regular part of your day. If you get hungry and don’t have anything around to eat, the chances of you breaking down and eating something you’ll really regret increase substantially. But I think there are better things to carry around than energy bars.

My quick snack of choice is nuts or trail mix. I always have a small stash of nuts hidden somewhere in my gym bag (which comes with me everywhere). My personal favorites are almonds, pistachios, cashews and macadamia nuts. When I’m feeling ambitious I’ll combine a few different kinds together in a plastic zipper bag along with some dried fruit, just to mix things up.

One of the only drawbacks of snacking on nuts is if you are really hungry it is easy to eat too many and ruin your appetite for dinner. Too many nuts can also be difficult to digest. To avoid this I recommend getting into the habit of counting the nuts you eat, drinking water and waiting 20 minutes before eating more. The protein and fat in nuts can be very satisfying, but it takes awhile for the satiety signals to reach your brain.

For almonds, cashews and macadamia nuts 10 is a good number to start with. For shelled pistachios and peanuts, 15-20 nuts is more realistic. You are aiming for a single serving size of 1/4 cup. After some practice, eating the proper amount will come naturally to you. But at the beginning you should either count the nuts or measure them out in advance so it is easier to make good decisions.

There are a few other easily transportable foods that can serve as good substitutes for energy bars. Fruit is a great option, particularly filling fruits with lots of fiber like apples and oranges. Be careful with soft fruits, however, or you may end up with a gym bag filled with goo. Yes, I’m speaking from experience.

(Read: How to transport soft fruits and vegetables)

Another option that I don’t often use but am not opposed to is jerky. Beef and turkey jerky are generally high in protein and very satisfying. Just be careful about the teriyaki flavor that is often high in added sugar.

As a final thought, I wonder if you are maybe spending too much time in the gym? For weight loss and fat burning, more than an hour is really overkill and may actually work against you. If you are training for a specific athletic event, you’ve gotta do what you gotta do. But for the rest of us mortals one hour in the gym is more than enough to accomplish our goals. Maybe your hunger is a signal to you that it’s time to shower up and head home?

One of the most essential aspects of a great healthstyle is planning for moments of hunger throughout your day, but processed foods are hardly ever the answer, no matter how convenient.

What are your favorite post-workout snacks?

Originally published November 16, 2009.

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For The Love Of Food

by | Nov 2, 2012

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

A trifecta of exercise benefits, the secrets to maintaining weight loss & new benefits of language learning.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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