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Phoenix Forward

5 rules for healthy eating with Pinterest

How to eat healthy on Pinterest

When it comes to using recipes you find on Pinterest® pinboards to plan your next meal, don’t let a mouth-watering photo guide your diet, says Lauren Dauro, a dietitian and health and wellness instructor for the  University of Phoenix College of Natural Sciences. “There are some big misconceptions that ‘homemade’ always equals ‘healthy.’”

Here are Dauro’s tips on how to find the most nutritious — and delicious — recipes:

Read the ingredients list.

While butter and cream can fit into a healthy diet in moderation, Dauro says, it’s important to check the measurements.

She ran across a prime example of this with a recipe for a twice baked potato that included a cup of butter, six strips of bacon and a cup of sour cream.

A better and quicker alternative: Bake a plain potato until steaming, and then finish it with small amounts of toppings.

Use natural ingredients.

If your grandmother wouldn’t recognize a product used in a recipe, Dauro says, don’t use it. “Today, food manufacturers are adding more and more preservatives, additives and fillers into foods, many of which haven’t been around long enough to know how they will affect us and our kids later in life.

“Would grandma have cooked something with sodium benzoate or sucralose?” Dauro asks.

If you spot any of the following types of ingredients, take a pass if natural is your priority: crescent rolls, soup or pancake mixes, soft drinks, taco or seasoning mixes, pudding mixes, whipped topping and food coloring.

Beware of overly simplified recipes.

“There are some fantastic, healthy recipes out there with only five ingredients, but most I have seen with this claim use processed convenience foods as one of their ingredients,” Dauro says.

One such recipe she found included cream of chicken soup and onion soup mix. “Your ‘five-ingredient chicken’ just turned into “60-ingredient, chemical-laden chicken,” she explains.

Fact-check claims of “low calorie” or “low fat.”

“What really irks me about Pinterest are the comments people make, like ‘under 500 calories’ or ‘really healthy Crock-pot® meal,’” Dauro says. “Just because ‘someone’ says it’s low-calorie doesn’t make it so.”

Dig a little deeper into the actual ingredients — and the portion sizes — in those recipes, so you can make an informed decision. You can also modify recipes to make them healthier.

“Skip added salt,” Dauro suggests. “Halve the portions of cheese or butter, cut back on the amount of meat and add fresh veggies.”

The one exception: baking. When you’re making cakes or cookies, use the recipe as written or don’t make it at all.


Don’t pin tempting recipes.

“Often I’ll see a friend pin a couple healthy recipes, like salads,” Dauro says, “followed by six extremely decadent dessert recipes.

“If you don’t want to be tempted by an incredibly fatty dessert later,” she explains, “don’t pin it to begin with.”

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Crock-pot is a registered trademark of Sunbeam Products Inc.