Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Emeril tries to cook healthy on the Food Network

Thank God the holidays are over. I can finally have my Food Network back. Ever since Halloween, they have been airing a month's worth of cooking turkey in preparation for Thanksgiving and then another month of all sorts of holiday food geared toward Christmas. It was definitely overkill for me.

This week the Food Network seems to be focusing on healthy eating and dieting. It makes sense since so many people start diets at the beginning of each year. I get a kick out of watching Emeril Lagasse try to make diet food. He's the king of pork fat! While his recipes featured on the Fit for Life episode of Emeril Live may have healthier titles than his normal recipes, they should not be considered diet food!

Jorge Cruise, author of The 3-Hour Diet, was a guest on the show as the diet and health expert. The two of them played off of each other. Emeril made his version of a "healthy" pizza with sliced potatoes, pepperoni and truffle oil while Jorge made chicken on pita bread mini-pizzas. They both looked good but of course Emeril's looked better. However he never claimed that both recipes were comparable calorie-wise.

It got comical as they each made a lasagna recipe. Jorge made a traditionally healthy turkey and spinach lasagne and Emeril's had lobster and crabmeat. They both sound healthy, but Emeril's contained 6 Tbsp of butter as the first ingredient!

To check and see if my suspicions were correct, I ran each of the recipes through the Weight Watchers recipe builder. I know many people don't understand the Weight Watchers points thing, but I like it. It's way easier than figuring out calories and all that. You usually get 24 points a day. Based on this, you can understand that if one serving of a recipe has 12 points, that portion of food is half the food you are supposed to eat for the entire day. A typical meal is 5 to 7 points. (You get to eat more food than that but to explain that would to be to explain the entire Weight Watchers plan.) I adapted Emeril's recipe to use fat-free milk and cheeses.

Emeril's Fresh Crabmeat and Lobster Lasagna
11 Points

Jorge's Turkey and Spinach Lasagna
9 points

I was surprised that both recipes were close, but I'm sure there would have been a much bigger difference if I didn't change everything to fat-free in Emeril's recipe. And let's be honest, fat-cheeses usually change the consistency of things. And I can't image how a bechamel sauce made with skim milk would work out.

Even though I didn't get any diet-friendly Emeril recipes (he couldn't stop with the butter!), the discussion between Emeril and Jorge was very informative. Jorge made suggestions on how to lighten up the recipes and provided information about why certain food are good for our bodies.

1 comment:

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