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By Stephenie Karony

Wednesday, June 7, 2000

Start days with
hearty breakfasts

Question: Can you recommend some breakfast menus that are nutritious, quick and easy to prepare, with foods that can be eaten anywhere?

Answer: Here is one week's worth of hearty breakfasts. They're designed to supply you with a balance of nutritious calories -- protein, carbs, fats and fiber -- and plenty of variety. Menus No. 6 and 7 are meant to be prepared and eaten at home.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast enables you to concentrate better and have more energy, and it's the morning meal that kick-starts your metabolism.

Bullet Day 1: 1 cup wholesome grain cereal of your choosing, 1 cup skim milk, one piece or serving of fruit.

Bullet Day 2: One bagel, two slices low-fat cheese of your choosing, one piece or serving of fruit.

Bullet Day 3: 1 cup brown rice, 1/4 cup raisins, 1 cup nonfat yogurt.

Bullet Day 4: Two small whole grain toaster waffles, 2 tablespoons low-fat peanut butter, 1 cup non-fat yogurt, one piece or serving of fruit.

Bullet Day 5: One or two hard-boiled eggs, one 12-ounce can V-8 juice, one bagel, one serving low-fat cream cheese.

Bullet Day 6: Two pancakes with syrup, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, one piece or serving of fruit, 1 cup fat-free yogurt.

Bullet Day 7: Two slices of french toast, 1 cup hot chocolate made with skim milk, one piece or serving of fruit.

Each meal contains approximately 600 calories. To increase or decrease these amounts, simply increase or decrease the portion sizes.

Q: When a ground beef label reads 80 percent lean, does it actually mean it gets only 20 percent of its calories from fat?

A: Before I answer that, let's take a closer look at ground beef.

Did you know that ground beef is the No. 1 dietary cause of heart disease? Americans, on average, eat between 25 and 30 pounds of the stuff each year. About half of all the beef we eat winds up in hamburger.

Ground beef is the third richest source of saturated fat in the American diet; only cheese and whole milk contain more. In whole cuts of beef you can trim away the fat, but not with ground beef, since it has the fat ground up in it. To add insult to injury, ground beef is much more likely to contain dangerous E. coli bacteria than any other food.

With that said, let's now look at what 80 percent lean really means. Don't be fooled by a label that reads 80 percent lean. It definitely does not mean that it gets only 20 percent of its calories from fat. What it does mean is that the product is 20 percent fat by weight, including water weight. But that 20 percent fat by weight contributes 70 percent of the total calories, not the 20 percent you're misled to believe.

How does one arrive at these numbers? In the case of ground beef, the percentage of fat by weight and the number of fat grams are the same. So 20 percent fat by weight equals 20 grams of fat. You then multiply the number of grams of fat by 9 (number of calories in a gram of fat): 20 x 9 = 180 calories. Next you divide the result by the total calories in the food serving.

Here's an example using 3 ounces of ground beef that states it's 80 percent lean, and it contains a total of 260 calories: Ground beef patty, 20 percent fat by weight equals 260 total calories equals 70 percent calories from fat. So, 80 percent lean actually should read 70 percent calories from fat. Ugh!

Health Events

Stephenie Karony is a certified health
and fitness instructor, a personal trainer and the author of
"Body Shaping with Free Weights." Send questions to her at
P.O. Box 262, Wailuku Hi. Her column appears on Wednesdays.

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