Over the last few weeks, I’ve been tracking macros on MyFitnessPal. Initially, I was doing it to try and get back on Keto. (By “back on,” I mean I did it for two weeks before a vacation once.) Unsurprisingly, I bailed on Keto (nothing is low-carb enough!!!). and I then decided my #newyearnewme would be about counting macros instead. I’m currently using this calculator, which I found via this highly reliable fitness Instagram. I’m not even being sarcastic—there’s very good advice on there. My biggest challenge with macros so far has definitely been keeping my fat content in check. Within a week, I realized I knew way less about which foods are high fat than I thought. For example, I had a day of what I considered very healthy eating (salads! oats! grain bowls!), and then discovered my diet had been 60% fat. And this is why I have trust issues. So, I did some research into which of my “healthy” choices were causing that high fat content. I’m not talking about obvious fats—you should all know that baked goods are full of bad fats and avocados are full of good fats. These are the sources of fat you’re not as likely to guess as, say, a fried chicken sandwich or a BLT with mayo.
Disclaimer: Everyone’s dietary needs are different, and many diets may call for higher fat content. I am not advocating for a universal low-fat diet, so do not come for me. Rather, I am hoping this information may be illuminating to some of you (read: I don’t want to be the only one who didn’t already know all this).
I’ll be honest, I’ve never really known a lot about the nutrition content of falafel. It felt like a kind of dietary gray zone. Not as healthy as a vegetable, but probably better than cheese. Right? Not really. While trying to design a low-fat grain bowl at Tender Greens, I was pretty shocked to see that the steak topping was lower in fat than the falafel option. While falafel can be a healthy dish (the ingredients themselves are nutrient-rich), I’d somehow forgotten that it’s typically deep-fried. This adds, in scientific terms, a sh*t ton of fat to your meal. FWIW, the “baked falafel” option at Tender Greens was way healthier—but unless a menu specifies “baked,” you should assume it’s deep fried, and therefore higher in fat.
Tofu is a similar deal to falafel—it’s all about how it’s prepared. While tofu isn’t deep-fried quite as often as falafel (though still more often than you’d think), it’s really good at soaking up whatever it’s cooked in. And given that tofu on its own has just about zero flavor (it’s okay, we can all admit that), it’s usually cooked in a bunch of oils, sauces, etc. So tofu on its own? Low-fat, healthy option. But the way it’s usually prepared in restaurants can make it a higher-fat option than something like chicken.
Okay, this one errs more on the side of “foods we knew were high in fat.” But take a minute and actually consider how many “healthy options” feature nuts as a key ingredient. Protein bars that pride themselves on not adding sugar? Full of nuts. Overnight oats? Probably filled with nut butter (or WTF are you doing). Even a lot of salads and bowls will add nuts as a topping, plus, almonds are constantly touted as the ideal mid-afternoon snack. We also all know the problem with nuts—they are impossible to portion for how calorie-dense and fat-dense they are. And anyone who says they’re full after 6 almonds is a dirty liar.
So, while nuts are full of technically good fats, it’s still super easy to go over on your fat content goals if all the healthy options you’re choosing are nut-heavy. So if my breakfast included 2 tbsp of almond butter (18 grams of fat and it never feels like enough), maybe I don’t also have have a nut-based Lara Bar at 4pm (9 grams of fat), and snack on nuts at 6pm (19 grams of fat). That brings my fat content from nuts alone (not even the fun fats, like sauces and cheese and sugar) to 46 grams, when my daily goal is 48. (Let it be known that my total fat content for that day wound up being 90+ grams. This sh*t is hard!!!)
I know! I said this list would be about non-obvious sources of fat. Yet here I am basically listing the liquid form of fat and saying “surprise! This is fat.” Sue me, but also listen because this is probably the #1 thing that people forget to count in their diets. One tablespoon of olive oil has 14 grams of fat. One tablespoon of butter has 12 grams of fat. (The type of fat they offer is different. Here is a long article on different fats and how they affect you.) Even at home, I struggle to cook something edible using less than 2 tbsp of one of these. It can be super tempting to just log the one chicken breast you cooked in there, but unless you’re using a cooking spray, you have to account for the fats it absorbed.
Well, that’s the end of my tirade on fat, and now I never want to look at a nutrition label again! Remember, the worst thing you can do with your diet is eat in a way that makes you miserable, because you know that sh*t won’t last. My fat content is still way too high most days, but I’m figuring out what a low-fat day I can live with looks like. At least it’s not Keto!
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been seeing someone for two months or three years: deciding where and what to eat for dinner almost always becomes a legitimate argument, regardless of where you live. You’d think that living in one of the best cities in the world would help this issue, but you would be wrong. Actually, New York City offers too many options, so it’s hard to know where to even start, especially with Valentine’s Day coming up in just a couple of days. This isn’t Gossip Girl or Friends With Benefits; chances are, your current fling’s romance skills are not straight out of a cheesy rom-com, so it’s now or never for you to find a place and make reservations for two. Or, scratch that—even just find a table for one, because who the fuck says you can’t dress up and wine and dine yourself to a candlelit dinner in a bougie restaurant? NO ONE. Whether you’re spending V-Day solo or going on a classy af date this year, here are five romantic restaurants in NYC to have Valentine’s Day dinner at.
1. The Park
Everyone who lives in New York knows what the High Line is since it’s probably the one place you bring your parents and out-of-city friends who want to be tourists. What you’ve probably yet to see is this cute little restaurant right on 10th Ave. The ambiance is, like, so worth an Instagram (or 10) since it’s lit tf up from ceiling to floor. It has an indoor and outdoor garden, amazing food, strong drinks, and decent music you’ll find yourself nodding to from time to time. Tables are surrounded with trees and full of classy centerpieces that set the mood.
2. Sofia Wine Bar
Nothing goes with Valentine’s Day better than a fuck ton of wine and good-ass pizza. Fucking obviously. If you plan on spending the day with your anti-Valentine’s Day GFs, by yourself (because less people = more for you), or keeping things low-key with your latest Hinge guy, you’ll want to grab a table in this cute little Midtown East spot. The wine options are endless, the menu is worth salivating over, and like, the service is actually good. I know, am I sure this is in the city? YES.
If you live in Queens, you already love this place. If you don’t, then you’ll at least consider borough hopping. Maiella sits in Long Island City, right on the water with a ‘gram-worthy view of the skyline. It serves carb-loaded Italian dishes and yummy drinks. For Valentine’s Day, they offer a special menu that includes lobster, spaghetti, and chocolate covered strawberries for just $75.
4. The River Cafe
Some of you hate trekking to Brooklyn for fear of the hipster apocalypse, but honestly, there are some hidden gems with fucking amazing food that seriously makes the trip all worth it. This place sits right on water and hosts quite a few weddings, so you know you’re heading into lovey-dovey central. However, the view and atmosphere are to die for, so you’ll probably consider having your own here. They have a special Valentine’s Day menu with bougie af foods like caviar, truffle, and filet mignon, but they do ask you look your best in their dress code, so maybe you’ll feel like you’re kind of a big deal.
5. La Grenouille
This restaurant has definitely been in New York for like, decades. Like, your great-great-grandpa used to come here all the time or some shit (IDK, I don’t know your family history). This French restaurant has long been known for its totally gorgeous flower arrangements and high-end cuisine. For Valentine’s Day, they’re offering a four-course dinner and a complimentary bottle of really classy Champagne that I can’t pronounce. Obviously, seats are limited so if you’re looking to be blown away, you’ll want to reserve ASAP.