Thursday, April 30, 2009

Take the Diet Detective's Refrigerator Quiz

Take the Diet Detective's Refrigerator Quiz - WBAY-TV Green Bay-Fox Cities-Northeast Wisconsin News:

By Charles Stuart Platkin

One of the first things you should do if you're planning to live a healthier life is evaluate your food surroundings --specifically your fridge. Here's a short quiz to help you determine what you might need to upgrade. Start at zero and add or subtract points based on your (honest) answers.

1. The following best describes your fridge ...

a. It's clean and organized - we even have a new box of baking soda. (+3)
b. It's stocked, but it hasn't been cleaned since we moved in five years ago. (0)
c. It's not filthy, but I wouldn't exactly call it clean. (-1)
d. It's a complete mess and completely disorganized - I need to get to that. (-2)

Diet Detective Tip: Would you choose to shop in a dirty, poorly laid out grocery store? Keep your fridge clean and organized into sections, just like a supermarket.

2. How many different kinds of fruits and vegetables do you have in your refrigerator now?

a. There's only one vegetable (some string beans) and two apples - with a bit of mold. (0)
b. None. I don't buy them because they always go bad. (-2)
c. Several different kinds of vegetables and fruits - we have peppers, squash, spinach, fresh salad greens, broccoli, apples, oranges, strawberries and watermelon. (+4)
d. We have some corn and an onion. (+1)

Diet Detective Tip: Put healthful foods like salad fixings and cut-up fruits and vegetables at eye level. That way they'll be the first things you see when you open the fridge. Keep all the high-cal foods in the fruit and veggie drawer or in the back.

3. Your milk and dairy products are ...

a. Whatever is on sale. (-1)
b. Chocolate milk, cheese, cream cheese and cream (-3)
c. Skim or fat-free milk, low-fat yogurt with no added sugar, low-fat half-and-half, containers of egg whites. (+4)
d. Milk, butter, eggs, yogurt (full fat but no added sugar). (+1)
e. Some 2 percent milk, provolone cheese and yogurt (but it looks like the yogurt has a lot of added sugar). (-1)
f. Regular milk, American cheese slices and various other cheeses. No yogurt. (-2)

Diet Detective Tip: Dairy is an important source of calcium, but it can be high in calories. Make sure to stick to low- or no-fat versions.

4. How many desserts/sweets do you have in your freezer now?

a. The Ben & Jerry's and Haagen-Dazs never run out. We have at least six flavors. (-2)
b. A frozen apple pie and frozen chocolate cake, plus loads of ice cream, a few ice cubes, one frozen Snickers bar. (-4)
c. Frozen fruit bars, frozen grapes, fat-free frozen yogurt. (+2)
d. No desserts. (+1)

Diet Detective Tip: Freeze fruits such as bananas and grapes, or make a smoothie with nothing but fresh fruit and a bit of no-sugar-added apple juice and freeze with Popsicle sticks in an ice tray. You should have something healthy and sweet on hand to satisfy those cravings.

5. Where are the water bottles in relation to the juices or sodas?

a. There is no soda or juice, just bottled water and a water-filtering pitcher right in front, then unsweetened iced green tea and skim milk. (+3)
b. Who needs water? Mostly we drink cola. (-3)
c. Mostly diet drinks - soda, iced tea, low-cal juice. (0)

Diet Detective Tip: Soda and juice are high in calories; try to keep water or unsweetened iced tea in the front - so you grab that first. Better yet, toss the cola.

6. Your peanut butter has ...

a. No added sugar or any other additional ingredients. (+3)
b. Added sugar and also added fat and salt. (-3)
c. Added sugar, but it's fat free. (-1)

Diet Detective Tip: Check the ingredients in all of your foods. Make sure there's no added sugar and that you can pronounce everything that's in what you eat.

7. When you get to your fridge you ...

a. Find yourself standing in front of the open door picking at leftovers. (-3)
b. Know exactly what you want and don't linger. (+3)
c. Stare at the fridge and grab the first thing you see that's edible. (-1)
d. Find that it's empty. (-2)

Diet Detective Tip: Always know what you're going to eat before you get there.

8. Which best describes the condiments in your fridge?

a. Mustard, salsa, relish, ketchup, low-cal salad-dressing spritzers (e.g., Wish-Bone Spritzers). (+3)
b. Ranch or blue cheese dressing, jelly, tartar sauce. (-3)
c. Butter, margarine, mayonnaise. (-3)

Diet Detective Tip: You would be shocked at how many calories condiments can add. Use mustard, salsa, spices and other low-cal condiments to add flavor.

9. Your fruits and vegetables are ...

a. Right where I can see them - front and center. (+4)
b. In the fruit and vegetable drawer, but they're always fresh. (+2)
c. In the fruit and vegetable drawer - but I always forget about them. (0)
d. Completely absent. The fruit and vegetable drawer has a few batteries and a bottle of Champagne we still haven't drunk from two years ago. (-3)

Diet Detective Tip: Fruits and veggies should be front and center so you see them.

10. If you had to make a meal from your fridge, you have ...

a. Chicken or tuna salad, bacon (but no lettuce or tomatoes), salami or bologna. (-2)
b. Lean roast beef, all-beef hot dogs. (+1)
c. Chicken breast, sliced turkey, leftover grilled salmon and turkey meatballs.(+3)
d. Leftover Chinese takeout. (-3)

Diet Detective Tip: Use lean protein and have a few meals prepared in advance.

11. How often do you make meals in batches and store them in the freezer or fridge?

a. Never. I typically eat out or bring in takeout. (-3)
b. I do that, but it's usually something like spaghetti and meatballs - nothing too healthy. (0)
c. I batch-cook healthy, low-calorie meals with the family every couple of weeks. We put some in the fridge and freeze the rest. (+4)

Diet Detective Tip: Buy healthy ingredients at the supermarket and batch-cook on Saturday or Sunday. Have the entire family help create several dishes for the next few weeks and freeze them in high-quality containers.

12. In the freezer I have ...

a. Frozen pizza, steak and a few Hungry-Man meals. Also juice concentrate, hot dogs and mac and cheese. (-3)
b. Chicken breast and other lean protein (turkey, fish), salmon, low-calorie frozen dinners (Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones, Healthy Choice, Seeds of Change, Kashi, Amy's, etc.), sorbet, frozen vegetables (e.g., Steamfresh), containers with healthy homemade meals prepared in batches. (+4)
c. Ice, just ice. (0)
d. 2-year-old frozen veggies, orange and grape juice concentrate and a few containers of ice cream. (-2)

Diet Detective Tip: The freezer can be a dieter's best friend. Storing batch-cooked foods and low-calorie frozen dinners can be a great alternative to fast food.

13. On the front of your fridge there are ...

a. Inspirational healthy eating messages and a shopping list. (+4)
b. Photos of family and friends. (+2)
c. Unhealthy recipes and photos of cakes, muffins and other things I want to bake. (-1)

Diet Detective Tip: Research shows that inspirational messages help to keep you on track. Creating a shopping list helps to keep you from being tempted when you do go shopping.

14. When you open your fridge door you see ...

a. Leftover food stored in foil that's been reused several times and isn't really airtight. (-1)
b. Lots of plastic or sealed glass containers, but I can't tell what's inside. (0)
c. Clear, see-through containers filled with healthy foods. (+3)

Diet Detective Tip: Knowing what you have in your fridge is half the battle. Always store foods in clear, airtight containers.

A score of:

· 43 or more: Ph.D. in Nutrition

· 31 to 42: Nutrition Expert

· 23 to 30: Armchair Nutritionist

· 14 to 22: Simple changes would help

· 0 to 13: Fridge makeover needed

· -1 to -17: Need a game plan

· -18 to -35: Complete overhaul required

· -36 or lower: Seek assistance from a professional

CHARLES STUART PLATKIN is a nutrition and public health advocate, founder of, and host of the new WE TV series "I Want To Save Your Life" (Saturdays, 10 p.m. Eastern | 9 p.m. Central). Copyright 2009 by Charles Stuart Platkin. All rights reserved. Sign up for the free Diet Detective newsletter and iTunes podcast at