. Healthy Eating During Spring Festival Season - New Orleans Musicians' Clinic

April 14, 2016

Healthy Eating During Spring Festival Season

Think you can’t eat healthy at a weekend crawfish boil or around Jazz Fest? Think again!

Spring Festival season is upon us- Time to cut loose and enjoy the vibrant music, culture and cuisine of our great city! Sometimes when caught up in the music and spirit of the revelry, it’s easy to lose sight of sticking to a diet or nutritious plan.

The NOMC is here to inform you on how to stay healthy during festival season, so you can have a good time and FEEL good the whole time! Read below for tips on what to order when dining out, crawfish boils, and learn more about shellfish & MSG allergies.



NOMC_Crawfish * Attention Crawfish Fans! Did you know that mudbugs are good for you? *


Thanks to NOLA.COM’s Molly Kimball’s recent article, we are enthused to share that boiled crawfish aren’t the guilty pleasure that we think they are!

Reasons why crawfish are good for you:

Crazy-low calories: Ounce for ounce, boiled crawfish tails have nearly half the calories of roasted, skinless chicken breast.

A not-so-guilty pleasure: Not only are they low in calories, they’re also low in carbs and high in protein. And although they’re high in cholesterol (a 6-ounce serving of tails has 232 milligrams), saturated and trans fats actually have more of an impact on our cholesterol levels, and crawfish tails less than one gram of total fat, and zero saturated fat.

Surprisingly nutrient-rich: A 6-ounce serving of crawfish tails (about what you get from three pounds, unpeeled) provides nearly a day’s worth of vitamin B12 and more than 80 percent of our daily requirement for the antioxidant selenium.



Holly Clegg’s tips for incorporating crawfish into your diet:

• Purchase Louisiana crawfish tails when in season to freeze and use throughout the year.

• Crawfish may be substituted for any recipe that calls for shrimp, just remember the tails are already cooked, so add them closer to the end.

• Think of crawfish as an ingredient to add interest to soups, salads, low-fat dips, or to liven up plain old grilled chicken or fish.



. . . . . . . .

Molly Kimball is a registered dietitian in New Orleans. Her column appears every Friday in Living and her nutrition video blog appears every Tuesday on nola.com/health. She can be reached at eatingright@timespicayune.com.


A Few Notes on Crab Boil, Sodium, MSG and Shellfish Allergies

Springtime means lots of seafood- crawfish boils, fresh shrimp and crab seasoned up to perfection, etc. This delicious seasoned taste is typically achieved using Crab Boil- a spice mixture which can contain high levels of sodium and, depending on the brand, relatively high levels of MSG. One thing that may not be common knowledge are the ingredients and allergies related to shellfish and crab boils. Here are a few informational tid bits to be aware of:

MSG, or Monosodium glutamate,  is a flavor enhancer found in a wide variety of food products. Although the FDA has classified it as a food ingredient that’s “generally recognized as safe,” its use remains controversial and a number of health issues are related to MSG consumption. For this reason, when MSG is added to food, the FDA requires that it be listed on the label.

Reactions to MSG Symptom complex can involve symptoms such as numbness, burning sensation, tingling, facial pressure or tightness, headache, chest pain or difficulty breathing,and rapid heartbeat.  While many scientists say that MSG is not known to cause allergic reactions in the majority of people, it is still something to be aware of.

Excess sodium increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, and that creates an added burden on the heart. Too much sodium will increase your risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease.



 NOMAF’s community health team recommends you avoid food with MSG and excess sodium! 

If you are using crab boil in any recipes, we suggest you try one of the following healthier options:

zats pro boil            Zatarain’s Pro Boil Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil (liquid)

Ingredients: Salt, spices, dextrose, natural flavor, soy lecithin, extractives of paprika, and lemon juice solids.

Nutrition Facts: Serving Size ¼ tsp.

Calories: 0             Sodium: 240 mg – 10% of daily recommended value



zats shrim & crab liquid   Zatarain’s Shrimp & Crab Boil (liquid)

Ingredients: Water, polysorbate 80, spice extractives (including extractives of Capsicum), natural & artificial flavor, caramel color, and extractives of paprika.

Nutrition Facts:  Serving Size ¼ tsp. (originally written as 14g but converted to ¼ tsp for consistency)

Calories: ~2      Sodium: ~ 330mg – 14% of daily recommended value





cajun land boil


Cajun Land Crab Boil (Liquid)

Ingredients:  Water, polysorbate 80, propylene glycol, spice extracts, citric acid, natural lemon flavor, caramel and artificial colors.

Nutrition Facts: Serving Size 1 tsp.

Calories: 0   Sodium: 0






Healthy Eating During Jazz Fest

Enjoy the flavors of New Orleans without the unhealthy ingredients! We’ve teamed up with the folks at  EAT FIT NOLA to provide a few suggestions on delicious, healthy options at local restaurants:

*Other Menu Options/ Suggestions*

CAFE DEGAS: Les Moules Au Fenouil,  L’Omelette Aux Crevettes,  La Salade Nicoise Au Thon Poele

SOBOUGeaux Fish a la Plancha, BarBar’s Green Salad

TABLEAUAsparagus and Seafood Salad, Truffled Crab Fingers, Crabmeat Ravigote

COMMANDER’S PALACE: Chilled Cucumber-Mint Soup, Spring Salmon Salad, Lemon Roasted Gulf Fish, Sangria Salad

DICKIE BRENNAN’S STEAKHOUSETarragon Crab Claws, Seared Crab Cake, Petite Filet

BUFFA’S: The Veggie, Eat Fit NOLA Dinner , Egg White Omelet , Spinach & Feta Omelet, Shrimp & Jalapeño Omelet, The EFN Good Sandwich

KINGFISHLouisiana Peach & Plum Salad, Redfish on the Half Shell Tacos




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