Think you can’t eat healthy at a weekend crawfish boil or at a spring festival? 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 has teamed up with registered dietician Molly Kimball and the team at EatFit NOLA to help you stay healthy during festival season, so you can FEEL good while you have a good time!

Read below for tips on what to order when dining out, what to eat while you’re out enjoying a local spring festival, crawfish boils, and learn more about shellfish & MSG allergies.


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

Thanks to info provided by Molly Kimball, we are enthused to share that boiled crawfish aren’t necessarily the guilty pleasure 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.
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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.

Healthy Eating at Festivals

If you’re trying to keep things in check nutritionally – we got your back!

Enjoy the flavors of New Orleans without the unhealthy ingredients. Our partners at Eat Fit NOLA suggest healthier options while you’re at French Quarter Fest or Jazz Fest, when you’re out and about after the fest AND how to use their handy app – basically a pocket guide to healthy eating and meal planning around New Orleans.

Eat Fit NOLA approved menu options available at French Quarter Festival

Galatoire’s | Shrimp Remoulade $9 (G)
Jacques-Imo’s Café | Crab & Artichoke Citrus Salad $8
Tujague’s Restaurant | Marinated Crab Claw Remoulade $8

14 Parishes Jamaican Restaurant | Jerk Chicken $7, Steamed Cabbage $4 (V) (G)

RIVERFRONT – Canal Street Vendors
Praline Connection | Vegetarian Plate-Mustard Greens, Crowder Peas & Okra $8 (V)
The Daily Beet | Fresh Mango Spring Rolls with Peanut-Ginger Dipping Sauce $8.50,
Mango, Pineapple, and Papaya Sticks w/ Lime Juice & Chili Powder $6,
Avocado Toast $7 add Egg $9

Bennachin Restaurant | Jamaican Jerk Chicken w/ Double Steamed Veggies,no rice $8 (G)(S)
Kingfish Kitchen & Cocktails | Pickled Blackened Shrimp over Cabbage Slaw dressed w/Honey Mustard – $7
SoBou | Pig Latin Tacos $8
GW Fins | Fish Tacos 2 for $7
Cool Fruit Sensations | Lemonade, Limeade, or Orange with Strawberry, Blueberry, or Watermelon – unsweetened or sweetened with stevia $8

Company Burger | Turkey Burger (bunless) w/ Arugula, Green Goddess Dressing & Tomato Jam – $8
The Rum House | Jerk Chicken Taco 2 for $8, Brisket Taco 2 for $8

COCKTAIL: Bubly Seabreeze | @ Cocktails booths – single $8 / double $14 | ALL SITES
French Market Iced Cold Brew Coffee – $5 | RIVERFRONT & JAX LOTS,
Luzianne Iced Tea – Unsweet – $4 | RIVERFRONT & JAX LOTS

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Tips for Staying Healthy at Jazz Fest 2018

If you’re a Jazz Fest regular (fest every day!) or are looking to stick to a nutrition plan over both weekends, here are some tips for clean(er) eating at the Festival.

  • Stay Hydrated – bring a refillable water bottle and remember to drink water! Or enjoy a wonderful no-sugar-added Rosemint or Mandarin Orange herbal iced tea, which serves to hydrate us just as effectively
  • Opt for Healthier Eats and Share Indulgent Items – Think ‘plant based eating’ and look for salads or items that include a healthy dose of vegetables and avoid (for the most part) fried foods. Share the items you want to splurge on with a friend. Here are a few suggestions (thanks to GoNola.Com):
    • Bennachin Restaurant: Their jama jama dish featuring spinach, chicken on a stick, and fried plantains (skip the plantains for extra healthy!) is a must. Straight-up jama jama (that’s the spinach) is awesome, too. The booth is located behind Congo Square field. Try the hot sauce.
    • Jamila’s: This Mediterranean Riverbend staple offers has a satisfyingly light salad and a great bisque. The booth is along the main strip of food booths running along the inner track between the Acura and Congo Square stages.
    • Fried oyster spinach salad: Well, OK, it’s not exactly health food, but it’s delicious and involves veggies. If you’re facing the Jazz and Heritage stage, head left. It’s one of the first food booths you’ll hit.
    • Vietnamese food: Delicious and healthy, find it by the Jazz Tent.
    • Seafood! Boiled Crawfish or Chargrilled Oysters (on their own) are good for you
  • Bring Small Snacks – if nothing matches your nutritional plan, consider bringing something small and non-perishable in your purse or pocket. Almonds, a power bar, etc.

A Few Local Eat Fit Ideas Around Town for Meals Nearby After the Fests:

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

TABLEAU: Asparagus and Seafood Salad, Truffled Crab Fingers, Crabmeat Ravigote

DICKIE BRENNAN’S STEAKHOUSE: Tarragon 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

See more healthy menu options on the Eat Fit App!
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Download: Apple | Android

They say planning is the key to success – let the Eat Fit NOLA App help you watch your figure throughout the Spring festival season and beyond.

Think of it as your pocket nutritionist – find menu options, full nutrition facts, shopping guides, recipes and much more!

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

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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