8 foods to eat before the New Year
There's very little time left until New Year's weight loss resolutions kick in. If you're among the many planning to cut out unhealthy foods, you might as well spend these last few days enjoying some of Hawaii's most delicious—but least healthful—culinary offerings. Here are eight foods you should indulge in before you eschew them for 2015:
White rice is a staple for most locals, but it offers very little in terms of nutrition. White rice has had the husk, bran and germ removed; this removes nutrients and fiber, as well as increasing the glycemic load, or impact on blood sugar. It's also about 90 percent carbohydrate, and has over 200 calories per cup. Enjoy that soft, sticky texture now, but plan to switch to brown or wild rice next week.
The crisp edges and melt-in-your-mouth insides of the Spam, the slight crunch of the nori, and the sticky sweetness of the rice all add up to make Spam musubi the perfect on-the-go meal or snack. A single serving of Spam alone has 200 calories, and the Spam for musubi is marinated in shoyu and sugar before being fried.
Mac salad is a calorie-heavy side with virtually no nutritional value, and that's a shame because it's a creamy, tasty addition to most plate lunches in the islands. Not only are most recipes heavy on the mayo (which has almost 100 calories per tablespoon on its own), sugar is often added to the dressing. This can add up to several hundred calories for a single scoop.
Spam isn't the only processed meat to watch out for. Portuguese sausage, for example, has almost 100 calories per ounce. Processed meats and sausages also contain preservatives that have been linked to cancer.
Malassadas (especially if they're from Leonard's) are a central part of many celebrations, but it's probably best if you eat your fill at your New Year's Eve party. With each one, you'll be downing between 180 and 300 calories' worth of sugar-dusted goodness.
Garlic chicken doesn't have to be unhealthy. But the type found in most bentos or plate lunches is made with a sugary glaze and then fried. The number of calories you're consuming will depend on where you pick up your garlic chicken, but you should expect 300 to 400 calories per serving. Portion size is also a problem here: One serving of chicken is about 4 ounces, the size of a deck of playing cards. And when faced with a plate piled high with spicy garlic chicken, it can be tough to feel satisfied with that little.
It's disputed exactly who came up with the first loco moco, but no one can deny it's one of the most iconic foods of contemporary local cuisine. But unsurprisingly, this delicious stacked combination of white rice, hamburger and fried egg—smothered in brown gravy—packs quite a caloric punch. Again, the exact nutritional details depend on where you're getting your meal, but MyFitnessPal estimates a generic loco moco at about 650 calories, many of them from fat and carbs.
Soda is neither as tasty nor as uniquely local as many of the other foods listed above, but it deserves a mention due to its ubiquity and sky-high sugar content; a Big Gulp of Coca-Cola contains about 91 grams of sugar for 364 calories. According to a fact sheet distributed by Kamehameha Schools, over half (53.3 percent) of local adults drink sodas twice to four times each month, and over a quarter (25.9) drink soda almost every day. A 2012 survey showed that about 48 percent of teenagers had a sugary beverage daily. So drink up now then encourage everyone around you to rethink their drink choices with you in 2015.