January usually brings a resolution to lose weight, eat healthier or work out more, and often by this stage of the month the resolution has fallen by the wayside. If your goal was to eat healthier, there are some simple tips to make this happen.
- Make changes slowly. Taking one step at a time is how a baby learns to walk, and making behavior changes is no different. It is a one step process.
- Shift your grain foods to whole grain (wheat, oats, corn are a few).
- Add more plant protein choices (beans, nuts, seeds) and choose only lean meat, fish or poultry. Combining beans with meat in chili starts the shifting process.
- Limit your use of full-fat cheese. Use cheese as a topping, for a touch of flavor or to make vegetables or whole grains more enjoyable, but keep the amount small.
- Focus on making half of your plate fruits and vegetables. This step often takes some work.
This week, I attended a workshop at the Culinary Institute of America. The goal of the workshop was to boost the inclusion of vegetables, whole grains and beans into the American diet. One of the main concepts of the workshop was incorporating beans, veggies and whole grains not just plopping them on a plate and hoping that your family will eat them.
A few of the ideas for inclusion included using beans in place of some of the meat in chili, making oatmeal by adding a variety of other grains and topping with fruit—fresh, frozen or dried, adding beans or lentils to soups and casseroles whether they contain meat or not, or boosting the nutrition of salads by combining fruits, veggies and even beans.
A few salad ideas include spinach with pomegranate seeds, orange segments and pistachios; garbanzo beans with arugula, tomatoes, onions and a vinaigrette dressing; roasted brussels sprout tossed in olive oil and added to tomatoes; or mixed greens topped with roasted beets, garbanzo beans and topped with a touch of feta.
Now if you aren’t ready for so many unusual vegetables, you can boost intake by combining lettuce with diced tomatoes, black beans, and orange segments or mixed greens with lightly steamed broccoli, dried cranberries and feta cheese. However, you start make boosting veggie intake a priority for your family. Enjoy a few photos from the workshop that show some of the easy combinations.
The first is garbanzo beans accented with brussels sprout and artichoke hearts.
The second is thinly sliced beets topped with greens, orange segments, pistachios and citrus vinaigrette.