I’ve read that 80 percent of new year’s resolutions fail. And healthy eating/living is among the greatest ambitions each January 1. It’s exciting to start fresh with new goals, but by February, we often resort to our evil eating ways. I know, because I’m usually one of the 80 percent.
After the overindulgence of the holiday season, my post holiday good intentions are in full swing. This year I will look at my mission a little differently.
While recently talking to my friend, Beverly Price, (who is a registered dietitian, exercise physiologist, yoga therapist and certified eating disorder specialist), she suggested that instead of focusing on “healthy eating,” I should concentrate my efforts on “mindful eating.” What this means is that instead of eating unconsciously (eating fast or not really tasting the food), notice what your thoughts and feelings are while paying attention to the the look, smell, taste, feel of the food.
“Food should be enjoyable and exciting, not a punishment,” Price said.
Part of this means setting realistic resolutions. Instead of cutting out whole categories of food (sugar, bread, fat), to actually eat most everything, and really experience “eating” — and enjoying — food. In fact, she recommends adding foods, not taking them away.
“It is helpful to evaluate what you can add to your diet, versus what you need to eliminate. If you can shift this focus, you will feel more satisfied with more nutrient-rich foods and therefore less likely to binge eat out of emotion and stress,” she said.
Price, herself a vegetarian, doesn’t tell her clients to eat only plant-based foods.
“Healthy eating can also include lean meats, cheese (whole/unprocessed cheese if possible) and chicken or turkey breast to maintain the health of our tissues,” Price said.
Another potential problem is directly related to portion size. I remember a famous spa that actually uses measuring cups instead of serving spoons.
“People are aren’t very good at estimating what, say, a cup of rice or a half-cup of ice cream (the usual package portion size), look like,” Price said.
Price is also a big fan of “sneaking” more nutrition into our recipes. After all, bulking up our favorite foods with nutrient-dense, naturally low-calorie fruits and veggies, we not only get to eat larger quantities of food, but we reduce our risk or many diet related diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers. Stealth ingredients has always been easy for me — I love vegetables and fruit.
The recipes here will get you started. They’re for different parts of meals and many of them are fast, some using shortcut ingredients to make preparation a breeze.
Frittatas can be consumed at any meal. And it’s usually served only warm or at room temperature.
Vary the vegetables to your personal taste — you should have about 3 or so cups in total.
8 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onion
2 portabella mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup small diced carrots
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 fresh chopped basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a 8-to-9-inch oven-safe, nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery, with a dash of sea salt, sauté about 3-minutes until the onion is softened. Add the mushrooms and saute until they they give up their liquid. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add all the vegetables and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Without cleaning the skillet, spray the pan well with nonstick cooking spray or brush or spray with olive oil.
Add the egg mixture to the skillet and without stirring, cook over for about 5 minutes until the edges of the eggs are bubbly and set.
Place the skillet in the center of the preheated oven. Allow to bake for 15-20 minutes, until it is golden brown, well set and puffy. Remove from oven and cool for several minutes. Run a spatula around the edge of the pan to loosen the frittata from the pan.
Tip the pan to let the frittata slip out of the pan (do not turn the frittata over — it should be rightside up). Cut into 6 wedges and serve. Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 168 calories; 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat; 48 percent calories from fat); 7 g carbohydrates; 3 g sugar; 248 mg cholesterol; 218 mg sodium; 10 g protein; 2 g fiber.
Quick Vegetable Soup with Basil Oil Drizzle
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup small diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
6 cups water, vegetable or chicken broth
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1 can (about 15 ounces) canned beans, drained and rinsed (any variety)
1 cup unpeeled redskin potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch dice
4 cups mixed fresh or frozen vegetables, thawed (I used corn, green beans, peas and baby okra)
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
For the basil olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves and stems
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent, about 5-minutes.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
To make basil olive oil drizzle, combine 1/2 cup fresh basil leave and 1 cup of olive oil to the bowl of a food processor or blender and process or blend until smooth.
Serve the soup drizzled with basil olive oil and garnished with fresh shaved or grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 519 calories; 39 g fat (5 g saturated fat; 68 percent calories from fat); 33 g carbohydrates; 8 g sugar; 1 mg cholesterol; 681 mg sodium; 9 g protein; 8 g fiber.
Seared Tuna with Grapefruit and Sesame Ginger Dressing
I often make this with salmon or swordfish, as well, though any meaty fish works well.
For the dressing
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
For the tuna
2 pink grapefruits
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 pieces (about 4 ounces each) fresh ahi or other boneless and skinless tuna steak
Fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, any color
1/4 cup chopped scallions (green parts only)
Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well. Set aside. Whisk again before serving.
Segment grapefruits by cutting off both ends of the grapefruits. Cut off all of the thick peel and pith (thick white rind).
Use a small sharp knife to carefully cut into the edges of a segment of the grapefruit, as close to a membrane as possible. Repeat with the other side of the segment. Use the knife to pry or lift out the segment of fruit. Repeat with all segments on both the grapefruits.
For the tuna, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Dry tuna steak well with paper towel.
Season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper. Gently place the tuna steaks in the skillet and cook to desired doneness, 1 1/2 minutes per side for rare.
Serve the tuna sprinkled with sesame seeds and scallions and garnished with grapefruit. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving (without dressing): 215 calories; 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat; 21 percent calories from fat); 14 g carbohydrates; 9 g sugar; 44 mg cholesterol; 198 mg sodium; 29 g protein; 2 g fiber.
Overnight Maple Oats
1 1/2 cups milk (skim is fine)
1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 cup plain lowfat or fat-free Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons real maple syrup or honey (more to drizzle over if desired)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Toppings (optional): Additional warm milk, chopped or small dried fruits (such as apricots, golden raisins, dried cherries, candied ginger), berries or toasted nuts.
Combine all oatmeal ingredients in a medium glass bowl or storage container and stir well. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Alternatively, place in four 8-ounce glass jelly jars with lids.
Serve cold or at room temperature or heat in the microwave for 1 minute or so to serve warm or hot. Top with toppings of choice. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 248 calories; 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat; 33 percent calories from fat); 34 g carbohydrates; 18 g sugar; 16 mg cholesterol; 75 mg sodium; 12 g protein; 4g fiber.
Roasted Beet Salad with Quinoa and Avocado
For the salad
4 large beets (about 2 pounds), peeled (wear rubber gloves) or unpeeled scrubbed well, and cut into 1-inch chunks
Fine sea salt and pepper to taste
1 cup small diced, unpeeled English or seedless cucumbers
8-12 cherry tomatoes, any color
1 medium or large avocado
For the quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
Salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing
1/4 cup olive oil (regular or extra-virgin)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cut beets with olive oil and arrange in a roasting pan or disposable aluminum pan (be sure the pan is large enough to spread the beets so they are not piled high). Roast the beets, uncovered, for 30 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Cook the quinoa al dente. (The quinoa must be just al dente and not cooked further.)
Bring water and quinoa to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit in hot water for 5 minutes more — quinoa should not be “exploded.” Drain if necessary.
Make the dressing by combining the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisking well.
For the avocado, use a sharp knife to halve the avocado lengthwise, running the knife around the pit. Twist both halves of the avocado and separate the halves. Remove the pit. Run a tablespoon between the flesh and skin of an avocado half to loosen it and then pop the intact avocado half out onto a cutting board. Slice the flesh into thin wedges.
Divide the beets among four dinner-sized plates. Top with quinoa, sprinkle with cucumbers and arrange the cherry tomatoes around the perimeter. Drizzle with dressing and top with sliced avocado. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 423 calories; 22 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 47 percent calories from fat); 51 g carbohydrates; 15 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 329 mg sodium; 10 g protein; 10 g fiber.
Foods you should be eating in 2017
For mood balancing, sleep and thought processing
Blue-purple foods (berries, purple grapes, figs, raisins, plums and dried plums, for example), dark chocolate
Spices (usually ground, spices are seed, fruit, root, bark — such as pepper, cinnamon, cayenne and ginger) (herbs are leaves, flowers and stems)
Hearty soups — water or broth based — not creamy (vegetable, minestrone, chicken, for example)
Dark greens (such as spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens and Swiss chard)