Sunday, April 29, 2012

Food with Family

Getting a walk in with mom after a delicious lunch of chicken curry.
Ryan and I recently took a weekend trip to Iowa to visit my parents.   I've written posts on how to eat healthy when traveling however, eating well while staying with relatives is another topic entirely.

-Breakfast is easy, even if other family members do not like eggs by themselves, they are usually a refrigerator staple.  Once you start frying some up in butter, it's likely others will want some too.  If other people want pancakes or waffles, no one says you can't have some, but remember to stick with small servings, and limit the amount of REAL maple syrup you use.  

-Contrary to my usual recommendation, it can be helpful to eat out, especially if other members of your group are picky or do not like many of the foods you do.  Maybe you have a favorite local eatery that serves a favorite dish or a great burger.  Or, maybe there is a new ethnic restaurant where you can get some great curry.  Many grocery stores now have large salad bars, these can be used to create a great salad with lots of veggies.  Forgo the salad dressing and use the olive oil and vinegar for your healthy fat.  

-During warmer months, suggest grilling for supper.  This makes it easy to include all the necessary food groups: Grilled Protein, Grilled Veggies, even Grilled Fruit.  Use coconut oil or butter to keep everything from sticking.

- No one wants to be hangry when hanging with family.  Make sure to keep some snacks on hand when traveling  This might mean you have to bring some dried fruit and nuts and jerky from home, but at least you will not be tempted by a mid-afternoon ice-cream cone or cookie.      

-There's no need to forgo desert.  If a family member has made a family favorite, go ahead and have that homemade apple pie.  That is if you are not prone to sugar cravings.  For people who cannot stop with just one brownie, it may be best not to start.  Instead, suggest making some sauteed apple or pear slices with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Then top it with a little heavy whipped cream. 

Just because you are traveling don't let your health, especially your digestive health suffer.  If you have special dietary needs, such as being gluten or dairy free, it will probably make things easier if you bring along some of your own foods.  This might include bread for french toast, almond milk and protein powder for smoothies, and even gluten free BBQ sauce for grilling.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Soup's On

After an exceptionally warm winter and spring, we've had several days of chilly and windy days.  As much as I love a good salad, these kind of days call for something a little warmer.  So for a quick lunch the other day I cooked up a quick skillet soup.

In a large sauté pan, melt 1tsp of butter, olive or coconut oil.  Sauté 1 cup frozen broccoli over medium heat till almost cooked through.  During this step I added some dried rosemary and thyme for extra flavor.

Add 3oz of cut up deli meat (turkey) and 6 cut up black olives to the pan and warm through slightly.

Pour in 1.5 cups of tomato soup.  I like Pacific and Trader Joe's brands.

I simmered the mixture for about 5 minutes till everything was warm.

After pouring it all into my bowl I topped it off with a sprinkle of feta cheese.

Even for a bunch of leftovers, this meal still came out perfectly balanced between protein, carbs, and fat.  Canned or boxed vegetable soups can serve as a healthy base for meals and snacks.  But it's important to beef them up a bit with other whole veggies, protein, and fat.  This can be done by scrounging up about 4oz of leftover meat from last nights supper and keeping frozen veggies on hand.  Other flavor combinations that would work well include:

Tomato soup, Basil, broccoli, leftover steak, 2 Tbs heavy cream

Butternut Squash Soup, Ginger or curry, Cauliflower, and sauteed shrimp, 1/4 cup coconut milk

Black Bean Soup, Sauteed Peppers and Summer Squash, Rotisserie Chicken, 1/2 avocado

Lentil Soup, Green Beans, and Pork chops or roast, 2 Tbs sour cream

Potato soup, fresh or frozen spinach, Ham (potato soup is typically made with heavy cream, no need to add more fat to this one).

Vegetable Minestrone, frozen carrot/cauliflower/broccoli blend, white fish such as cod or haddock, 10 green olives.

Chicken and Rice Soup, wilted kale or swiss chard (start with 1 tbs olive oil), leftover grilled chicken

Your options are only limited to your imagination.  This type of meal could easily be made while cooking breakfast and be ready to go with you to work for lunch.  Or as quick supper after a busy day.  For a bigger meal, go ahead and add a side salad.  You can never have too many leafy greens

Friday, April 6, 2012

America's Sugar Addiction

If you didn't see it on TV, I highly recommend watching the 15min video from 60 minutes earlier this week.  Then ask yourself, "How much sugar am I consuming?"

Is Sugar Toxic?