Monday, July 20, 2009

Back to Basics

Alright, I got a little excited in my last post. I try not to take myself too seriously but I am known to be a little passionate from time to time. I am not a health-food Nazi, and I certainly did not just wake up one morning and decide to choose a healthy lifestyle. It was a gradual thing. I have taken information I've learned over several years and slowly weaved it into my daily life. Do I eat out? Yes. Do I overindulge at holiday parties and church potlucks ? Absolutely. I do my best...and I pray about the rest.

What I know is that there are better choices out there for me and my family, for all of us. If we make an effort to eat the simple foods that God created for us, it isn't all that complicated. There are abundant choices of organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds to choose from and a variety of ways to incorporate them into every snack and meal. Here are a few of my favorite ways to do it:

1. Trail Mix-so simple. Grab your favorite variety of raw nuts and seeds, add dried fruit, dates, or grain-sweetened chocolate chips/carob chips and you have a classic on-the-go snack. This is a fun thing for kids to help with in the kitchen and they are more likely to partake since they helped make it.

2. Smoothies-With a high power blender, you can get several servings of fruit and even veggies (great way to sneak them into kids) all at once. Bananas help glue it all together, just keep in mind that they are high in sugar so use small quantities. Choose lots of berries, which are high in antioxidants, and use very little juice or opt for water instead. Sneak in a little cabbage and carrots and mask their stronger flavor with a little frozen grape juice. (Hint: a Vita-Mix is a great investment.)

3. Soup-a great way to throw just about any and all veggies in your fridge into one yummy meal. The possibilities are almost endless.

4. Salad-My husband, along with a few of our close friends, call me the "salad queen". I am a fan of the elaborate salad. We eat salad several times a week. I put a variety of chopped veggies, nuts, seeds, fresh or dried fruit (like cranberries), etc into most of our salads. You can top with gourmet cheese, or add chicken, shrimp,or other meat.

5. Sliced raw veggies and dip-While ranch dressing is a favorite for many, most brands have sugar and other unwanted ingredients. Instead, pair your fresh veggies with hummus. Not only does it offer great nutritional value, it satisfies that need to dunk.

(Hint: chop extra veggies and have enough ready for several days in a row to cut down on meal preparation time.)

Here's to your health!

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