Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Healthy Eating {recipes}

It's time.  It's time to not only lose weight, but overall be more healthy.  Is this in your New Year's Resolution?  Well, it is in mine for sure!

I'm not sure if I have mentioned it before, but I am a nurse.  I work on a Medical/Oncology unit and see people every time I work that are hospitalized because they have made bad lifestyle choices.  I see people with lung cancer or emphysema after years of smoking, or melanoma skin cancer from being in the sun, heart attacks and diabetes in many cases from being overweight.  It is astounding how many illnesses being overweight can bring on.
So today, I am going to offer a few tips/tricks that I have been trying to keep my diet on track and ward off all the health complications I can.

1. Water....drink it.  Drink lots of it.  Drinking 2-3 liters of water a day are essential for keeping your diet on track and keeping you hydrated.  Drink a full glass of water before each meal, you won't eat as much.  I love my hospital mug I got after I had my baby, it makes measuring how much you have had easy to keep track of.  Put the pop away, even the diet stuff!  If you still crave carbonation, have some infrequently.  I grab be a fountain drink when I go to Sam's Club every other week or so to fulfill my craving.
2.  Eat more nutrient rich foods packed with protein.  A great breakfast example of this I have been enjoying is peanut butter and slices of banana on a toasted multi-grain sandwich flat.

Or what about a hard-boiled egg, or cottage cheese with some diced up peaches sweetened with Stevia? All great choices.

3.  I'm sure you've heard it before, but 5-6 mini meals are a great way to keep you from over-eating and keep your blood sugar levels more constant.  This will reduce binge eating.

4. Pair your lean meats with side dishes that are packed with fresh ingredients.  Here is a yummy side salad we had with the Chipotle Lime Pork Chops I shared with you last week....

Black Bean and Corn Salad
4 ears corn, husks removed 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 cup diced red bell pepper 
3/4 cup diced red onion 
1/4 cup cider vinegar 
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained 
1 teaspoon minced garlic 
1/2 cup snow peas, julienned 
1 teaspoon sea salt 
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 
(I also added the zest of 1 lime and the juice of 1/2 a lime)

Preheat the grill to medium. 

Grill the corn until lightly charred, about 2 minutes, turning frequently. Transfer the corn to a cutting board and using a serrated knife remove the kernels. Set aside. 

In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, then the red bell pepper and the red onion. Saute for 3 minutes, then add the vinegar, beans and corn and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the snow peas and saute for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat to a serving bowl and season with salt and pepper. (Stir in lime zest and juice just before serving, if desired)  Serve warm or cold. 

*if serving cold, I would wait until the salad has cooled before adding snow peas...that way they will stay nice and crunchy.
Recipe Source:  Guy Fieri via Food Network

5.  Eat high fiber foods.  According to an article in Today's Dietician, "Dietary fiber may play a role to modulate the immune system and therefore produce a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity."

Eat beans, whole grains, green vegetables, berries, squash, potatoes, and nuts and seeds for great fiber intake.  

And one last recipe today packed with fiber.

Quinoa with Peas
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup frozen peas (I put in more, more veggies doesn't hurt):)
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (I used Parmesan) divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the quinoa, and cook 2 minutes until toasted. Pour in the chicken broth, onion, garlic, thyme, and black pepper. Cover, and let come to a boil. Once boiling, stir in the frozen peas. Recover, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue simmering until the quinoa is tender and has absorbed the chicken stock, 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir in half of the Pecorino Romano (or parmesan) cheese and the parsley until evenly mixed. Scoop the quinoa into a serving dish, and sprinkle with the remaining Pecorino Romano cheese to serve. 
Recipe Source: Allrecipes
Stay tuned for more tips and recipes to help you keep up on your New Year's Resolution!