Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Easiest Way to Eat Healthy

It’s on the counter. You’re not in the kitchen but you know it’s there. The image of a sheet pan and the delicious treat inside has been burned into your mind. All that is between you and those chocolaty morsels is a short walk and a thin layer of plastic wrap. You start to imagine how satisfying it would be to bite into a sweet, gooey brownie…again. It’s a battle of willpower between you and a second helping and you’re losing.

Too often we blame our poor choices on a lack of willpower. A better solution may be to simply get rid of the temptation. This won’t be possible in all circumstances and may take some creativity if not everyone in the house is as gung ho as you. But with a little creativity and planning, you can get the brownies out of the kitchen! Here are a few solutions to get you started:

  • Make and buy less: Food should be enjoyed. Don’t be afraid to indulge, just do so in appropriate servings and on special occasions. Making half (even quarter) recipes or buying smaller packaged in the grocery store can help.
  • Food waste is bad but sometimes the lesser evil: Given the choice between wasting food and force-feeding junk food to friends, family, or myself, I say throw it away.
  • Lay down the law: Make rules about what will and won’t be available in the house. Make sure everyone follows them. They’ll be healthier for it.
  • Out of sight: Sometimes simply leaving the food hidden in a cupboard, rather than a constant reminder on the counter, is enough to curb the snacking.
  • Take it up a notch: Cupboard not enough? Consider an inconvenient storage location, such as a high shelf that requires the stepstool from the garage to reach.
  • Break out the big guns: Desperate times call for desperate measures. Swap out the cookie jar for a lock box or put a pad lock on the snack drawer. Forbid anyone from telling you the combination or granting you access.

Once you’ve removed the temptation, the next step is to replace it with a healthy alternative. Sometimes we go for the brownie simply because there’re no fresh berries to curb our sweet craving instead. By minimizing unhealthy snacks and increasing nutritious options, eating healthy can be as easy as pie…a healthy pie.

Full Circle Brown Rice Bowl

Ready to eat in 90 seconds, Full Circle Brown Rice bowls make it easy to increase your intake of whole grains. A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer as well as heart disease. Whether using it as a quick snack, making a lunch at work, or incorporating it into a meal at home, Full Circle Brown Rice bowls are a good solution to help support your health. With no added salt or seasonings, the rice is surprisingly versatile, just don’t try and eat it plain unless you’re prepared for a bland experience. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use ready to eat brown rice:

Meal:

  • Eggs Over Rice – Warm rice and top with chopped green onions, soy sauce to taste, and a soft fried egg.
  • Curry and Rice – Kitchens of India have a Red Kidney Bean Curry and Mashed Vegetable Curry. Both are shelf stable and perfect to serve on top of rice. Note these are not low sodium.
  • Power Pack Soup – Whole grains can be added to a variety of soups to turn a side into a complete meal. My favorite to add rice to is Progresso Light Beef Pot Roast. Sodium in the soup is a little high.
  • Taco Salad – Over a bed of greens, add hot rice, Bush’s Grillin’ Beans Black Bean Fiesta, fresh tomato, and avocado. Again, not a low sodium option.
  • Topped with a Flavorful Entre – A great choice to serve over the top of your rice is our Pork Chops with Mushrooms, Onion, and Pear.

Snacks or sides:

  • Rice and Avocado – Add Cholula or your favorite seasoning to rice and top with sliced avocado.
  • Garlic Rice – Add a small amount of Chef Shamy’s Gourmet Garlic Butter to the rice.
  • Black Bean & Corn Salad – Mix into Rico’s Black Bean & Corn Salad to boost the fiber of an already very healthy side.
  • Side Salad – Rice can be a rather unobtrusive addition to just about any salad. Simply sprinkle a small amount on top.

With its ease, versatility, and nutritional quality, Full Circle Brown Rice bowls are one of Ron’s Food Picks. Full Circle Quinoa bowls are an equally good choice. Though not organic, Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Brown Ready Rice and Minute Whole Grain Brown Microwavable rice cups are also good options. If you have the time, the most affordable option is to make your own brown or wild rice in large batches and portion into small, microwaveable containers. No matter how you do it, try some or all of the suggested meals and snacks to increase your intake of whole grains today.

A Perfectly Healthy Pot Roast

Pot roasts can be surprisingly healthy, affordable, and easy. In fact, you should probably add it to your meal-planning calendar right now and then come back to finish reading. Done? Ok, let’s continue. To achieve that succulent, fall-apart-in-your-mouth texture, pot roasts rely on moisture and long cooking times rather than naturally tender cuts or fat content. This means a leaner and less expensive cut provides the same (often better) degree of tenderness as another cut. And ease? Simply braise the beef, mix the ingredients together, and leave in your crock pot or oven for several hours.

Tip: for the busy working adult, take 15 minutes to prepare your pot roast the night before, leave in the fridge overnight, then, as you walk out the door, put on low to cook while you work. When you get home, you’ll be greeted by the delightful aroma of a perfect pot roast.

Here are some ways to make your pot roast especially healthy:

  • Portion – You can either cook up a smaller roast, save it for a time when you’re cooking for a large group, or just plan on having lots of leftovers. No matter how you do it, try to keep your portions between 3 and 4 oz. per person. If you forget, the suggested serving of 4 oz. is on the package.
  • Sides – USDA My Plate should be a guide, even when eating a steak and potatoes dinner. This means half your plate can be pot roast and potatoes, the other half (no not dessert) is fruits and non-starchy vegetables. Adding a whole piece of fruit and prewashed greens with cherry tomatoes and a light vinaigrette? Now you’re following My Plate and it required almost no effort.
  • Lean – The sirloin tip and tri tip beef roasts are both lean cuts, as are the sirloin and New York pork roasts. Opt for these over other cuts where possible. If you do use a fattier cut, consider roasting your potatoes and other root vegetables with a little olive oil and cook your roast separately. That will limit the fat that is infused into your vegetables.
  • Use herbs – Some roast recipes can be high in salt. Look for a recipe that uses savory herbs like rosemary, thyme, bay, sage, and/or mustard. A generous amount of onion and garlic are also musts for a flavorful roast that doesn’t rely on salt for its flavor. You can also experiment with using beer to help make your roast moist and flavorful (the alcohol cooks off so it’s safe for kids).
  • Toss the juices – While you might be tempted to turn the leftover juice into gravy or simply drizzle a little on each plate, doing so just adds more salt and fat. Avoid the temptation and toss it. A well flavored roast shouldn’t need to be bathed in gravy or drippings.

Next time you anticipate a busy evening or when you’re just looking for some good old fashioned comfort food, put on a pot roast and enjoy a healthy, affordable, and easy meal.

Ron

Easy and Delicious Spaghetti

With a sauce made from whole vegetables, your sense will delight in the fresh and bold flavors of this spaghetti. And with only 15 minutes of preparation, it’s an easy meal to squeeze into a busy evening.

Easy Spaghetti
Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces whole grain spaghetti noodles
  • 3 each medium zucchini (spiralized)
  • 6 each roma tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil OR 2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/4 cup white onion
  • 1/4 cup carrot
  • 1/4 cup celery
  • 1 cup liquid (water, chicken stock, veg stock, turkey stock, etc.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions
  2. Using a sauté pan on medium heat, add oil and garlic and cook 2 minutes or until garlic is golden brown
  3. Add lean ground turkey and cook until completely browned
  4. While noodles and turkey are cooking, in a high powered blender add tomatoes, basil, onions, carrots, celery, and liquid; blend on high until completely pureed
  5. Spiralize or julienne slice zucchini
  6. Once turkey is completely browned, turn the burner down to medium low and add the tomato sauce
  7. Salt and pepper to taste then simmer on medium low for 10 minutes; you may need to add a little additional liquid until desired consistency is reached
  8. Once noodles are cooked to al dente, strain and portion into 4, 2 oz servings, evenly portion out zucchini on top of noodles, then add sauce and enjoy a healthy fresh plate of spaghetti