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Eating healthy in the new year

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Food column by Nora Sweat

By Nora Sweat

By NORA SWEAT

Another of my resolutions for 2011 was to give you healthier recipes no matter what your weight. You may want to lose or gain weight. Refer to last week’s column, if you want to lose weight. Today I am going to concentrate on recipes to help you eat healthier. There are a few steps to help you get started before giving you any recipes.

· Eat as many fresh foods as possible. Processed foods have many additives, preservatives and are high in sodium. Stay away from packaged foods as much as possible. The healthiest foods in a grocery story can be found on the outer limits or perimeter of the grocery. Think about it, that is where your fresh fruits and vegetables are located — meat and poultry, eggs, dairy products and whole grain breads. Candy bars at checkout don’t count.

· Remember to drink at least six glasses of water or other fluids, not soft drinks unless diet drinks. Eight is even better for you.

· Adults need two servings of dairy such as yogurt, cottage cheese and cheeses along with milk (fat-free milk is preferred, but two percent is also an option). Again low fat or fat-free are preferred but are not always the best option for baking.

· Adults need two servings of high protein food — meat, eggs, beans, fish or poultry

· Adults need five servings of fruits and vegetables. Fresh is preferred but frozen and canned can be used. Try to have fruits canned in natural juices as many are canned in light and heavy syrup. Fruit juices many times are very high in sugar so try to have the fresh, frozen or canned fruits instead.

· Limit alcoholic drinks because most are very high in sugar

· Be aware of the cooking methods you use. Frying is not healthy at all. Many people call pan broiling or sautéing frying when it isn’t. If you use a food release spray to coat your skillet before you sauté an item that is not frying nor is using a very healthy oil in a small  amount such as olive oil, canola oil or safflower oil. Do not use vegetable oil because it is a combination of oils and some are not as healthy as those I just listed.

· If you feel you have to eat breads, pasta, cereals, crackers, etc. try to use whole-grain products. I still haven’t gotten used to using whole wheat pasta but cereals will have on the label if they are whole grain. Try eating whole grain bread or multi grain as well as crackers. These products not only give you extra fiber but also essential B vitamins.

· If you think you are not eating as healthy as you could be, take a multi-vitamin.

· If possible, try to have your major carbohydrates early in the day and not have any in your evening meal or for a late evening snack.

· Remember, whether you are trying to lose or gain weight, exercise is very important. This is probably one of the hardest things for me to accomplish. My husband and I made vows that come Jan. 1 we were walking. We are two weeks into not doing that. However, we did get started Monday. If you see us in the mall, don’t think I am being a snob by not speaking. I know so many people and I just can’t stop and speak to everyone, so we are there on a mission.

If you can follow these suggestions your eating habits will be much healthier. I am giving you some recipes from www.prevention.comor Prevention magazine newsletter that I get each day with healthy tips and recipes. You too can ask for that newsletter to come to your inbox every day.

 

TACO SALAD

1pound lean ground beef

Chili powder, cumin and garlic powder to taste

½ cup water

8 cups shredded romaine lettuce

1-11 ounces. can corn, drained

1-16 ounces. can black beans, optional

2 cups diced tomatoes

Low-fat sour cream

2 cups blue corn tortilla chips, broken up

Cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat until browned. Drain the fat. Add the seasonings and water. Stir until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, corn and tomatoes. Top with the meat, chips and sour cream just before serving. Makes eight servings

ITALIAN PORK CHOPS

3 teaspoons olive oil, divided

4 boneless pork chops or cutlets (about 5 ounces each)

1 cup bell pepper strips, any color

1 cup sliced red onion

3/4 teaspoon. dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup canned, diced tomatoeswith juice

Red-pepper flakes

4 lemon wedges (optional)

Coat a large heavy skillet with vegetable oil spray. Place over high heat for 1 minute. Add one teaspoon of the oil and heat for 30 seconds. Place the chops or cutlets in the pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the pepper, onion, oregano and salt. Toss and cover the pan. Cook, tossing occasionally, for 4 minutes or until softened. Add the tomatoes (with juice). Stir to mix. Nestle the reserved chops under the vegetables. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 6 minutes or until a thermometer inserted sideways in the center of a chop registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit and the juices run clear. Uncover and let stand for 3 minutes. Serve with red-pepper flakes and lemon.

 

WHITE CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY COOKIES

½ cup margarine

⅓ cup Splenda

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1½ cups oatmeal

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

⅔ cup white chocolate chips

¾ cup dried, sweetened cranberries

Mix margarine and Splenda together until light and creamy in a mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until well blended. In a separate bowl, stir together oatmeal, flour, baking soda and salt. Add to egg mixture. Stir until well blended. Mix in chocolate and cranberries. Drop by tablespoon size pieces of dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees or until lightly golden brown. Yields 2 dozen  cookies.

Nora Sweat is a lifelong resident of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at norasweat@thenewsenterprise.com or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.