☰ Menu Search

Healthy Eating Simplified

Posted on: September 27th, 2013

Are you digging your own grave with a fork and spoon? These simple tips could extend the quality of your life, help you set the right example for your kids and become your most meaningful gift to future generations. Please consider taking this seriously, few things can enhance a life more than a healthy attitude towards food and cooking!

Obstacles to Healthy Eating
The biggest obstacle to healthy eating is convenience; unfortunately convenient foods are rarely healthy.  Fast food is quick, dining-out is easy and ordering-in fits the schedule nicely; but usually none of these are nutritionally sound. What does convenient eating cost? Thousands of dollars more per year for foods that are slowly killing us.

There are some convenient healthy options out there! Best choices include pre-cut fruits and
vegetables, fresh salads, lean lunch meats, whole grain cereals, frozen vegetables, 
and nutritious snacks like nuts and dried fruits.

Eat Your Vegetables!
Bottom line, we all need to eat more vegetables. Mom’s have been saying this for generations – and lo and behold every scientific study, doctor and nutrition expert will tell you the same thing. I’m not one to recommend the latest diet fad because healthy eating is simple. The goal is to increase the ratio of vegetables on your plate to at least 50%, focus on lean meats and seafood, work is as many whole grains as possible, and cut out fast and processed foods.

When you have healthy ingredients on hand, great taste and nutrition can come together quickly!

Escape into the Kitchen
Even-though I deal with food all day long, I still enjoy escaping from a hard day by preparing the family home meal, especially with my wife and a nice glass of wine! No matter how hard your day, there is no better way to recover than savoring time around the hearth with the ones you love!

Three Steps to Better Eating
First we need to have fresh vegetables and fruits on hand at all times, which means shopping at least twice a week. For the greatest benefits, choose the greatest variety of textures, colors and shapes possible – the bigger the variety, the bigger the benefits. Also pay particular attention to vegetables in season, they’re always going to taste the best and this too will help increase variety.

Second, learn about and understand each vegetable, and all the ingredients you use. This alone will increase your culinary acumen exponetially! Knowing the best ways to prepare a vegetable or any ingredient will make for better tasting and more interesting meals. Keep your mind open and eat every vegetable at least once a year when it’s in season!

Third, save time by prepping veggies in advance 2-3 times each week – that way they’re only a few short minutes from the table. If you keep a salad, cut fruit and a medley of steamed veggies on hand at all times, healthy eating becomes very convenient, and can save you a great deal of money!

Veggies for the Week, a simple and flexible recipe that makes healthy suppers a snap!

Veggies For The Week
I swear by this recipe, and you’ll be amazed how flexible and quick these semi-prepared vegetables are at suppertime! It all started as a way to clean out the refrigerator, now it’s a standard recipe at our house. The written recipe follows.  Buon appetito!

Special Treats
Don’t get me wrong, while I strongly believe in a healthy diet, I also feel that treats are part of maintaining a healthy balance! A little treat everyday and occasional feasts of your favorite foods are a wonderful part of life; savor them, but don’t be defined or controlled by them!

Veggies for The Week
This vegetable selection is just a suggestion, any combination or amounts will do, just try to choose as many varieties and colors as possible.

1 pound small potatoes
1 pounds carrots
8-16 oz green beans
1 bunch broccoli (florets and slivered stems)
1 head cauliflower
1 pound Brussels sprouts
8-16 oz sugar snap and/or snow peas
1 ea. yellow & red bell pepper

Fill a large pot with 2 inches of water; bring to a boil and place steamer on top.  Or fill your largest pot at least half full of water and bring to a boil (steaming preserves more nutrients!)  Prepare a second bowl filled with ice water.

Wash and trim vegetables, cut into one to two-bite pieces and add to the steamer (or boiling water).  Cook until crisp tender, remove to a colander, rinse under cold water and drop in ice water to chill quickly (stopping cooking and preserving color).  Scatter on a clean towel to dry, transfer to covered containers and refrigerate.

Usage tips: 1) Heat in a pan or microwave with a splash of stock and serve. 2) Sauté briefly in olive oil, season and serve.  3) Microwave and toss with a tab of butter and various seasonings.  4) Marinate in vinaigrette and serve over lettuce.  5) Simmer in marinara and serve over whole-wheat pasta with a salad.  6) Warm and toss with lemon, olive oil and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.  7) Microwave and serve with a splash of soy sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Chef’s Notes: For efficiency, start potatoes and as they cook, clean and cut carrots and then add to pot.  As they cook, cut the next hardest vegetable and so on.  I like to keep the varieties separate and suggest a Chinese bamboo steamer, they’re inexpensive and can be stacked for steaming several things at the same time.  Times for each vegetable varies – test early with a bite and slightly undercook – they will cook more when reheating.

Note: This blog was originally posted in September 2010. I updated it because I feel the topic is terribly important and my responsibility to promote.  Buon Appetito – Salute!

Comments are closed.