Hello, I'm so happy to have Carolyn Knight from Atlanta as a guest writer today on Apple Menu. She is a runner and avid health nut with some tasty ideas to share. Enjoy!
Eating healthy is the goal, but healthy meals are all too often boring, bland, and repetitive. Indulging in fatty foods may hit the spot in the moment, but will eventually take a huge toll on your body with blocked arteries and a closet full of clothes into which you can no longer fit. But does it have to be unhealthy to be tasty? Of course not! Get creative in the kitchen and have the best of both worlds.Even if you have dietary restrictions, the right combination of fresh ingredients, fun textures and interesting spices can excite the palate and satisfy any appetite.
1. Cover All the Bases
If you balance your meals with food from all of the different nutritional categories: fruits, veggies, nuts,protein, and complex carbohydrates, the body will regulate hormone levels to calm cravings, satisfy hunger, and maintain energy for optimal performance. Spikes and crashes are caused by unbalanced sugar levels. Incorporating good fats from nuts, lean proteins and veggies high in fiber helps ward off those ups and downs. But how do you do that AND make it taste good when all you want is a steak and fries? Try grilling up a little flank steak and slicing 2-3 ounces over a bed of leafy greens with sliced mushrooms and avocado, shredded carrots and beets, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, artichoke hearts, and drizzle with a nice homemade shallot vinaigrette. Mouth-watering goodness!
2. Have a Little Treat
When you have been doing well with your healthy meals, and you run into temptation at the office or a party, arm yourself with portion control. Let’s say somebody in your office decided to bring a bucket of fudge to work and leave it unattended. What do you do? You grab one piece, put it on a napkin and head back to your desk. You are going to splurge from time to time, and that is ok, just practice good portioning habits; for example, 3 oz. of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. To enjoy yourself, you do not have to devour the whole cow!
3. Cook Your Way to Healthy Flavor
The best way to control what goes in your body and how great it tastes is to prepare it yourself. Yellow fruits and veggies contain beta-carotene and vitamin C, and blue and purple produce is full of zeaxanthin and fiber. Add color and spice to every dish by experimenting with fresh, bright ingredients and lots of herbs and spices. Slow cook a hearty stew with stew meat, carrots, green beans, potatoes, onion,tomatoes, peas, and dried herbs.
Whatever you make, your decisions should not be about denial, but rather about packing as many nutrient-rich ingredients into one sitting as possible. Go easy on the bad stuff, and pile on the fruits and veggies for a long, healthy life with exciting meals every day!
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