Usually about this time of year, people have made New Year’s resolutions to get back to a healthy lifestyle or lose a few pounds. For most, the bar is set too high, making it difficult to maintain their resolutions throughout the year. When it comes to food, you really need to think long term – maintaining a balanced diet should be a lifelong commitment. When setting goals, I find what works are changing tiny, everyday habits. For something to last a lifetime, it needs to fit in to your daily routine. Let’s face it; if you don’t like it, you are not going to keep it up.
In this post, I want to share a few tips and recipes that work for me…but before I do, I should probably provide a little context. I create, taste and edit recipes for the world’s largest food company – have been doing so for nearly 20 years. I guess you can say I have a real passion for food. I also have a passion for family. I have school-age triplets and a very dear husband that I cook for nearly every night of the week.
Five simple steps to a healthier you:
- Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables. Try roasting your vegetables – this really brings out their natural sweetness.
- Incorporate more whole grains into your diet. On those super busy nights, I find frozen brown rice to be my best friend! It’s ready in three minutes! Another favorite is quinoa. While quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain, it is actually a seed, but can be prepared like whole grains. For a simple everyday side, I like to simmer one part quinoa in two parts water or reduced-sodium chicken broth (add a teaspoon of chopped garlic and a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper to the simmering mixture for a little more flavor!). In about 15 minutes, it’s done!
- Be aware of portion sizes. Get to know what a true serving looks like. It may surprise you!
- Incorporate a little extra physical activity into your day. Our test kitchen is on the first floor and my office is on floor eight – a bit inconvenient, but I get a little exercise in by taking the stairs! I also have a 10 pound Kettelbell at my desk. Every now and again, it makes an appearance in our test kitchen too. When I am doing research or proofreading recipes, you will often find me doing arm lifts at the same time. Find what works for you and stick to it. Just do something active each day.
- Eat in. When you cook at home, you have control. Choose your ingredients wisely and lighten up traditional favorites when you can. This recipe is my latest attempt at lightening up a culinary classic. Pot Pies, prepared in the traditional way, can top 25 grams of fat per serving. In this lighter version (a slimmed down 12 grams of fat per serving), I substituted lowfat evaporated milk for the cream. I also incorporated more vegetables and used a buttermilk biscuit in place of the traditional pastry crust.
Take small steps. Create positive habits that work for you. Here is to a very happy and healthy 2012!
Chris Garboski wrote this post for Together Counts on behalf of Nestle Kitchens. Chris’ long time passion for food and nutrition led her to Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, where she develops recipes for major magazines and online resources. Chris follows food trends and translates them into everyday recipes for busy families. While she puts taste first, healthy options are always top of mind.