Friday, May 20, 2011

Group Project: 8 Weeks to a Better Me (Week 3: Healthy Food)

I got caught up in a little art project for some good friends of mine who are expecting (but I can’t share the project until they see it first!), and I fell behind on my 8 Weeks to a Better Me entries. Have no fear, though! I am still following along with the group project put together by Danielle of Sometimes Sweet! The focus of the third week is healthy food. This is an area I’ve been exploring recently, as getting healthy and fit is a short- and long-term goal of mine. I recently stocked my fridge and cupboard with lots of yummy and healthy foods, including grapes, apples, quinoa, spinach, salmon, Greek yogurt, almond milk and hummus. I am looking forward to cooking up multiple concoctions with all these fun ingredients.

Tonight, I had dinner with my friend Kate. She made a healthy pasta meal. Pasta, though carb-heavy, is not in and of itself unhealthy. It’s relatively low in calories (if you measure your serving size); it’s the toppings that can make it truly bad for you! Kate’s pasta was made with a little bit of butter and olive oil, chicken broth, chicken, tomatoes, broccoli and a dusting of shredded parmasan cheese. It was a delicious combination! I really enjoyed how the broccoli was still a bit crisp. It was yum, yum, yummy. I think I’ll try it myself sometime, and maybe trade out chicken for shrimp or broccoli for snap peas. I feel like the simple combination of meat and vegetables offers room for healthy(!) experimentation.

Danielle’s guest was Tracy from Shutterbean. Visit her site for some tantalizing recipes. I love how Tracy emphasized moderation and admitted to enjoying visiting the naughty side of cooking and baking. That’s it, visiting, NOT moving in and settling down!

1. Cook at home. - I often take the easy route and either pick up something for dinner or eat something directly out of the fridge or the cupboard that doesn’t take much planning or preparation. I would like to branch out and find some new inspiring recipes, such as Kate’s pasta, mentioned above. Maybe I’ll even improve my cooking chops.

2. Replace unhealthy snacks with healthy ones. - Yes, salt & vinegar chips are my very favorite (and, actually, they are the only chips I get into trouble with), but I am just as satisfied with raw carrots and hummus. I have more trouble replacing sweets with fruit than I do replacing salty snacks with vegetables. I have a massive sweet tooth. That might just take a little more time to figure out...

3. Eat at least one salad every day. - This was Tracy’s advice, and I think it’s a great idea! I’ll be sure to have raw vegetables each day, and it’s bound to cut down on fat and calories (As long as I’m not dousing it in high fat dressing or eating an entree salad at a restaurant. Those are notorious for being less healthy than you would expect.).

I am also looking to local restaurants for recipe inspiration. There are so many in Kansas City that focus on fresh wholesome food. I also intend to follow a few cooking blogs for added inspiration. Being surrounded by healthy food choices and recipes is bound to rub off on me!

What are your healthy eating tricks? How do you eat sweet stuff without blowing your diet?

Here's to happy and healthy eating,
Alison :)

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