To eat healthier, you have to start at the very beginning– a healthy kitchen cupboard. We recently did a walk-through of our kitchen stock for a couple of reasons: 1) to get rid of stuff that had been in the cupboard way too long and 2) to be more mindful shoppers with the recent increases in grocery prices.
Here’s what we do now:
• Purchase fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season to increase the amount of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber in our diet
• Purchase low-fat or nonfat dairy products to lower saturated fat and calories
• Purchase lean meats such as flank or round steak that are on sale and freeze extra
• Use healthier oils such as canola and olive oil in place of butter or margarine
• Buy smaller loaves of whole-grain breads (we now look for day-old and freeze)
• Have meatless meals weekly such as macaroni and cheese with a huge salad or bean burritos with fresh tomato salsa
Another key factor in leading a healthier lifestyle is to eat together at dinnertime or on the weekends. It’s difficult in today’s busy world, but studies have shown it makes a difference on many levels.
A colleague of mine, Roberta L. Duyff, MS, RD, FADA, wrote the following in an article, “The Family Table: A Place to Nourish and Nurture” for the Canned Food Alliance (www.mealtime.org) about the importance of “breaking bread” together:
“Especially when families linger over a meal– a practice more common in other cultures than the United States– family mealtime promotes close personal interaction. Benefits go beyond catching up on the day, building family ties and enjoying each other. Regular family mealtime also is linked to better emotional health, fewer risk-taking behaviors, such as alcohol and drug abuse and better school performance.”
Duyff also states that we must make family mealtime a priority.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
• Set a regular family mealtime. Pick a time together.
• Enjoy more table time, less cooking time. Make quick, simple meals- canned foods are a convenient timesaver – to give more table time together.
• Turn off the TV. Turn on the answering machine. Focus mealtime on family.
• Keep table talk positive. Everyone gets to talk and to listen. Sitting around a table, not side-by-side at the counter, helps.
• Keep table time realistic– not so long that the pleasure goes away.
Enjoy the family-friendly recipe above from the Canned Food Alliance!
Sloan is a registered dietitian, therapist and consultant in Long Beach.
Caribbean Chicken Salad
1. Toss the chicken, pineapple, water chestnuts and green onions.
2. Mix the mayonnaise, ginger, lime juice and salt and pepper. Toss with chicken mixture.
3. Cut a thin slice from bottom of each fruit half to make a flat surface for plating; place halves on 4 serving plates. Mound the chicken salad in the fruit halves. Serve with lime or lemon wedges.
Calories Per Serving: 340 Fat : 12g
Cholesterol: 40 mg Sodium: 350 mg
Carbohydrates: 41 g Fiber: 6g Protein: 17g