As a fitness and health writer, it’s my job to make sure you take away a healthy tip or two. As a food writer, it’s my job to make sure your taste buds are enticed. Therefore, you can be sure this article won’t include commentary on sinful indulgences like chocolate bacon, creamy macaroni and cheese or glazed old-fashioned doughnuts. Those, by the way, are all foods I adore, but they are certainly not part of my daily intake. However, I thought should tell you about my favorite healthy foods.
I start nearly every day with plain nonfat Greek yogurt. I fell in love with Greek yogurt on a trip to Santorini years ago. This yogurt is thick, tart and divine. It’s also loaded with fat. We are lucky enough now to have a nonfat version readily available here. I like the nonfat version not just because it’s lower in fat and calories, but because it’s higher in calcium, which is great for bone health. I add a couple of teaspoons of toasted flax seeds (a terrific source of omega-3 fatty acids, and tasty when dry toasted in a pan on the stovetop), a squirt of honey to sweeten it up and a handful of blueberries (a yummy way to get in those antioxidants).
A recipe I like for lunch — which is easy to make the day before — is lentils with vegetables. Just boil dry lentils in water or low-sodium chicken broth until tender (20 to 30 minutes), drain, mix in your favorite vegetables that have been sautéed in a little bit of olive oil (an unsaturated “healthy” fat), and add some chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lemon to kick up the flavor. This dish is high in protein (great for energy and muscle-building) and fiber (excellent for digestion and for making you feel full).
I am terrible about fitting in fruits and vegetables, so I keep low-fat, low-sugar peanut butter handy for smearing on bananas, apples and celery. I get a flavorful protein boost and a healthy snack to boot.
For dinner, my husband makes a really nice grilled salmon (again, more of that omega-3) topped with a honey-thyme-Dijon mustard glaze. I like it with broccoli (chock-full of folate, iron and potassium) that has been steamed with red pepper flakes and a tiny bit of sesame oil in the water. Served over whole-grain pasta or brown rice (more of that flavorful fiber), it’s the perfect meal. I find I prefer the whole grain pasta over the whole wheat pasta because it still has a decent amount of fiber, but it doesn’t taste like twigs and cardboard. I also prefer it to regular pasta not just because it’s healthier, but, again, it has more flavor.
I’m one of the lucky few who never developed an affinity for coffee or sodas. Therefore, I drink water all day. I’m still working on getting up to eight glasses a day, though!
And I usually end the day with a lavish antioxidant booster: a glass of red wine and a small square of dark chocolate!
Lisa Snider is a local freelance writer. For more, go to www.LisaSnider.com.