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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

True Confessions of a Foodie

Right now a bag of corn chips or cheetos would be great. I love chips and salty food. I also love cookies, cake and pie. Actually, there are very few foods that I don't like but no one realizes that I fight a desire to overeat. No, I don't binge or try extreme diets either. I simply control my eating for the most part and exercise at least five times a week.
Self control and common sense are your most useful tools in maintaining or achieving a healthier lifestyle. We use self control and common sense every day at work, with our children and in public. If you didn't have a screaming hissy fit when your boss asked you to work late, then you have the will power not to eat a pint of ice cream and a dozen cookies for dinner. There really is no excuse and its not your genes.

Here are my methods for self control and getting through weak spells.
1. Brush your teeth immediately after eating. You won't be so tempted to snack with a minty frest breathe.
2. Don't buy chips, cookies, granola bars, candy or other things you know have no nutritional value. These things should be TREATS, not a staple of your daily diet. No, your kids don't need them either.
3. If you are going to have a treat, make it worth the calories. Make a special dessert for Sunday dinner instead of eating oreos from the vending machine at work.
4. Check an online site that tells you how many calories you burn in an hour of exercise. Then decide if that food you are craving is worth it. For example, I'd burn 230 calories in an hour of light swimming but that regular sized Snickers bar has 280 calories. Makes you think instead of mindlessly eating.

Friday, March 13, 2009

What are you drinking?

The sneakiest calories are the ones we drink. For some reason, we fool ourselves into thinking that beverages have no calorie content. The same person who wouldn't dare eat a hot fudge brownie with ice cream and nuts has no problem downing several sodas a day or ordering a fruit smoothie because it's "healthy".
My husband was talking to a patient about diet and the need to lose weight. The patient protested that he didn't eat that much. My husband then picked up the Mountain Dew can on the patient's tray and asked, "How many of these do you drink every day?" The answer was about six. So the man who didn't eat much was drinking most of his daily caloric needs before he even ate a bite!
It's time to pay attention to what you are drinking. Plain old water is best but there are plenty of other healthy choices, like tea. You don't have to give up drinks you love, (iced mocha lattes) but they should be an occasional treat. It is important to be well hydrated as you may be plagued with headaches and constipation if you aren't.
Monitor what your children drink. They need to learn healthy habits from the start. Elementary children shouldn't bring sugary, caffeine drinks for lunch. My children drink water, milk or G-2. Sodas are a treat for them.
Confession: I have a great deal of trouble making myself drink water. I also weaned myself off Mountain Dew and don't even miss it now. Sometimes I add lemon to my water or a low calorie powdered drink mix like Crystal Light.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Something's Fishy at our House

Fishing with my father and the fish fries that followed are among my favorite memories. I can only hope that you have experienced a really good downhome fish fry sometime in your life too.
But fried fish is not healthy, messy and alot of trouble. Save it for a special occasion. Still fish remains one of my favorite things to cook and we eat it at least once a week. Fish is one of the quickest and healthiest options for dinner. I will frequently share my fish recipes including a new one I tried on my family this past weekend. It was a hit. Look around for your own recipes and try different kinds of fish.

Fish with Tomato Jam

4 catfish or tilapia fillets
1 tsp chili powder
Sprinkle fish with chili powder, salt to taste and set aside.
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 lemon
1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
Wash the lemon and slice very thin. Combine lemon, tomatoes, spices and sugars in a microwave safe bowl. Cover and microwave for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down to a mush. Stir and chop up the tomatoes a bit. Keep warm.
Melt 2 TBsp of butter or put 2 TBsp. of olive oil in a large skillet. Cook fish in skillet over medium high heat about 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily, turning once. Remove lemon slices and serve jam over fish and add a green vegetable or salad.

Tilapia is a very mild fish my family really likes but use catfish to support our local farmers. So cast your line and reel in a good dinner!

Next time: What are YOU drinking?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Leftover Lifesavers

Leftovers are the lifesavers of a busy famiy. At least once a week, we clean out the refrigerator and I have an easy night. There are usually several options so everyone is happy. Don't let anyone tell you they don't like leftovers; some things are better the next day such as chili, spaghetti or soup. Plus, leftovers are the green choice when you consider the resources used to get that food to your table. I often plan meals on the weekends so that I have leftovers for Monday when both my kids have after school activities. It's easy to cook extra chicken or soup for another meal. Add a salad, fruit or a vegetable to round out the meal.

Top Five Reasons to Eat Leftovers
1. Saves money
2. Faster than the drive thru
3. Green choice
4. Family members can eat at different times
5. Healthier than fast food

Be careful not to eat food past its prime. Three or four days is usually safe, depending on the food. Always refrigerate food quickly after meals so it doesn't spoil.

So use those lifesavers the next time your family is on the run. You'll be glad you did!