A true pioneer passed away this week - Jack Lalanne. He was 96 years young and in far better shape even than some teens. For those of you who don't know who he was, Jack Lalanne began his long career in 1936, promoting health, fitness and exercise. He designed several pieces of workout equipment still used today and his TV show ran for 20 years. He was still rigorously working out everyday until his recent death from pneumonia. As a child, I can remember my mother exercising with Jack and I'm sure I joined in sometimes. Look for him on YouTube the next time you need some inspiration to exercise or eat better. Jack and his wife of some 50 years were out living life, not wasting away in a nursing home. Think about it. You can do it too.
I have been back on track lately with exercise and eating better. I'll be the first to admit it's not easy but as a healthy lifestyle becomes habit and you notice you look and feel better, it won't be such a chore. I find it just as hard as you do to eat several servings of fruits and vegetables a day. That's why I promote eating just 3 servings for now. If you can reach that goal, you will have made a big difference in your diet. Try to eat just one piece of fruit each day, an apple or a banana. Eat two vegetables at dinner and there you have it. A serving size of fruits or veggies is 1/2 cup, one whole piece of fruit or 1 cup of leafy vegetables like spinach. If you eat a nice large salad with plenty of tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, bell pepper and spinach in it, you probably have 3 servings right there. Just remember to go easy on the dressing. And remember, french fries do not count.
Here is a recipe for a really simple soup your family will enjoy on these cold winter nights and they won't even mind getting in a serving of vegetables. My sister refers to this a rotel dip with veggies.
Cheesy Vegetable Soup
Makes 4 large servings
4 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 can of Rotel, hot as you like it
2 lbs. frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups of Velveeta cheese or 1/2
1 cup of your favorite pasta, preferably whole wheat
Bring the broth and rotel to a boil in a large pot. Add frozen vegetables and let simmer 15 minutes. Add pasta and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until al dente. Add cheese and stir till melted. Serve with a nice crusty whole grain bread or some sourdough. Add a spinach salad and you've really packed in some vegetables for the day.