Confusion is common between fact and fiction concerning tips on healthy eating. Much of what we see and hear is promotional hype disguised as advice on better nutrition. Food recommendations, like other trends, often change quicker than a banana ripens. There are many factors that affect healthy nutrition and all must be considered when making personal choices.
Eat Up These Basic Food Facts
Eating is meant to be enjoyed. Many leave the dinner table filled with an extra helping of guilt, instead of the healthy satisfaction that should result from an enjoyable meal.
Sometimes it’s not what you eat, but what you do not eat. You might not be eating the wrong foods. You simply might not be eating the right ones, the nutrients that will give you the biggest power boost.
Perhaps you aren’t eating (often) enough. Many of our days are so heavily scheduled that we fit meal times into slots. Time between our “appointments” with food stretches too far, leaving us tired, irritable, and unmotivated. Hunger provides natural breaking times to refuel and refresh.
Although an affluent nation, American diets are often limited. As a society, we need to make new choices based on fresh knowledge and availability. For example, we should attempt to replace traditional foods with more plant-based sources (as practiced in other countries), limiting the proverbial “steak and potatoes” so touted during our youth.
Some Carbs Are Friends. Complex carbohydrates, commonly found in whole grain bread, oats, barley, rye, produce, and beans, are essential to our health. The refined, manufactured carbs should be limited. Learn the difference before making blind exclusions.
As an informed eater, you can decipher healthy options and act on them when purchasing and preparing food. Learning about food’s impact on our bodies is inspiring in the kitchen. We become excited to make positive changes. The challenge of a new style of eating becomes a delicious adventure.
Simply through the process of learning and nutritional guidance, we often become motivated to try something new. Case in point: My 11-year-old had the benefit of reviewing notes from my interview with Helene. That same night, she was inspired to take those pieces of information and create a wonderful new meal, incorporating beans, tomatoes, and whole grain pasta. She added mushrooms for texture to replace that of meat. (See “Experience a Nice Way to Eat,” February 2009 e-bulletin). For your enjoyment, her recipe is included at the end of this article.
“I love when people quote my advice back to me. It’s great to help others become healthy, even through one new suggestion at a time,” shares Helene. And, the younger they start on the path to healthy eating, the stronger their lifelong commitment. Good nutrition is a taste you can acquire. It does not have to be a sacrifice.
The Center’s nutrition seminars are a free opportunity to learn from the experts. Through this value-added service, members can become aware of misinformation and misconceptions and replace it with solid nutritional guidance. Cleanse your palate and your body with a refreshing take on what’s for dinner and why.
For additional nutrition guidance, please visit the Front Desk to schedule an appointment with Helene or one of our other nutrition experts.
Lexi’s Little Bit of Italy
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans
- 1 can (15 ounces) Italian seasoned tomatoes
- 1/2 cup red and green bell peppers, sliced 1” lengthwise
- 1/2 cup chopped tomato
- 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
- Olive oil
- Season to preference with pepper, garlic & onion powder, basil, and grated cheese
- 1 pound of multigrain pasta (in your choice of shapes!)
- Drizzle olive oil to completely coat the bottom of a large pan.
- Toss in sliced peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Add seasonings to taste.
- Slowly add canned Italian seasoned tomatoes and black beans.
- Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring as needed. Sauce will thicken as it cooks. Vegetables will become tender.
- Cook pasta to al dente perfection.
- Dish out servings of pasta and smother in sauce. Sprinkle with grated Italian cheese.
Recipe compliments of Alexandra S. Kerchner