Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ten Ways to Make Your favorite Foods Healthier

Hello everyone, Annabella's birthday was amazing. I'm getting some pictures together so that I can show all of you what a fun day we had!

In the meantime,  I found out about  this contest from Twittermoms, and I had some great ideas! Being a mother and since I've been pregnant, I have been more involved with making sure that I make the right food choices. Its simple to do if you know  a few basic tips, and if you pay attention to the ingredients in your foods. Using whole and natural choices are the best ways to be sure that your foods are healthy!

Ten Ways to Make Your Favorite Foods Healthier

  1. Brownies, Cookies, and other baked goods: Replace about a third of the flour in your recipes with whole wheat flour. This way, you can get back the bran and the germ from the flour. Wheat Bran and Germ are the parts of the wheat that are the best for your body. Be sure that if you are making a recipe with yeast that requires rising, remember that you only want to let it rise about 1 1/2 times bigger  as opposed to double. To use all wheat flour in a bread recipe, be sure to add about two tsp gluten and some extra water.
  2. Have a GREEN salad instead of a 'cooked' veggie: Lets face it, most (well at least most people I know) of us cook our veggies in butter, or oil. We fry them or bake them filled with bread crumbs. Smother them in cheese. Why not just have a small salad with diner. But make it a green one. Simply add some oil and balsamic. Bonus points if the greens are from your garden, they will taste fresh and have many more nutrients then ones that have been sitting on a store shelf.
  3. Potato Chips: I know its hard to give them up, but replace the crunch with something a bit healthier. Share some of you're toddler's veggie puffs, they really are yummy. Or how about some pita chips with hummus. The mashed bean dip will fill you up better then just potato chips alone. So you will eat less, and get more benefits from the protein in the dip.
  4. Baked not fried--try some panko: Panko crumbs become my best friend when I am trying to flatten my tummy a bit. Why?? They stay CRUNCHY! I love crunchy, fried....... anything! And who wants to replace crunchy deep fried goodness, with some mediocre chicken from the oven? Panko crumbs almost always stay crunchy. I love to grind up some peanuts, almonds or pecans and add them to my breadcrumb mix for a little added flavor.
  5. Replace the pie with fruit: This one is easy (and yummy) Instead of baking a pie, just spoon some fresh fruit over some vanilla ice cream (splurge on a good pint fruit is cheap.) You can enjoy whatever fruit is in season. Or make a parfait with fruit, granola, and yogurt leave it in the fridge an hour then try it.  These are quicker to make, and its much better to enjoy the fresh fruit. Having this instead of chocolate ice cream sundaes, will help kids learn to reach for healthier desserts.
  6. Replace your butter with oil: Its okay in most recipes. Most of the time I don't notice a difference, and if there is its as easy to fix as adding some extra spices! If you are noticing that your stuffing needs something to replace the buttery flavor, add a little bit of extra marjoram and savory. I think that they give a smooth buttery Herby flavor to stuffing that can't be beat. Any chicken dish in my opinion can be improved with savory and marjoram. 
  7. Squash your pasta!: Literally, you can almost always replace spaghetti with spaghetti squash with surprisingly good and healthy results!  My favorite ways to use it are in primavera, shrimp scampi, and underneath a red sauce (the ultimate surprise dish). To cook the squash, just cut it in half, drizzle it with olive oil, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Roast it in the oven at about $350 till its fork tender, then use it as you would cooked spaghetti in your dish. I try to stock up at the farmers market when they are in season, local ones taste the best and because they are squash, they keep very well.
  8. Add some sweet potatoes to your mashed potatoes: I  LOVE mashed potatoes. I could eat them everyday. My favorite way to sneak some vitamins in them is to mash up a couple of sweet potatoes with the white ones. This adds a hint of savory sweetness to the potatoes. Its also unnecessary to add globs of butter because the potatoes already have so much flavor from the sweet potato. The color of the potatoes is almost that of a pale butternut squash they go great with roast chicken and green beans.
  9. Have some soup: Instead of eating a sandwich for lunch loaded with cheese, condiments and consisting mainly of bread. Have a bowl of soup.  Be smart and don't choose soups that are cream based. But a hearty minestrone or a comforting bowl of chicken noodle soup can fill you up and will warm your belly in the coming fall months. If you must have some carbohydrates, go for some whole wheat crackers or slice of whole grain bread. If its too hot for warm soup, try some gazpacho a cold tomato soup that I love with slices of avocado.
  10. Replace the mayo; I am a huge fan or using alternatives to mayonnaise, its fat and cholesterol. There are so many alternatives! Add plain yogurt to your potato salad. Use pesto or aioli on your sandwich. If I have to use mayo (like when I'm making tuna sandwiches). I always add lots of veggies to make-up for the mayo. Diced celery, onions and bell-peppers are my favorite things to mix in with the tuna. To the sand which I add tomatoes, lettuce, sprouts and avocado. If I have some I like to add a slice of crunch bacon. Yum.

I hope this helps everyone! 

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and WeightWatchers SmartOnes blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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