I hate to admit it but my mother's mantra of everything in moderation has merit, especially when it comes to food. Yet I find that by aiming for healthful eating, I can consume so much more, making it almost difficult to put on the pounds.
At first, like anything else, it required determination and patience. Getting into a routine of walking with friends and biking instead of driving helped put me in a positive frame of mind for eating right. Although there is nothing offbeat among these suggestions, it is always wise to consult a doctor before making any considerable changes to your diet.
Hot water with lemon
Over the years, I've been both a coffee drinker and a tea drinker. But I became just as attached to my hot water after several days of weaning myself from the tooth-staining drinks. For me, it's the warmth of a beverage that soothes and hot H2O with a squeeze of lemon can be hugely satisfying, with the added benefit that it helps ward off kidney stones.
I used to use an instant hot water dispenser, but I began to be creeped out about the idea of hot water stagnating whenever I went on vacation, not to mention the energy required to maintain the high temperature.
Breakfast ideas to enjoy with a side of fresh fruit
- Quaker oats (uncooked) with nuts (I use sliced almonds), slices of banana and skim milk
- Shredded wheat with banana and skim milk
- One slice of whole grain bread (more healthful and filling than white bread) with an egg that is boiled, poached (try using a simple silicone pod) or fried in a nonstick pan
- An egg white omelette with vegetables, cooked in a little olive oil
- For sandwiches, if I use meat, I go heavy on the vegetables. For example, I prepare several slices of tomato and a nice helping of lettuce with one or two thin slices of turkey.
- On whole grain bread, I use vinegar and/or olive oil. My personal favorites are any of the following separately or in combination:
- Bacon (with its strong flavor, a little goes a long way)
- Prosciutto (ditto a little goes a long way—great with just tomato)
- Turkey wrapped in a large lettuce leaf instead of bread
I love salad and frequently eat it for lunch, snack or dinner and on some days, for all three. Recently I posted Salad Nicoise and its Countless Variations. Here are a couple of additional ideas. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Shredded cabbage with carrot shavings and/or pepper strips and/or cucumber slices, dressed with white vinegar and a dash of sugar.
- Tuscan bread salad of cut tomato and cubes of whole grain bread (stale or otherwise) tossed with olive oil (variations include vinaigrette, cucumber, onion, basil)
- Any mix of salad ingredients with a small amount of blue cheese
- Usually there's an eighth of an inch of leftover salad dressing in the bottom of my bowl, which I stick inside one of those thin plastic produce bags from the market and put in the fridge for my next salad or for dipping other veggies.
- Whenever I steam or saute broccoli or other vegetables, I double the quantity and enjoy eating the leftovers for snacks. Whether hot or cold, broccoli swiped in my leftover salad dressing . . . mm, delicious.
- Cut off asparagus ends, roll spears in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on the grill and serve hot or at room temperature. Rather than throwing away the ends, cut into rounds and boil or steam.
- Steam asparagus till just past al dente (food continues cooking a bit after you remove it from heat). Place on a platter and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle a little salt and grind some pepper over it.
- Brussels sprouts can be steamed or sliced in half and browned on both sides in olive oil. Be careful not to overcook, lest they become bitter. Before removing from pan, grate parmesan cheese on top (I love using a microplane and apparently I'm not the only one, as this gets 5 stars with more than 300 votes on Amazon).
- A thin-skinned potato, pierced and cooked in the microwave
- Organic hot air popcorn. With more trouble and better taste, popcorn popped on the stove in a puddle of olive oil is our family favorite. I heat the oil first and test with a kernel or two. When the kernel begins to dance, I cover the bottom of the pot with the remaining kernels and put on a lid. I shake until the popping stops, lifting it off and on the stove, otherwise the burnt bits make the pot hard to clean.
- My favorite diet tip/snack is an ounce or so of Belgian dark chocolate, a large handful of almonds and a tall glass of skim milk. If you find that you can't stop at one ounce, try having something else you like nearby to distract your taste buds. I like to have a pretzel afterwards with hot water followed by a stick of chewing gum. This snack is so filling that if I have it in the late afternoon, I find it impossible to overeat at dinner.
One quick, easy, low-cal entrée idea
I use grey sole for this simple fish recipe, but any fish will do. Simply arrange fish in a broiling pan and sprinkle with soy sauce and paprika. Broil on one side only for a short time, taking care not to burn it; if you use a thin fish like sole, it can cook in a minute or two.
In addition to my salad nicoise article mentioned above, see some of my other food-related posts
- For delicious chicken soup, see my article, "You Don't Have to Be Jewish to Make Great Chicken Soup."
- For some cooking tips and great recipes, check out my post, "Create This Fabulous Family Cookbook and Enjoy These Simple Recipes."
- And, though it may not help you reduce, also take a look at my recipe for "Easy, Economical, Crowd-Pleasing Pasta".
I enjoy sharing healthful meal and snack ideas with friends. I'd love to know some of your ideas!
See my bio for links to my healthy recipe and relationship posts as well as to my blog, "Confessions of a Worrywart."