For the past few months, I’ve been focusing more on encouraging my family to live healthier. With the help of the Internet, Pinterest and other bloggers, I’ve discovered some things that have made this healthier living adventure a little more doable.
The first thing I did was search Pinterest for nutritious meals. Whenever it’s time to shop for groceries, I refer to Pinterest for recipes and new ideas. One important key to healthy eating is variety. After all, you can only eat so many salads before you cave in and go for the cheeseburger.
We’ve made some little changes here and there that equal big results. Here are some examples.
Replace spaghetti noodles with spaghetti squash. Stab that squash a handful of times and stick it in a preheated 350 degree oven for an hour. After it’s cooked, slice it open and scoop out the seeds. Then use a fork to scrape that noodle-like squash onto your plate. Top it with your favorite sauce, and you have made a simple, yet large change in your family’s diet by replacing those carbs with healthy, delicious squash.
Try taking a few zucchinis, cutting them in half lengthwise, and scooping out part of the inside. Fill them with browned ground turkey, marinara sauce, cheese, and some seasonings. Pop them in the oven at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes and enjoy your Italian zucchini boats!
We’ve also replaced rice with quinoa. This cooks up easily and can be topped with almost anything. We like to add Costco rotisserie chicken (I buy three at a time, shred, then freeze for easy meals), avocado, peppers and soy sauce.
One of my favorite foods to use is cauliflower. I make cauliflower rice by putting raw cauliflower into a food processor and chopping it until it’s a rice consistency, then steaming it in 1 inch of boiled water for four to five minutes (some people do this part in the microwave).
Next, strain the cauliflower, then put into a cheese cloth, and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze all that liquid out! You want it as dry as possible.
After adding an egg, cheese and some seasonings, place the mixture on parchment paper, shape however you like, and bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or until crispy. Add your favorite toppings, put it back in the oven for seven to 10 minutes and you have created pizza crust and breadsticks.
While we’ve cut out most red meat (we grill a lot of veggie burgers now), we still indulge in not-so-healthy foods. We go out for ice cream and munch on French fries. We get pretty excited over the occasional loaf of white bread.
I have found that the best motto is “nothing is off-limits.” My son is turning 13 this weekend, and we will be eating cake and ice cream. We’ll have no guilt, and we’ll be sure to eat better the next day.
So if you’re in need of a little diet change (I use that word “diet” hesitantly), I encourage you to start by making some simple alterations. If you go too big, you’ll burn out and end up right back where you started.
What small changes have you already made? Share your success with us, and come back for my next column, where I will offer more tips on becoming healthier and getting active.
If my family can do it, yours can, too!