JODY HOLTON — Great tasting foods that are healthy, too

Published 12:10 am Saturday, October 2, 2021

Does eating healthy bring visions of endless salads with only a squeeze of lemon?

Dried out baked chicken breasts? Bowls of bland steamed vegies? BLEH! That sounds too much like the dreaded D word…..Diet. Banish these thoughts and do away with the D word.

We are going to eat healthy and enjoy it immensely.

I LOVE breakfast! Don’t skip it because you will just set yourself up to eat more, later in the day. My usual weekday breakfast is a slice of sprouted grain toast with a light smear of real butter and a scrambled egg, along with black coffee.

On the weekends, we have bigger breakfasts. Omelets with low fat or fat free cheese, low sodium real bacon, sprouted grain toast and lots of coffee. Cottage cheese and oat pancakes with fresh blueberries and sugar free syrup, or topped with warmed sugar free cherry pie filling along with bacon. Oatmeal with blueberries and a dash of sugar free syrup.

I have at least two snacks a day, sometimes three. A handful of raw, unsalted almonds, fruit — seedless grapes are my favorite, string cheese, 80 calorie yogurt or whole wheat crackers. I keep a raw vegi tray in the fridge, ready to grab from.

Lunch is usually vegies left over from supper, some chicken or maybe a salad with quinoa and cold vegies tossed in. Homemade hummus with carrots or cucumbers and fruit.

Supper is fish or chicken, we only have beef about twice a month. Instead of rice, I use the very versatile grain, quinoa. It can be used as a rice or potato substitute. I use it in salads; it can be done as a savory or as a sweet, super high in amino acids and minerals.

A complex carbohydrate, it is a seed that is harvested from a species of a plant called goosefoot. It is officially a seed and part of a group of pseudo cereals, making it neither a cereal nor a grain, and more closely related to spinach and beets than to cereals or grains.

It is cooked the same as rice. Also, a product that closely mimics the texture of rice, but is made from high protein chick peas. Roasted vegetables are our favorite, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, squashes, even green beans. Toss them with a little extra virgin olive oil, some herbs and spices, and a sprinkle of grated parmesan, roast at 450 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Pinterest is a goldmine of food ideas.

I make a pizza crust from riced cauliflower, shredded cheese, eggs, and Italian seasonings. Bake it at 450 for about 20 minutes and top with turkey pepperoni, fresh mushrooms, chopped pepperoncini, drizzle some sauce over that, then a good sprinkle of cheese, pop back in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, VIOLA`! Pasta? Why sure!

There is a nifty little tool you can find just about anywhere, it looks like a really big pencil sharpener, just get 2 or 3 good sized zucchini and turn them into “zoodles.” Microwave for about 6 minutes, drain, top with your favorite sauce, NOT Alfredo! Shave a little fresh parmesan on top and that is some good eating!

Some things I always keep in the cabinet are:

  • Fat free condensed soup, great for pouring over chicken and baking.
  • Low Sodium Chicken and Beef broth, great as a base for cooking beans, simmering vegies and starting soups.
  • A large variety of dried and can beans. Chilled, drained black beans added to kale salad makes a quick and hearty supper. Pinto beans, broth, browned ground meat, low sodium chili seasoning, over quinoa, very tasty.
  • Quick Cook Oats, not just for breakfast, grind about ¼ cup up, add to meatloaf, better than bread crumbs.
  • Raw Almonds, my go to snack, chopped as a topping on vegies.
  • Almond milk, it’s low in fat, good on shredded wheat. Shelf stable, refrigerate after opening.
  • Lots and lots of herbs and salt free spices to flavor up that food.

Fresh, unprocessed foods are more expensive, not going to lie to you. But you will find that eating clean, virtually eliminates digestive problems, lowers allergy problems, increases your energy, and helps to lower your weight, which has all kinds of great benefits.

It’s a lifestyle, not a diet. And you can indulge yourself with a bit of chocolate or a bite of cake now and then. I promise you, you won’t feel deprived.

Stay healthy, my friends!

Jody Holton writes about health for Port Arthur Newsmedia. She can be reached at jholton3@gt.rr.com.