JODY HOLTON — Here is your healthy eating guide to start 2022

Published 12:46 am Saturday, January 8, 2022

Why is it, that when a person eats nutritionally sound foods, other people say it’s dieting? I will tell you right now, if you eat enough of anything, even the healthy choices, you will gain weight. So, the question is, if you are not consuming high fat, high sodium, high sugar foods, why are you perceived as being on a diet?

Frequently, especially after a heart “event”, the person is told to eat low fat, low sodium, low sugar foods. I can’t count the times I am told, “I am not going to live on rabbit food!”.   Well, who could blame them? As I have written many times, the good stuff is out there, but you have to read the labels. First advice, shop the perimeter of the store. That is where you will find the fresh fruits and vegetables, unprocessed foods, meats, and dairy.

I grew up eating a lot of pasta, a lot. When my husband became a heart patient a couple of decades ago, we switched to whole grain pasta. We didn’t eat it as often, but we still enjoyed our pasta. In the past couple of years, there are more varieties now made with chick peas and lentils. No, it isn’t what I grew up with, but it is a very good substitute and I am not deprived of my weekly pasta. Same with rice, we switched to brown rice a couple of decades ago, now I use a wonderful rice replacement made with chick peas. It has a great texture and we really enjoy it in a variety of dishes. Let’s talk jar sauce, you know, the red stuff that many folks put on their pasta. Look at those labels, you will find a surprising amount of sugar in there. Sauce is really easy to make and doesn’t take long at all. Of course, there is the red gravy that cooks for hours, but the average sauce takes about 20 minutes to put together and simmer. Put it together and let it simmer while you are boiling the pasta and there is a supper in less than 30 minutes.

The secret to flavor is the herbs and spices, add them, don’t be afraid to experiment. Sauteed fish fillets over a bed of riced cauliflower, drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil is a taste treat.   Do you like the crunch of chips? I buy a red quinoa and flax tortilla chip that is great for nachos and snacking. I personally love plantain chips, great with hummus, and as a side for sandwiches.

Is a meal not a meal without meat? Well, have some. Remember, a serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. It’s not the quantity, it’s the quality.

Don’t gobble, take smaller bites, and savor the tastes and textures of your foods. Enjoy the experience of dining. Nutritionally packed foods are not boring foods, try something new. Did you notice? Not once did I mention a carrot or lettuce. But feel free to enjoy some with your other foods.

Stay healthy my friends!

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