The Healthy Kitchen

Often I am asked what I eat everyday and how to make healthy eating a habit. For me, keeping my cupboards and fridge stocked with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helps keep my on a healthy track. Consider the following:

• Whole grains including brown rice, barley, quinoa, and couscous come in handy. Choose quick-cooking varieties for convenience. Whole grain breads, pitas, and pastas are other grain ideas.
• Canned versions of dried beans and lentils are good for salad additions and in roll-ups or casseroles.
• Other canned items include low sodium soups and broths, fruit, tomato products, and veggies.
• Canned meats, sardines, tuna, and salmon can be added to casseroles, grilled sandwiches, and salads.
• Nuts and nut butters add protein and good fats to meals and snacks. Seeds and their oils along with olive and canola oils also contribute health fats.
• Both sweet and white potatoes are quick to prepare in the microwave.
• Seasonings are important for adding flavor. Garlic and onion powders (not salt), Italian herbs, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, wine vinegars, and low-sodium soy sauce are just a few ideas.
• Fresh onions and garlic have their place, also, in the well-stocked kitchen

Next consider the fridge.
• Low or no-fat dairy items such as yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, and hard cheeses add protein and are great as toppings or casseroles additions
• Fresh greens including romaine, radicchio, endive, turnip tops and spinach make great salads sides.
• Baby carrots, celery, cucumbers, and sweet peppers can satisfy hungry kids as a snack or pre-meal treat.
• Eggs made into an omelet with potatoes and other vegetables, or in a casserole, or just scrambled offer a quick, nutritious and inexpensive meal. (And, eating one egg a day is fine for healthy folks.)

Don’t forget the freezer.
• Frozen fruit and vegetables of all types, even diced onion and green peppers, are available.
• Fish in individual servings are quick to prepare. Choose those without breading to reduce calories and fat.
• Soy crumbles double for ground beef and don’t need thawing. Veggie burgers are a quick fix, too, and available in many flavors.

In general, look for no-salt or low-salt varieties of canned goods and foods processed in water or their own juice. Be aware of expiration dates, and place recently purchased items behind those already in the pantry. For more tips, visit Today’s Dietitian and Cooking Light.

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