You didn’t really think you’d get away without reading about healthy habits to adopt in 2015? Even if we already know what’s good for us, it can still be helpful to review some of “the basics” about healthy foods. If your 2015 list is already overwhelmingly long, do me a favor and add just this one new year’s resolution: Eat more produce! Come and cook with us! Of all the true and tested habits, eating more produce is a no-brainer. Getting our five daily servings of fruits and vegetables isn’t that hard if we incorporate them into every meal – at least one serving at breakfast and for snacks and at least two servings for main meals. Remember, an average serving of fruits and vegetables is the size of a tennis ball. One way is to make vegetables the main attraction on your plate. Fresh produce is packed with vitamins, minerals, micro-nutrients and often also lots of fiber and we all know that that’s good for us.
The second most effective – and really quite straightforward rule – is to make water your main beverage. Yes, a coffee in the morning might be what you need to get out of bed – and we can talk about that some more – but filling yourself up with lots of juices, sodas and zero-calorie pop is empty calories. It just doesn’t cut it and you know better. So grab a glass of water and your body, spirit and mind will feel better.
Third, and that surely doesn’t come as a surprise, is to choose better starches. We can all do without the refined, highly-processed white products such as pasta, bread, crackers, pretzels. Look for whole grains like quinoa, brown rice and whole wheat to add fiber which delays the digestion making you feel fuller but also helping to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. And if you need to change things up, skip the white stuff all together and go for beans, lentils, sweet potatoes or chickpeas as a great source of whole food starches.
So let’s tackle the hardest: Sugar. A lot of literature refers to sugar as the evil of all evils, at least nutritionally. That be as it may, cutting out sugar completely from our diets is very very hard. Let’s be smart about our goals and instead of going cold turkey, we can try to budget our sugar intake. Aim for six level teaspoons of sugar for women and nine for men (vs. the 22 teaspoons the average American consumes daily). It’s easiest to stay away from the biggest offenders including processed packaged sweets and treats such as sweetened yogurt or non-diary milks like sweetened soy, rice and almond milks, salad dressings, cereals and baked goods. And to make moderating sugar intake easier than completely depriving yourself from it include the occasional treat such as a piece of dark chocolate or a well-planned dessert from your favorite restaurant.
Strive for balance to ensure long-term success and avoid a constant battle with your own will-power that you will ultimately lose and which puts you in constant stress and inner tension about what you can vs. want to eat. And speaking of treats, we are celebrating our fourth anniversary this week. So if you have come this far and are the first to like today’s post on www.comeandcookwithus.com then you will win one of our iconic wash cloths! Happy anniversary and please help us celebrate by liking us on Facebook, favoriting us on Twitter and following us on Instagram. And if that’s not enough, drop us a comment on our website as we’d love to hear from you. Come and Cook with Us!