By Betsy Opyt, RD, LD/N, CDE The Southwest Institute for Cardiovascular Fitness & Treatment –
It is a new year and many individuals focus on eating healthier in hopes of improving their health.
There are many fad diets and detox programs out there promoting quick weight loss, but is your health at risk? Most of them are nutritionally unbalanced and hard to follow. Simply put, the only way you will be successful in the long run is if you find a way of eating that:
1. Makes you feel good
2. Is easy to follow- for the rest of your life
3. Is going to improve your health, not make you feel tired, depressed, or hungry
4. You enjoy the foods that you are eating.
After the holidays we tend to feel sluggish, overweight, and tired from all of the holiday stress and parties. Sometimes it is good to give the diet a refresher by eating foods that are not only nourishing, but cleansing to the body. Some foods are natural detoxifiers and nourish the body with the rich source of vitamins and minerals.
Here is a quick meal plan that can be followed for 1 to 7 days, depending on how long it takes you to feel rejuvenated. Portion sizes are not listed due to variances in caloric intake per individual. Use your best judgement and eat according to your body type. You could even eat your normal diet and just substitute one of these meals, or substitute the recipes for all three of your meals.
Breakfast ideas: Almond, rice, or coconut milk and blueberry, raspberry, or strawberry smoothie, oatmeal (not instant)
Lunch ideas: Salad with carrot and ginger dressing, cucumber and avocado soup, miso soup with vegetables, broccoli and arugula soup Dinner ideas: Teriyaki chicken and steamed greens, steamed wild salmon and greens
Beverages: Coconut water, herbal tea, super greens drink, beet, carrot, apple and ginger drink, cucumber, basil, and lime drink
Below are some quick, easy, tasty, and healthy recipes to help get you started.
Cucumber, Basil & Lime Drink: 1/2 C fresh basil, 1 English cucumber, cut in half, 1/2 lime, zest and pith removed, 1 apple cut in wedges. Blend everything in a blender.
Super Greens Drink: 1 cup packed kale, 4 stalks celery, 1 1/2 pears, cut in pieces, 1” piece of ginger, 1/2 lemon, zest and pith removed. Blend everything in a blender.
Beet, Carrot, Apple and Ginger Drink: 1 large or 2 med beets cut in wedges, 1/2 lemon, zest and pith removed, 2 large carrots, 1 large apple, cut in wedges, 1” piece of ginger. Blend everything in a blender.
Smoothie Recipe: 1 scoop protein powder, 1/2 C fruit of choice, 1 1/2 C almond, rice, or coconut milk, 1 scoop of a ProGreens type of powder. Blend everything in a blender.
Salad with Carrot and Ginger dressing: 1 carrot, peeled and chopped, 1 shallot, chopped, 2 T chopped fresh ginger, 1 T sweet white miso, 2 T rice wine vinegar 1 T roasted sesame seed oil, 1/4 c grape seed or olive oil, 2 T water – Puree all ingredients in blender. Combine 1 head of lettuce, 1/4 red onion, 1/4 avocado, diced and drizzle with dressing
Cucumber and Avocado Soup: Zest of 1/2 lime, juice of entire lime, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded and chopped, 1/2 avocado, peeled and chopped. Blend everything together until totally creamy.
Broccoli and Arugula Soup: 1 T olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 yellow onion diced, 1 head broccoli cut into florets, 2 1/2 c water, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper, 3/4 c arugula (or watercress), 1/2 lemon – Heat olive oil in nonstick pan, saute garlic and onion for 1 min. Add broccoli and cook for 4 min. Add water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil, lower heat and cover. Cook for 8 min. Allow to cool. Pour soup into blender and puree with the arugula until smooth. Serve with a bit of fresh lemon juice.
Teriyaki Chicken: 1/3 C balsamic vinegar, 1/3 C agave syrup, 1 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp black pepper. Combine in saucepan and bring to a boil, lower and simmer for 10 min. Cool then add 1 tsp barley miso, 1 tsp mirin, 1 T water. Marinate the chicken in the sauce (reserve a spoonful or two) for at least one hour-up to overnight. Heat grill and cook until done. Serve with the reserved sauce and garnish with 1 chopped scallion, and 4 sprigs cilantro.
Steamed Salmon and Greens: Line steamer with 1/4 C favorite herbs (parsley, basil, chervil, tarragon, etc..) and rest a 4 oz wild salmon filet on top. Steam for 11 min. Put a cup of your favorite greens (kale, spinach, chard..etc.) alongside the fish and steam for additional 7 min. Squeeze 1 lemon wedge over fish and greens.
Deceptive Diet Disasters!
You look at the front of the box and it says it is healthy, it looks healthy, therefore it must be good for you. The number one thing people often get wrong in the grocery store is not checking the labels and buying products based on the health claim on the front, which is often misleading. Here are some diet disasters that are often mistaken for healthy choices:
Yogurt Covered Raisins
Yogurt = healthy. Check, raisins = healthy. Check. Therefore yogurt covered raisins = diet disaster? A 1/4 C portion contains 200 calories, 6 g fat and a whopping 30 g sugar. Not worth the calories for this small portion.
Baked Wheat Crackers
One serving of wheat crackers can easily contain 140 calories, 6 g fat, and 260 mg sodium. Not terrible if you eat one serving, but how many people stop at 12 small crackers? Also look deep into the ingredient list and discover that it is not actually whole grain, but enriched flour. Disappointing.
Hey, granola’s healthy, right? Wrong. If you are concerned about your weight, this is a weighty choice with over 300 calories for a 1 C portion, over 65 g carbs and very little protein and fiber. It will leave you hungry and hunting for more food. Why bother?
Sugar Free Products
Sugar=Bad, so Sugar-free=Good is what we have been trained to believe. But we have been misled. It may not have real sugar but it is still loaded with calories, fat, and sugar alcohols, which if consumed in large amounts, will leave you feeling uncomfortable and running for the bathroom. My tip? Just have a little of the real thing and save your body the discomfort and your pocketbook the money.