By: Jane Farrell
Most of us want to eat healthy, but with all the information around, it can be hard to know just how to go about it. Registered dietitian Ellie Krieger, the host of the popular Food Network show Healthy Appetite, cuts through all the unnecessary stuff to show you what works for her—and what will work for you, too.
1. Have a good breakfast. As many times as we’ve all heard this, Ellie says it’s a “key habit.” Her recommendations: whole-grain cereals, plus seasonal berries, in skim milk. Look for “whole grain,” not “multi grain” on cereal boxes; whole grains are healthier. “I also love old-fashioned, steel-cut rolled oats,” she says.
2. Eat seasonally. If you know what produce is in season, you can choose the fruits and vegetables that are freshest (and haven’t been trucked in from thousands of miles away.) If you’re craving a fruit or vegetable that isn’t in season, Ellie suggests buying an equally healthy frozen version – without sauce, butter or sugar.
3. Shop at the right time. Ask your supermarket when its produce is delivered, and shop then. Your vegetables will have a longer “shelf life.”
4. Avoid picking. If you’re going to eat, sit down and enjoy it. Don’t pick at food while you’re rushing around the kitchen or dinner table. “You’ll get the calories without the satisfaction,” says Ellie, “and it’s a bad example for your children.”
5. You can have a high-calorie treat, but only if it’s worth it. If you start eating a pastry and find out you don’t like the taste, there’s no law that says you have to finish it. When you do have a treat you like, says Ellie, “eat it, savor it and enjoy it.”
6. Add spices to make plain dishes zippier. “Curry, ginger, garlic, chili powder have tremendous anti-oxidant effects,” Ellie says. In other words, the spices can help fight certain kinds of cancer. She also suggests that you buy your spices in small quantities (since they usually keep their flavor just 6 to 12 months) and that you go to a store where there’s a frequent turnover of spices so they’ll be fresher.
7. Eat fish twice a week. Fatty fish like tuna and salmon help fight inflammation in your body. That can help people with rheumatoid arthritis. These fish also have omega-3 acids, which help battle inflammation and cancer.
8. Stop when you’re full. Don’t feel that you have to gobble up every bit of food in front of you. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 “starving” and 10 “Thanksgiving full”, Ellie suggests you end your meal at 5 or 6.
9. Get your kids involved in preparing healthy food with you. “They can make a smoothie [strawberries, skim milk, nonfat or low-fat yogurt, and a bit of wheat germ]. My daughter loves the way the blender sounds,” Ellie says.
10. Eat the rainbow. Focus on boldly colored fruits and vegetables: red, like peppers and apples; yellow, like bananas; violet, like eggplant. All these are a great source of antioxidants.