Judy E. Buss
Who doesn’t love to eat? Of course, most of us do. However, depending on the choices we make, food can be harmful or health-boosting. Even in our fast-paced age of electronic push-buttons and instant results we must accept the fact that certain aspects of life cannot be condensed into a pill, or a click of a mouse. Preparing and eating nutritious meals is a necessary part of living if we expect to enjoy good health. And come to think about it: what is more fun, cooking up scrumptious fare, or spending time in hospital surgery and rehab units in pain?
Much has been written about the importance of eating a healthy diet, rich in fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains and beneficial fats. This includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. An essential component of a healthy eating strategy is the avoidance of consuming two large meals per day (lunch and dinner). Two main meals daily are a prescription for overeating, with all of its detrimental consequences. One of the two meals should consist of a lighter fare. The role of such a meal cannot be overstated.
Delicious, scaled down meals can be made with a minimum of effort. A fresh, raw vegetable salad should be the centerpiece of a light meal. It can be served with whole-grain roasted bread or pita, and a hearty homemade soup; or a salad paired with a whole grain pilaf; or a fabulously delicious sandwich, of multi-grain bread, stacked with a slice of a sweet onion, lettuce, cranberry sauce and turkey or quality cheese (not the imitation-plastic-cheese-slices variety). A whole-grain pasta salad, accompanied with a veggie salad or soup is another option.
These and countless other tempting dishes can be altered on different days to prevent monotony and increase nutritional intake. You can add or change herbs, sauces, toppings, dressings, vegetable combinations, and so forth. Leftovers of most of these types of dishes can also be taken to work. Advance cooking of larger batches of whole grains, beans, soups, or pasta, or washing additional salad veggies for later use, saves time.
Light meals are particularly important during holidays and other times of celebration. Going hungry to a party spells trouble… Instead, eat a light and healthful meal before you go. This will help prevent stuffing yourself at the festivity and sledge-hammering your effort to live healthier. Remember: unhealthy eating and/or overeating are optional.
1 cup uncooked bulgur
1/2 cup finely chopped mint leaves
1 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1/3 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
In a saucepan bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
Remove from the stove. Mix in the bulgur, cover, and let stand 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together all the other ingredients. Add the cooked bulgur.
If the mixture is too dry, add 1 – 2 tablespoons water.
GARDEN PASTA SALAD
2 cups uncooked whole wheat or multi-grain Rotini (corkscrew-shaped) pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced, including their whites
8 pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the pasta in water and 1 tablespoon oil 10 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mix all the dressing ingredients, and add all the other ingredients.
* Add 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced, then chopped
* Omit the olives and add 1/2 cup marinated quartered artichoke hearts.
* Omit the peas and add 1/4 pound steamed green beans, cut into 1 inch sticks.
* Omit the basil and add dried oregano or dill weed.
“Mission Nutrition” Tips and Recipe from Judy E. Buss, Health Columnist, Nutritional Cooking Instructor.
Excerpted from Judy E. Buss’ article, first published in the “Feeling Fit” Magazine, Sun Coast Media Group newspapers, Florida.
Stay tuned for more Judy E. Buss’ “Mission Nutrition” words of wisdom and recipes.