The Real Way to Eat Healthy

Sometimes, when it comes to food, I get really confused.

Sounds ridiculous?  Let me explain…

I grew up with “a few extra pounds on me”…you could say I was moderately fluffy.

I have always loved food, but it was a love hate relationship (from as young as the age of 6)…I loved to eat it but I hated what it did to me.

I grew up in a time when there wasn’t as much knowledge about teaching kids healthy eating (God bless Jamie Oliver!).  When my doctor told my mom I was overweight, she gave me diabetic cookies instead of dietetic cookies (and she told me I could eat as many as I wanted of those lovely, cardboard tasting cookies).

I lost a ton of weight in highschool (mostly from starvation diets which totally messed my metabolism), and I have yoyo’d most of my adult life.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not obese…you probably would even think I’m that overweight (I carry an extra 20 pounds but I a master of disguise!!).  But, now, into my 50’s, I’m learning that it’s not so much about what you look like than how you feel.  Food (or the lack of it) can make you look thin, but you won’t necessarily feel good or be healthy if you don’t make good choices.

This post is about giving you some ideas on eating “well”…and in “well”, I mean eating in moderation, being mindful about what goes in your mouth (like, are you really hungry, or are you just bored?), and realizing there are always times that indulging is the right thing to do (like if you are in Tuscany under a beautiful setting sun, and an Italian farmer who has just cooked you a glorious feast says, “do you want another helping”, the absolute right answer would be “si, si”!)

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Let’s start with what is available when you’re hungry.  I often find that just having a bowlful of fruit on the counter is a good thing to stare you in the face (instead of a box of donuts)…These currants that I grow in the summer are a great thing to have because they aren’t overly sweet and you can also eat them with a hunk of cheese!!

Just like this basket of apples…they are nutritious but they are also a beautiful site in the middle of your kitchen table!!

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Having said that, growing your own stuff has its advantages…you can always just pop out to your backyard and grab some stuff to munch on (if you would like to plan your garden for next year, take a peak at the “what I’m growing” tab at the top of the page)

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I don’t know about you but bread is my weakness.  I made this high protein bread a while ago…it was good, but…

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…sometimes you just need the real thing (like these crusty black olive buns!!)

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Oftentimes, breakfast looks like these healthy yogurt brulee spoons

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…and sometimes it looks like this savoury feast!

Maybe more caloric but the grilled bread (that subbed in for toast) was my homemade dough in a panini press served along side chopped garden tomatoes and herbs from my backyard, farm fresh eggs from the farmers market and crisped organic ham from my local butcher.

Sooo…more calories?  Sure.  But less healthy?  Not at all.  It’s about moderation…

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Oftentimes, I’m in a hurry and my “meal to go” will be a smoothie like this:

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You can even make one with holiday flavours like this gingerbread smoothie

And if I’m feeling extra healthy, I’ll add in a cube or two of frozen kale for good measure: (and here’s a little helping hint:  if you prep smoothie packs ahead, it will save you even MORE time!!)

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Sometimes, my snacks look like these mini yogurt parfaits:

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And sometimes, if I’m really organized, my snacks can be in meal form if I can have containers like this prepared in my fridge!

But, truth be told, oftentimes, I’m actually not hungry.  I’m just thirsty – which is almost always!  But, I think water is just sooo boring and I need to find a reason to drink it, so I figured I should make it feel more like a treat!  I put these ice cube trays to good use by throwing in small pieces of fruit and filling them up with 100% fruit juice.  When they’re frozen, you just pop one into your water in the morning and it flavours it oh so nicely!

Kinda like a “treat in a glass”!!

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And, again, with the theme of “prepping ahead is your best friend” – especially when it comes to eating well, these salad in a jar are a really great option.  Not only are they crazy healthy, but they are so beautiful when you see them lined up in your fridge, you never, ever feel like you are sacrificing when you have a jar of this for lunch!

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And, if “jar meals” are not your thing, just having ingredients in your fridge that you can throw in a glass container yourself is great: picture taking all of these bowls out of the fridge in the morning and putting a bit of everything in a glass container to take to work or school!!

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Now, lets talk about what is most people’s nemesis when it comes to dieting: pizza!

Don’t fret…we still have lots of options here.

I’ve tried healthy pizza (like this gluten free socca based pizza)…

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But then, sometimes, I just want to sink my teeth into a REAL crispy, fully loaded pizza!

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And then again, this cauliflower crust pizza above looks glorious and tastes pretty darned good AND it’s made with a gluten free crust!!

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And, if you’re like me, parties sometimes spell disaster when it comes to keeping it healthy. But, look at this pretty platter of cherry tomato “flowers” that are a beautiful and healthy way to start a meal and also double as a centerpiece!

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However, other times, you just need to indulge and have something decadent like these stuffed zucchini flowers (you can just have one, and you can feel good when you grow the zucchini flowers yourself or support your local farmer!!):

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Okay, okay…it was just a matter of time before we got to dessert!

Yes, we can always indulge (I actually find that I just need to have a wee bite to see what something tastes like…I don’t actually need to eat the whole thing!)…maybe sharing is the best choice here.

But, if you’re going to make it at home, why not make small portions of your favourite dessert (like these lemon meringue pie shooters)?

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And, sometimes, you can even make a healthy version of one of your favorites – like this healthy vegan chocolate sauce!):

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Or a simple, light and elegant way to have a fresh ending to a meal (these phyllo cups can be used in so many ways!!):

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But sometimes, you just need to have the real thing (like this brown butter and sage egg yolk ravioli topped with truffle oil)

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Next time, we might delve into emotional eating …but I might have to go back to school and finish my degree in psychology first!! 😉

 

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