After spending the better part of the last month gorging ourselves on holiday feasts and treats aplenty, many of us have ushered in the new year resolved to shape up, slim down and make some positive changes.
Time to talk about dieting, right?
Instead of preaching about all of the bad foods you shouldn't be eating, let's take a "glass half full" approach and focus on some of the good (delicious and nutritious) items you should be enjoying more.
Dr. Eudene Harry, author of "Live Younger in 8 Simple Steps," recommends substituting some of your heavy comfort dishes and standby packaged foods in favor of healthier options. Here's my take on some of her excellent suggestions:
n Tomato, garlic, chicken and almonds: Cooked tomatoes boast one of the world's most concentrated sources of cancer-fighting lycopene. Garlic is a bona fide free-radical destroyer. Nuts can help you lose weight, maintain healthy blood pressure and, some claim, improve your mood. Whip up a tomato-garlic chicken dish using almond crumbs instead of bread.
n Mashed cauliflower gone Greek: Not only is Greek yogurt thicker, richer and creamier than its American counterpart, but it also packs a bigger healthy-bacteria punch. Instead of adding a ton of fatty, cholesterol-filled butter and sour cream to starchy potatoes, try steamed cauliflower mashed with Greek yogurt and fresh black pepper. If yogurt isn't your thing, cauliflower mashed with chicken stock and a little butter or milk is a dead ringer for them 'taters.
n Sushi: Where else can you get healthy seafood, minced cucumbers, shredded carrots, nutrition-rich kelp, sesame seeds and white rice all in one filling and satisfying bite? Just go easy on the soy and cream sauces.
n Pomegranate-balsamic tempeh: With its high protein, fiber and "meaty" texture, tempeh is prized by vegetarians. (It's made from soybeans in a process similar to cheese making.) Like tofu, tempeh takes on the flavors with which it is cooked, so pairing it with tart pomegranate and a tangy balsamic vinegar makes for a tongue-tingling healthy salad.
n Fruit salad for dessert: I'm not the world's biggest fruit fan, so this is a tough one for me. But most people love the stuff, so stir together chopped apples, strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, blueberries or grapes for a sweet and juicy post-dinner palate-cleanser. Add lemon juice to brighten the flavors (and prevent browning) or add a little yogurt and granola for a quick parfait. Parfaits I can do.
n n n
Just as I suspected, last week's sermon about how well (or woefully) children behave in restaurants drew a slew of comments from every angle.
"Wonderful article!" wrote Marty Robinson of Charleston. "I can't tell you how many times my husband and I have wished we could give our bill to the parents of unruly children."
Now there's an idea I hadn't thought of.