Big things always start small . . . and grow! Before you could run, you learned to take small steps. It's the same with "eating healthy" or "losing a few pounds." You just have to get started and NOW is a great time. It's spring, always a great time to start new things. Forget dieting and just freshen up your eating. Try one small change each week.
FRESHEN UP the way you eat and, you're on the way to better health. Choose one thing - "Just Do It."
Freshen Up Snacks with a Veggie or a Fruit
- Trade a bag of chips for an apple. A small, 1 ounce bag of chips has between 120 to 160 calories and 10 grams of fat. A medium, 6.5 ounce apple has 95 calories, no fat, 4 times the fiber, vitamin C and is naturally sweet! It's better for your hunger, better for your health!
- Skip the chips with dips. Try cucumber slices with your salsa. One half cup of cucumber has only 8 calories! Try carrot sticks. A medium carrot has only 25 calories, no fat, 2 times the fiber of chips plus vitamin A. It's naturally sweet with a healthy crunch!
- Try an orange when you are thirsty instead of a soda. Juicy oranges have natural sugar and lots of vitamin C. Very refreshing!
Go Brown for More Taste and Health
- Trying using brown rice instead of white rice. Brown rice has a slightly nutty taste plus 4 times the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Studies show that eating brown rice helps control blood sugar and reduce the risk of diabetes. White rice loses most of it nutrition getting white. Why pay for "empty calories"?
- Ditch the white bread for whole wheat or whole grain bread. White bread is really "empty calories". It fills you up, but you don't get much energy or fiber.
Freshen Up Meals: Save Some $$ While you get Healthier
- Once a week or every two weeks, skip the meat. Try an all veggie dish, like Butternut Squash Burritos (see our "Recipe" section) or look for recipes at Harvest Home's website: http://www.harvesthomefm.org/
- Making burgers? Cut the meat. Mix 3 cups of cooked lentils with a pound of ground beef or other ground meat for 8 hearty burgers.
A few TASTY steps and before you know it you'll be running down the road to healthy eating. Check our "Tips" section for some more little things you can do. It's easy. Get started and FRESHEN UP for spring
Butternut Squash Burritos
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cubed and roasted
- 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice (yields: 1.5 cups cooked)
- 1 - 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped sweet onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 2 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 15 oz can black beans
- 3/4 cup cheese (whatever you like)
- 4 tortilla wraps (large or x-large)
- SQUASH: Preheat oven to 425°F Place chunks of squash on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle olive oil on squash and a little salt and pepper. Coat with hands. Roast chopped butternut squash for 45 mins or until tender.
- RICE: Cook brown rice according to package directions or see Cooking Tricks to the right.
- FILLING: In a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook oil, onion and minced garlic for about 5 mins, stirring frequently. Add in salt and seasonings and stir well.
- Add chopped red pepper, black beans and cooked rice. Cook for another 10 mins on low.
- When butternut squash is tender, remove from oven and cool slightly. Add 1 ½ cups of the cooked butternut squash to the skillet and stir well. Mash the squash with a fork if some pieces are too large. Add cheese and heat another couple mins.
- Add bean filling to tortilla. Add any toppings you like. Wrap and serve. Leftover filling can be reheated the next day for lunch in a wrap or as a salad topper.
Tasty Spring Treats
- Peeling a Butternut Squash: Cut off the ends and microwave for 30 seconds to soften. Lay it down to peel. It's tough!
- Cook Squash in Microwave: Cut it in half. Place skin side down and microwave for 8 mins or until fork tender. Cool before cutting.
- Cook Brown Rice Ahead of Time: Add 1 ½ cups water to 1 cup rice. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and cook for 20 mins. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 - 20 mins. The longer it sits the softer it gets. Remove lid carefully. Watch out for steam. Let cool.
- Toppings for Burrito Mix: Salsa, cilantro, chopped avocado, sour cream or whatever you like!
More Small Steps
- Add veggies to your meals. Chop bits of carrots, broccoli or cauliflower into rice.
- For sandwiches use whole wheat wraps instead of white bread. Wraps are more fun to eat!
- Check the Labels: If you buy packaged food, avoid anything with fructose corn syrup. It's extra sugar from corn that you don't need.
- Make your own food with fresh ingredients as much as possible. That way you know what you are really eating!
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