TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH

“A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others.  Be a carrier!”  Tom Stoppard

When asked who my “Health Hero” is and why, I immediately thought of my father.  Not only was he a World War II hero, he made sure to bring our family up to be active.

papa

We would go to the beach and swim and build sand castles and he would organize a baseball game if we started lazing around too much.  We played tennis, badminton and horse shoes and always took walks.  The entire family raked leaves and shoveled snow together.  We washed the car and we all had household chores.

Stuart McIntosh, former Olympian said, “When children are exposed to a routine that works, they learn it, understand it, and when done regularly it is locked into their memory.”  It sure worked for our family!

Now it is up to me to continue to make healthy lifestyle choices.

My husband and I really work as a team.  When his cholesterol level inched up to 199, my training as a Registered Dietitian kicked in and we were able to lower that level by 20 points over the last year.  Difficult for a real meat and potatoes man!  We ate more fish (grilled and cooked with a variety of spices), less chuck roast (20gm fat/serving) changed to tender chuck (3gm fat/serving), more beans and lentils added to ground beef dishes and using 96% lean beef (like meatballs, meatloaf, tacos, chili).  Haven’t seen a hotdog bologna, salami, bacon or sausage – but like turkey sausage!  Milk products are all low fat and fresh fruits and vegetables are always “half the plate”!  Whole grains are staples.  A stick of butter lasts months.  I don’t use artificial or “lite” products but use just a little of the real thing.  Most important we EXERCISE DAILY!

We just went through a winter of extreme cold, life threatening wind chills and two blizzards in Buffalo, New York.  But we dressed for the weather and enjoyed cross county skiing and walks/snow shoeing along the frozen Lake Erie shoreline at sunset not to mention we did loads of shoveling.  My husband also likes to kite ski.  We even have cleats for our boots for the typical ice storm.  The treadmill and exercise bike are a last resort to enjoying the great outdoors.

Thinking outside the box and planning this unique garden for Spring:

IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE A PLAN FOR HEALTHY EATING!  You need only a very small plot of land to grow enough vegetables and herbs to feed a family.  Join me in this experiment.  Take a 2 cubic feet of potting soil (like Miracle Grow), rumple it around quite a bit to loose the soil, poke quite a few holes in the back side for drainage, then lay the bag on a smooth surface that will allow drainage and not get too hot.  Cut out the top leaving about a 4 or 5 inch border all around.  Lightly rake through the soil to even it out and loosen it even more, then carefully start planting your seeds.  Spray mist the seeds and plantlings when first watering until they are established, then you can water more vigorously.  Keep soil moist, but not sopping wet.  Come Summer, we plan to have loads of fresh vegetables for grilling and salads!

Summer plans also include tennis, biking, swimming, kayaking, windsurfing and paddle boarding.

REMEMBER, YOU DON’T HAVE TO DIET IF YOU LIVE IT!

THANKS FOR THE CHALLENGE: HEALTHY CAMPAIGN

LOADS OF NUTRITION TIPS, FITNESS ROUTINES AND RECIPES AT : FABULOUS FIT FOOD

CRISPY FISH

Crispy Fish and French Fries (2)
Pinch of Red Pepper flakes
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 c flour
1 egg (or egg white to reduce fat and cholesterol)
1 c Cornflakes, crushed
4 tilapia filets (can use haddock or other white fish)

Sprinkle fish with spices.  Place flour in a shallow dish.  Whisk egg with 1 Tbsp water in a medium bowl.  Crush Cornflakes and place in another shallow dish.  Dredge fish in flour and shake off excess.  Dip fish in egg then dredge in Cornflakes coating completely.  Bake at 400 degrees 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Crispy Fish and French Fries (3) Crispy Fish and French Fries (2)

I usually bake my own fresh fries with sweet potatoes to keep fat low and avoid gluten, but these are store bought.  I used small plates (8″ round) so the meal looks large but this is a good trick to fool your mind if you are trying to cut calories and lose weight.  And I round out the meal with a big fresh romaine salad with loads of veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, red/yellow/orange mini sweet peppers/cucumber and grape tomatoes)  and a lite balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  ENJOY!

WHAT ABOUT A GLUTEN FREE VERSION?

I was trying to see how I could make this recipe gluten free.  I know you can purchase gluten free flour in the grocery store readily these days however, even though corn by itself contains no gluten, most brands of corn flakes are not safe for those following the gluten-free diet. That’s because the cereals contain ingredients — usually barley malt sweetener — that contain gluten. Specifically, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal which was the brand I used and is a perennial favorite, includes “malt flavoring” as its third ingredient. Sadly for those who enjoy that cereal, malt flavoring does contain gluten.

If you’re looking for a gluten-free corn flakes option in a mainstream cereal brand that you can find in most grocery stores, you’ll have trouble finding what you want. However, you can find one gluten-free cereal that could be used as a substitute:  General Mills’ Corn Chex. Almost all General Mills’ Chex cereals — including Corn, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Honey Nut and Rice Chex — are gluten-free.

You may have difficulty finding these two gluten-free cornflake options:  Nature’s Path Foods, a company that specializes in organic and gluten-free products, offers gluten-free, organic, fruit juice-sweetened Corn Flakes. You may find this cereal slightly less sweet, with a somewhat different texture than the corn flakes you’re accustomed to eating, but many people like the flavor even better than they like the more “traditional” corn flakes cereals.  Attune Foods Inc., makers of Uncle Sam and Erewhon cereals, also manufacturers Erewhon gluten-free corn flakes. Erewhon’s corn flakes are not sweetened at all; the only ingredients include organic milled corn and sea salt.

EAT SEAFOOD TWICE A WEEK

Twice a week, make seafood—fish and shellfish—the main protein food on your plate.
Seafood contains a range of nutrients, including healthy omega-3 fats. According to the
2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, eating about 8 ounces per week (less for young children) of a variety of seafood can help prevent heart disease

10 TIPS TO EAT MORE SEAFOOD

Taco

1.get creative with seafood
Think beyond the fish fillet. Try salmon patties, a shrimp
stir-fry, grilled fish tacos, or clams with whole-wheat
pasta. Add variety by trying a new fish such as grilled Atlantic
or Pacific mackerel, herring on a
salad, or oven-baked pollock.

2.put it on a salad or in a sandwich
Top a salad with grilled scallops, shrimp, or crab in place
of steak or chicken. Use canned tuna or salmon for sandwiches
in place of deli meats, which are often higher in sodium.

Bowl of Japanese Delicacies

3.shop smart
Eating more seafood does not have to be expensive.
Whiting, tilapia, suai, sardines, canned tuna, and some
frozen seafood are usually lower cost options. Check the local
newspaper, online, and at the store for sales, coupons, and
specials to help save money on seafood.

4.grow up healthy with seafood
Omega-3 fats from seafood can help improve nervous
system development in infants and children. Serve
seafood to children twice a week in portions appropriate for
their age and appetite. A variety of seafood lower in mercury
should also be part of a healthy diet for women who are
pregnant or breastfeeding.

5.know your seafood portions
To get 8 ounces of seafood a week, use these
as guides: A drained can of tuna is about 3 to
4 ounces, a salmon steak ranges from 4 to 6 ounces, and
1 small trout is about 3 ounces.

6. eat a variety of seafood
Include some that are higher in omega-3s and lower
in mercury, such as salmon, trout, oysters, Atlantic
and Pacific mackerel, herring, and sardines.

grilled fish

7.keep it lean and flavorful
Try grilling, broiling, roasting, or
baking—they don’t add extra fat.
Avoid breading or frying seafood and
creamy sauces, which add calories and fat. Using spices
or herbs, such as dill, chili powder, paprika, or cumin, and
lemon or lime juice, can add flavor without adding salt.

8.shellfish counts too!
Oysters, mussels, clams, and calamari (squid) all
supply healthy omega-3s. Try mussels marinara,
oyster stew, steamed clams, or pasta with calamari.

salmon

9.keep seafood on hand
Canned seafood, such as canned salmon, tuna, or
sardines, is quick and easy to use. Canned white tuna is
higher in omega-3s, but canned “light” tuna
is lower in mercury.

10.cook it safely
Check oysters, mussels, and clams before cooking.
If shells don’t clamp shut when you tap them, throw
them away. After cooking, also toss any that didn’t open.
This means that they may not be safe to eat. Cook shrimp,
lobster, and scallops until they are opaque (milky white).
Cook fish to 145°F, until it flakes with a fork.

Adapted from USDA 10 tips series.