Clean Your Fridge, Keep Your New Year’s Resolution
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This week I spent some time cleaning out the refrigerator, discarding all of those Holiday leftovers, and while I was at it, I packaged up all of the sweet treats that were still in containers around the kitchen and gave them to friends to enjoy! Now it is time to restock the refrigerator and kitchen with some healthy essentials for starting the New Year!!
Eating healthy has never been more important that it is right now, healthy eating improves your immune system and aids your body in the fight against flues, colds and other viruses. Eating healthy is much easier when you are prepared, just the same as eating unhealthy foods when they are available. There are some great “go to” foods you should always have on hand. Get out your grocery lists!
Whether it’s brown rice, pasta or oatmeal, whole grains are great because they are high in fiber. Food’s high in fiber make you feel fuller that other more processed foods. They also contain nutrition friendly elements like magnesium and zinc.
Modified from the blog “Wholly-Plants”, and can be used in various recipes throughout the week.
½ cup brown rice
½ cup quinoa
½ cup hulled barley
½ cup bucked wheat
½ cup lentils
5 cups water
Rinse the grains and lentils with water and drain.
Place water in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil, add the grains and lentils, and return to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Fluff the grain with a fork, replace lid, remove from the heat, and let sit for about 15 minutes.
Separate into single serving containers or all in one container. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Add to almost any recipe throughout the week.
** If you cannot find one or more of these items, you can replace with the same amount of one of the ingredients you can find.
Lean Proteins, Tuna, Salmon or Chicken
These lean protein choices are an easy addition to many meals, from salads to pasta dishes and more. Tuna and salmon also provide omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial to brain and heart health. Keep individual servings of each in your freezer.
Healthy Baked Salmon
4 salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each (fresh or frozen)
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian Herb seasoning mix, or a blackened seasoning mix
1 medium lemon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a large baking pan. Arrange salmon filets on the baking sheet and season generously with salt and pepper.
Stir together olive oil, garlic, herbs or seasoning, and juice of 1 lemon. Spoon over salmon fillets being sure to rub all over the tops and sides of the salmon so there are no dry spots. Thinly slice the remaining ½ of lemon on top of each of salmon with a slice of lemon.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until salmon is opaque and flaky when pulled apart with a fork. You can broil the last 1-2 minutes if desired.
Garnish with fresh thyme or parsley if desired and serve.
Canned or Frozen Vegetables or Fruits
Most vegetables and fruits are packaged and processed as soon as they are harvested, therefore have maintained most of their nutritional value. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always preferred but just do not have the same lasting ability. Purchase no salt added if possible and if not be sure to rinse and drain vegetables before using. Remember 5-9 serving of fruits and vegetable is optimal.
Quick and Easy Vegetable Soup
16 ounces chopped frozen peppers
16 ounces frozen root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, or carrots
16 ounce bag frozen assorted vegetables
2 cups frozen green beans, chopped
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tbs. dried basil
1 tbs, Italian seasoning
In a large soup pot, add the frozen vegetables and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining ingredients and cover. Cook for an additional 20 minutes over medium heat.
**I would not hesitate to cook this on low in a slow cooker.
Protein packed eggs are on of Mother Nature’s most versatile low-calorie foods. One large egg contains approximately 75 calories, depending on preparation. Keep a dozen in your fridge and pull out eggs for any easy answer to suppertime. Egg salad is one of my favorites, there are many ways to prepare the salad, here is a low calorie option not using traditional mayonnaise.
3 extra-large eggs
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon of whole-grain or Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons slivered almonds, optional
Pinch of fresh ground pepper
Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover the pot and let it sit on the hot burner for 8 minutes.
Remove from the stove, drain water and run cold water over the eggs. Peel the eggs and chop.
Add the parsley, celery, mustard, almonds (if using), and pepper, and mix. Eat as is or serve with vegetables or whole grain bread, Serves 1.
Greek yogurt is fairly new on the scene, but is becoming easier and easier to find in a wide variety of flavors. Greek yogurt packs more than twice the hunger-fighting protein per ounce than traditional yogurt. It is a tart and creamy yogurt and can be used in a variety of recipes. I mix it with spices for a baked potato topping, and with dip mixes to cut calories and fat.
Blue Cheese Yogurt Dipping Sauce
(Can be used for chicken, celery or pita chip dipping)
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons finely grated red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine the yogurt, blue cheese, red onion, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.