Dec 19, 2008

Deceptively Simple

I'm not a big fan of sneaking small amounts of healthy foods into otherwise not-so-healthy foods as a way to feel good about eating a brownie or a pancake. Maybe it is because I eat the healthy foods on their own enough to be able to enjoy a nice thick piece of tiramisu for what it is without too many feelings of guilt. (That kicks in about the time I'm contemplating if anyone will notice my shaving a small amount off the side of each of the remaining slices.)

However, there are some simple additions that can be made to foods to help them taste better and to bring more nutrition to your plate. If you are wondering if you're getting all the nutrition you need, try some of these ideas. Then enjoy that piece of dessert without wondering if someone snuck spinach into it.

If you're having cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, or waffles for breakfast, add fruit or nuts. Berries are particularly healthy, give you antioxidants (not just good for cleaning the laundry) and have some natural antibiotic benefits. Banana nut oatmeal or additional sliced almonds add a lot more than just taste.

Add peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and garlic to your ommelette. You wouldn't believe all of the immune-boosting nutrition these tasty foods add. If you're like me and have a slight aversion to mushrooms, dice them finely with a food chopper and you'll probably find them to be quite good in the mix.

If you usually have toast, try adding a nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, etc) and some local honey. The honey will help with any seasonal allergies you have since it desensitizes your system to the local pollens while the nuts will add protein and other good stuff.

You can buy pre-packaged baby spinach just about anywhere. It tastes like salad greens and is great on sandwiches. If you insist on lettuce, get the protein-rich romaine or another dark, leafy green. The lighter colored head lettuce has practically no nutritive value.

Don't forget to add some cold fruits and veggies. They'll help fill you up and satisfy the desire to crunch.

If you make enough dinner the night before, you can be the envy of the office or neighborhood by having a delicious, nutritious hot meal for lunch every day.

Add in more side dishes. If you have a little of all of them, it will give you more of the nutrition and you'll be too full to load up on the fat- and calorie-dense main dish. Then you'll have enough for lunch the next day!

Don't be afraid to let the family snack while you are making dinner. Put a veggie tray out and offer it to anyone who is looking for food (including yourself). If they fill up on carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, tomatoes and other good foods, it doesn't really matter that they eat a smaller portion of your cheese enchiladas, does it?


Add some frozen strawberries and pecans to the top of your small bowl of ice cream. Make fruit sorbets or smoothies.

Make fruit-based side dishes and instead of serving them with dinner, serve them as dessert. And don't underestimate the deliciousness of some fresh fruit next to some spiced freshly whipped cream (which you can make vegetarian or vegan).

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