Three Easy Food Swaps and Quit with the Resolutions!
Happy New Year!
Ah, it's that time of year, everything is new: promises, gym memberships, weird food in the house... What are these a result of? That's right my friend, The New Year Resolution. Let me ask, when was the last time you heard someone talk about their NYR outside of the first week of February? Why? Because the second week is Valentine's day (chocolate), then there is spring break, Easter, graduations, weddings, Independence Day, summer BBQs, Halloween, Holidays and here we are again. Resolving. Resolving what? Resolving to not indulge or over indulge? This year how about you resolve to not resolve. Quit that absolute that sets you up for failure and this year go on a hunt.
Yes, this year we hunt. Hunt for the foods you hear me talk about, the foods you read in magazines, the ones you see on TV. Sounds like a big job and you're dead-ass tired and a bit crabby from that diet you resolved to be on. It's OK, I'll get you started. I'll give you three foods that you probably already have in your house, offer up my top healthier alternative and link you to a few recipes to get you going.
ONLY DO ONE A MONTH.
Try only one new food a month, cook the recipes and then cook them again with your modifications. This will introduce you to a new food AND increase your confidence in the kitch. Oooohh...Sneaky I am.
Here we go:
You Have: lettuce / spinach
You Buy: kale
It's been the green darling for a couple of years now and it's going nowhere. Kale is tough, unpleasing to the palate and looks kind of weird, too. Have I sold you yet? The secret is to chop it up quite small (I usually julienne it: remove stem, layer 2-3 leaves and roll. Cut into thin slices, almost like a slaw) Now, take your favorite dressing and pour half of the amount you typically would on to the kale. Roll up your sleeves and massage the dressing into the leaves. Really work it into the leaves, get really rough with it. After a minute or so, the leaves will become bright green and will feel very soft. Keep kneading. Do this no less than three minutes, trust me.
Now that you have the basics down for the salad, mix it up and give this one a try. Why stop at a salad? You can put it in soups, in quesadillas (kids love this one!) and even fancy risottos. And, kale for dessert, what the...?
You Have: rice
You Buy: quinoa
Not that rice is particularly bad for you, just know that quinoa (pro: keen-WHAH), is significantly higher is nutrition benefits and it's a complete protein to boot. Technically a seed (check out the plant, so pretty!), it is just as versatile as rice and takes 1/3 of the amount of time to cook! Try out this Asian dish that can be served hot or cold or these cute little stuffed 'shrooms. These are great for a party or just a regular Tuesday night... And, take this to your next Fourth of July soiree.
You Have: black beans
You Buy: lentils
This little legume is largely under utilized in home kitchens, too bad because just like quinoa, it's packed with protein and fiber and if you are buying it dry, it's quicker to cook than its other bean counterparts. You'll find lentils in a can, steamed and vacuumed packed (produce aisle) or dry. If you are just starting out, I'd suggest canned or vacuumed just for ease of use. If you opt for the can, don't forget to rinse off the beans in a colander first as this will help with digestion and will get rid of some of the sodium as well.
Here's a simple soup that I know you'll find very easy to manipulate and make your own in no time. If you are looing for a little more umph!, chow down on this. Sloppy Joe anyone?? I have been making this very same recipe lately subbing out the meat substitute crumbles for lentils and it is delish! It's a very easy swap.
I hope these three swaps jump start not only a healthier you in 2015, but also aid in your curiosity, creativity and confidence in your own kitchen.
Cheers to YOU!