Think outside the box this New Year when it comes to your healthy eating goals. Opt to try a new meal every week. Or start off with one every other week. There are so many healthy choices to choose from and it beats having to settle for a salad as all-time, go-to option. I’m sure many of you can relate to that. Then there is the thought that eating healthy means that food will lack any flavor. Tell the family that something is “healthy” and before you can blink an eye, they have either vanished or starting complaining before you even finished telling them what the food is. Rest assured, the lack of flavor is far from lacking when it comes to healthy eating. Eating healthy means providing your body with more whole foods. These are foods with little to no processing, grown naturally, and contains no artificial ingredients. As opposed to eating processed or packaged foods. These items can easily been identified by just taking a look at the ingredient list, you are sure to see an extensive amount of names that you would have to research to understand. Eating foods more close to their whole forms provide you with the essential nutrients that you need. It also means that you have more control over what you eat, such as sodium and fat, when you prepare it yourself. Feeding yourself with the whole foods fuels your body to perform for your fitness needs.
Herbed-Cauliflower Crust Pizza, Fresh Basil, and Tomatoes (Photo credit by Angela Ledyard)
One of my favorite dishes to make is pizza! Yes, I said pizza. Has it ever crossed your mind that pizza can be healthy for you? How many times have you indulged on a slice (or two )of pizza and were left to feel guilty afterwards? Deep down inside you knew, that it may not have been the best choice to eat during your new fitness endeavors? Or, it could have been one of those moments when you decided to order one because your body was just plain starving. Keep in mind, it is really difficult to think “healthy” when your body is starving for food. One of my go to pizzas is cauliflower pizza. Don’t let your mind shut down and label it “nasty.” Believe me, it was very far from lacking in any flavors. Matter of fact, the flavors were not only great, but satisfying and it provides the body with many health benefits. According to WebMD.com, cauliflower offers a healthy dose of potassium, fiber, and folic acid and is high in the antioxidant vitamin C. Research states that tomato-based products may help reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer. Studies have shown that tomatoes contain all three high-powered antioxidants: beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, and are rich in potassium. Basil is rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium and contains high quantities of (E)-beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which may be useful in treating arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases, according to research conducted at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, as stated on WebMD.com. All these things matter when you are on the path to getting healthy and fit. It’s best to feed yourself whole foods that will provide your body with what it needs to sustain health and longevity.
When you opt to have more control over what you eat, there are so many easy and simple ways to assist you with your quest. Sticking with our pizza, there are whole wheat crusts available in mostly every local store or simply make your own. Yes, not all crusts involve kneading dough. Our pizza crust shown here was made from Green Giant’s Fresh Cauliflower Crumbles. The cauliflower was already cut and the cleaned for you. Just place it in the microwave to steam. We added fresh basil and seasonings to the cauliflower then formed the crust and placed it in the oven. Once lightly browned, remove and add your toppings and place back into the oven to melt the cheese. Preparing let’s you gauge the flavors specifically to your liking. You can also make enough for one serving or to have for upcoming lunches or before/after meal workouts. If you are paying close attention to your salt intake, preparing your own foods will really help to reduce your sodium intake. Packaged foods contain higher sodium levels to sustain their shelf life. You will not have to be so concerned with that when it is your own creation.
Setting on the course to improve your health, takes a little more than just hitting the gym or attending a local group fitness class. It’s a combination of eating the right foods – whole foods – and having a well planned exercise routine. Food is really the major contributor to you achieving success in your fitness goals. You want be sure that your eating efforts are working for you and not against you. Who wants to spend valuable time in the gym just to blow all the efforts eating something that will not only put back what you may be trying to lose, and not fueling your body with the health essentials to add to your health. When you take the time to plan to eat, it is well worth your efforts for the new year.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional health and fitness tips on my blog, www.reroutingyourself.blogspot.com also conduct healthy cooking classes such as A Taste of African Heritage, contact me for a schedule of our next 6 class series. Or, join me at the Collinwood Recreation Center on Mondays (6-7p) for Zumba, and Yoga for All Levels on Tuesdays (6-7p) and Thursdays (6:30-7:30p).