Before we can get to cooking, lets start with giving our kitchens a facelift. The time has come to get rid of all the unhealthy, preserved, nutrient deprived food from inside your freezer, fridge and pantry- this includes clearing out all those special hiding spots with your late night snacks. Clearing out your kitchen of all the bad stuff can mean a lot more then just removing the junk. You are creating a new start for yourself when it comes to how you use your food. Providing yourself with alternative solutions for the times that you are so comfortable with falling back on easy, unhealthy food choices is one of the most important elements in reaching your health goals. Lets create a new vibe for your kitchen- for the food you make everyday and the food you run to for a quick fix.
1. A good rule of thumb when it comes to products like cereal, snacks, quick meals and other basics: Take a look at the ingredients. Single out anything that is sugar or a version of sugar (high fructose corn syrup, etc). The order in which the ingredients are listed on the box is directly related to the quantity that is in the product. So- the first ingredient has the highest quantity. A good rule a thumb- do not let sugar, or any form thereof be any MORE than the 3rd ingredient. This alone will rule out some of the WORST things in your pantry.
2. Go fresh. With the exception of canned beans and tomatoes, get rid of everything that should be growing in the dirt but has found its way into cans, out of your pantry. This means all that canned fruit, fruit cocktails, compotes and sugar packed jams.
3. Switch your sweeteners. Kiss your sugar, Sweet ‘n Low’s and Splendas good bye. Replace those cute little packets of sucralose with stevia extract, a natural sugar alcohol that’s found in plants. If you like using honey to sweeten your tea or protein shakes in the morning, switch it over to agave necter. Agave necter is half the calories of sugar and with its lower glycemic index, it promotes a slower absorption of the sugar in it. Hence making agave nectar a great sweetener for diabetics, but also a definite smart choice for any other health conscious individual.
4. Cut the fat. Get rid of shortenings, vegetable oils and lards. You don’t need these things to give your food a moist texture and taste good. Hang onto your olive oil and 0 calorie non stick cooking spray as you will find at least one in most of the recipes I share with you.
5. Segregate. When it comes to vegetables, not everyone gets along. Separate everything from potatoes. Potatoes give off a lot of the moisture thats different fruits and veggies are hungry for (especially ones in the onion family), causing them to spoil quicker. Keep bananas away from the rest of your produce, as the hormones they spit out as they ripen cause other fruits to oxidize faster. By taking the time to separate your produce, and learning what foods do not play well with others, you are maximizing your dollar by ensuring that the foods you buy stay fresher, longer.
When it comes to replacing what you’ve removed, try not to get overwhelmed. To start, make the switches that I have suggested: your sweeteners, your cooking fats. When you get to the store, go by the rule of sugar as the 3rd ingredient. You’ll find it easy, and probably realize that there are some pretty healthy alternatives for what you have been eating. Stick to whole foods: whole grains, fresh veggies. Stay away from anything overly processed or processed at all if possible. And remember, this isn’t an overnight transformation. As you follow my recipes, your collection of better products will start to build, and your understanding of what’s worth eating will soon become second nature.
With that, give this morning dish a shot. It’s great for weight loss and can be kept in the fridge for a few days and taste just as great.
1 1/2 Cups Rolled oats
2 Cups Rice Dream, Vanilla Flavor
2 Tablespoon Agave nectar
1/4 Cup Chopped apples, red
1/4 Cup Chopped apples, green
1/4 Cup Dry roasted almonds, unsalted, chopped or sliced
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
Rice Dream as needed
Instructions: Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate overnight. Check 1 hour after mixing, checking moisture content. Extra Rice dream may be needed depending on desired consistency.