Eating Healthier Meals Has Never Been Easier… Or More Important

Small Changes Can Lead to Big Health Benefits

Roasted Potatoes and Carrots

Roasted Carrots, Red Potatoes, and Sweet Potatoes

I was in a heart care center recently and, even though I wasn’t the patient, I got a real wake up call. In fact, every member of my family got a wake up call.  We were at the heart care center for a family member who was having a procedure done (I’m guessing his beautiful blue eyes got a wake up call, too).  My daughters and I kept looking around the waiting room.  We were blown away by the number of young people (in their 40’s and 50’s) who were patients.  I kept seeing people who I automatically assumed were with a parent or even grandparent, only to look down and see a hospital bracelet on their arm.

I have to tell you, it was alarming!

The American diet – fast food, in particular – isn’t just killing us, it’s roughing us up before it finishes us off.  It’s robbing people of the quality of life they deserve and desire. Granted, when it comes to most health issues, a lot of things are hereditary. But the best shot we have against diseases (hereditary or not) is good old fashioned common sense. As a whole, we just all have to start eating healthier.

Heart disease and high blood pressure runs in my family as well as in my husband’s (which is why I was all the more relieved for my daughters to experience the wake up call as well).  Add the fact that diabetes and a few other undesirables run through our family trees, and you’ll understand why I harp on healthy food so much.

One of the changes I’ve recently made is one that you may or may not feel comfortable doing, yourself.   One”meatless” day a week has been a tradition in our home for a long time now.  Thanks to a lot of great products out there (Morningstar Farms, Boca…) and a personal passion for vegetables, this one day a week often produced the best meals of the week.  Since the one day a week was going so well, I added two more meatless days.

How’s it going?  No one but me seems to have noticed!

Yes, it can be done. No, it’s not overly expensive. Yes, it is as filling. No, you won’t miss the meat.

Roasted Asparagus, Cauliflower, and Corn

Roasted Asparagus, Cauliflower, and Corn on the Cob

A few other healthy changes I’ve made:

  • I’ve  started using healthier choices for butter on and in most dishes and recipes. If you read the labels, you’ll be pretty shocked.
  • I roast vegetables instead of frying them.  Roasted potatoes (red, gold, or sweet potatoes), corn on the cob, cauliflower, asparagus, carrots, and tomatoes are SO delicious you’ll find yourself craving them. Something about the roasting process even takes away the need (or desire) for butter.  Seriously. I had the butter out, ready to use on roasted corn, but after one bite, I thought, “I’m not going to mess this up with butter!” The amazing, fresh, delicious flavor is really something else.
  • When I crave a burger, I make it a Boca burger or Morningstar Farms burger.  Spray Olive Oil in a skillet, fry the Boca buger, add a little garlic salt and pepper for seasoning – then assemble your burger. It fixes the craving and you don’t miss the meat whatsoever.
  • I’ve started keeping healthier, smarter snacks on hand. Veggies with hummus, baked chips (sparingly), fruit, yogurt, and nuts are just as delicious and pack an added nutritional punch.
  • I’ve always been a HUGE fan of cooking magazines and regularly buy Taste of Home, Food Network Magazine, and Rachael Ray’s. I’ve also started grabbing a few “healthy” cooking magazines, such as Cooking Light each month.  The recipes, tips, and ideas are priceless.
  • I browse through the Health Food sections in my favorite stores and grab something new each trip.  I’ve found a few wonderful (and I mean wonderful!) foods I’ll be reviewing over the coming days.  I’m really excited about the different health foods I’ve fallen in love with and look forward to telling you all about them.

If you look at eating healthier – and feeding your family healthier meals – as a challenge, you’ll rise to the occasion. Get creative and have fun with it.  Whether it’s replacing meat with Boca Crumbles in tacos, chili (pictured below), or spaghetti or finding just how many different places you can sneak fruit into meals – it’s more than just doable, it’s deliciously doable.

 Boca Burger Crumbles Chilli

 Chili with Boca Crumbles – delicious and you’ll never miss the meat!

One of the coolest things about eating healthier foods is a really unexpected one: The healthier your diet, the healthier your cravings. Seriously, if you stick with making healthy food choices, you’ll find your cravings switch gears. Whereas I once got the occasional craving for a fast food cheeseburger (intense cravings, at that!) – I find that one of my most frequent cravings these days is for a Veggie Sub from Subway or a Boca Burger (or Morningstar Farms) dressed to the nines with tomatoes, sweet onion, pickles, and mustard.

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