July 27, 2011

Health Nut

My husband Justin and I have recently decided to make a change in our eating habits. We decided that now is better than ever to try to eat healthy and begin creating habits that would be beneficial in the long run. 

In other words: VEGETABLES!

We have a serious lack of vegetables in our diet. And fruit for that matter too.
So I Googled "Food Pyramid" and was taken to ChooseMyPlate.Gov. There are a ton of resources on this site including easy to understand printables!



So I spent a few hours on Monday figuring out what we both needed. I also had to figure out how on earth I was going to cook some of these vegetables that I avoided all my life. After a bit of research, I found that steaming is one of the healthiest ways to eat vegetables. Since we were diving into this new eating lifestyle, I decided that we would maximize the health benefits and get the most out of each new item. Steaming it is. 

Thanks to my trusty weekly meal planner, I was able to literally see what I have planned for the week and also see what I needed each day. From there, I made my list and headed out to the store!

For dinner on Monday night, I baked chicken, steamed vegetables, and warmed up a piece of whole grain bread. 


Look at that color! You can practically see the vitamins and minerals!


Here is my "steaming pot". It is simply a pot of shallow water, a colander and a lid. And it worked like a charm. 


One pot had red potatoes and the other had green beans, broccoli and carrots. The red potatoes took a full 30 mins while the other vegetable medley only took 5 minutes!  They were tender but not soft and mushy. I was very pleased.

I plated our food and brought it to the table. We had SmartBalance "butter" and salt & pepper for seasoning. Justin immediately crammed a piece of broccoli in his mouth to " get it over with" and sort of scrunched his face up like an 6 year old would while eating brocolli. I did the same. It's just not as good as, say, a brownie. 

So we put some "butter" and a little bit of salt on the veggies and they went down much easier. :)

I'll keep updating as we go through this process to share new recipes or ideas for healthy eating. If you have any tips or tricks PLEASE SHARE!

24 comments:

  1. ok, john was raised with a mom who is a nurse-turned-diabetic educator. yet, somehow whenever we go there, the food is amazing! and, john is a fruit and veggie nut.

    one of nancy's secrets is the i-can't-believe-its-not-butter spray for her steamed veggies. they use real butter on bread and rolls and pancakes though (which they rarely eat anyway.) one of our favorites of her's is smashed cooked carrots. you literally smash them like mashed potatoes but leave them a little chunky. they end up being so sweet! and, personally we've found that we like our veggies blanched as opposed to steamed. blanching is when you let the water come to a boil first and then throw in the veggies for 3 or 4 minutes. they turn such bright fun colors, are so flavorful, and stay a little crisp. we like them crisp (not soft). but its an art you have to master. it's hard to get them the right softness. green beans are really good blanched.

    also for veggies, you can use a little onion salt, garlic salt, or a seasoning salt of any kind to liven them up. oh, and try to buy fresh... i don't care what anyone says, frozen veggies are not as good no matter how you cook them. (unless they are in a casserole or a dish of some sort. i mean buy fresh when you're steaming them to stand alone)

    if you're looking for sweet... bananas are their sweetest when there's still a little green on the peel and peaches are sweetest when they're almost too ripe. those are two of my fav's. :) OH... and sweet potatoes are DELICIOUS (with butter and a little brown sugar) and they are one of the most nutrient rich veggies out there! plus since they're grown underground, you don't have to buy organic!

    i hope i'm being helpful. i hate most veggies, too, and the ones i like are the ones john doesn't so i've had to get creative.

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  2. Hi! I found your blog from pinterest and while I was looking at hair styles I just had to comment!

    When we get tired of steamed veggies I love to roast them! My faves are cauliflower, broccoli, and asparagus (not necessarily together!) - throw on a sprayed pan, drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with some seasonings and parmesean cheese. Roast for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and perfection! My husband can't get enough!

    As for previous poster - potatoes were actually on this year's dirty dozen list, so if you are concerned about organic produce, potatoes should be on your list!

    Good luck and love your blog!

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  3. Betsy: Thanks for the tips! I will definitely try that!

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  4. Olive oil is a nice alternative and much more heart healthy and good fat to eat on your veggies. I also find Cooking Light to be a great resource for easy and healthy recipes. Also, I blog and mostly about foods. Please check it out. thesalvagedkitchen.blogspot.com

    On a side note. I love your hair tips and am getting a hair cut on Friday and am inspired to take off a few inches so that I am more likely to style it regularly. :) Keep them coming!

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  5. Amy: Thanks for the tips! I'm heading to your site now to check it out! And glad you've been inspired! :)

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  6. I love your blog and have found so many great tips on it. I thought since you give such great advice I wanted to (hopefully) pass on some good information to you as well.

    I think it is great that you are eating more healthfully. I do have to say that I would opt for real butter though over I Can't Believe It's Not Butter or Smart Balance. If you compare the ingredients list, those two are highly processed wherever the only ingredient in butter is cream and maybe salt.

    Also it is important to always have fat with veggies because there are vitamins in veggies that need to have fat in order to be absorbed and fat will keep you fuller longer and be more satiated. Also fat is not as bad (even saturated) as the media portrays it to be.

    I could go on (because nutrition is my passion), but I won't. I don't mean to be a nutrition nazi by any means and I think it is important to research on your own as well to find what is best for you. For what it is worth I do have a Master's in nutrition and am a Certified Diabetes Educator, so I research a lot and try to keep up with the latest studies.

    Thanks again. Sorry for the ramble!

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  7. I love your blog!

    We are always trying to eat healthier and we always seem to fail {with two little ones, we resort to eating out too much}. I admire you & your husband {mine is also named Justin!}. But my favorite, easiest veggie is to line up asparagus on a baking sheet, spray it with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, and sprinkle it with either seasoned salt or cajun seasoning. Then roast for only 7-10 minutes at 425 degrees.

    Another fave is a Martha Stewart idea: cut green cabbage into wedges, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and roast at 450 for 25 minutes. It's DELICIOUS. We've done the sale with kale, also great.

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  8. HI Kate..I am SOO new to this blog thing, and bed rest is what has brought me to your blog... I am reading all of your posts, so you might see more than one comment from me. My husband and I are also a little health nuts, but not to any extremes. The book that gave me my AHA moment with nutrition was The Abs Diet. The name does not give this book any justice because it is PACKED with what is better choices and more importantly WHY are those better. It really was an eye opener as far as nutrition goes. We didn't buy the book to get "ABS", we bought the book to change our lifestyle. It has been about 4 years since I have first read the book and it is always my "go to" when I need to be reminded.

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  9. Roasted veggies (and fruits for that matter) are THE way to go for flavor. The steaming or boiling of veggies takes alot of nutrients out, whereas roasting retains the nutrients and adds flavor. Love your blog and just thought I would share the way started to cook veggies long ago so that my now 21 year old daughter would enjoy them. Besides dipping a veggie in a high calorie/fat dip, she's a roasted veggie lover. Thanks for sharing all of the tips that I've learned from you!

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  10. I feel like this is a silly question...but it looks like your shopping list is a part of your planner/calendar? if so, where did you get it...I'm looking for one just like it! thanks!!!
    btw, love your blog! have started to enjoy playing with my hair with your tutorials.

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  11. @Darlene: It's from Target. Called OrganizHer!

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  12. Hi Kate! Another way to cook veggies and keep them from becoming mushy is blanching. For example, asparagus or broccoli, boil them for a short time and then shock them in ice water to stop the cooking process. Preserves nutrients, color and crunchiness!

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  13. I find spinach to be an easy veggie to throw into a lot of dinners. I add it to strombolis, soups, and pastas!

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  14. New to your blog and stumbled across this post. Last year, I made it my mission to start eating VERY healthy (lots of fish and LOTS of veggies!) I always judge a good dish as ones I can pass off to my fiance (a meat and potatoes guy) as "normal." These two are his favorites...

    Browned Butter Asparagus - Boil asparagus for about 5 minutes then drain. Melt 1.5TBS butter in a pan for about three minutes - until brown. Add asparagus, salt and pepper to taste and 1tsp tarragon. Cook about 1 minute. Delicous!

    Roasted Veggies - Chop red bell pepper, green bell pepper, onion, summer squash, zuchinni and 8oz can of marinated artichoke hearts into bite-size pieces. Put on foil lined pan (sprayed with Pam). Season with salt, peper and dried rosemary. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, shake up veggies, bake another 5-15 minutes (watch out for burning!)

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  15. Love your blog! I have tried lots of your hair styles! I am a dietitian and just started a website kellird.com. It is full of healthy recipes I'm sure you will love. I always try to add vegetables to entrees to make them tastier! Try my Asian Noodle Pasta Salad, I know you will love it! http://kellird.com/asian-noodle-pasta-salad/

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  16. Hello! First if all thank you for making a tutorial for every type of hair style! You are inspiring to me! I finally know how to flat iron my hair like a pro. ;) onto the nutrition info. There is this great book out I highly recommend by Jules and Jill Elmore called The Family Chef. It deals with nutrition for life and has some of the tastiest recipes I have found. Also, there is a blog (www.summertomato.com) written by a very young neuroscientist and foodie named Darya Pino who weeds out the hype from the truth. She gives great recipes, has down to earth advice, and is pretty funny too. She really Has made me think about the things I put into my body. She believes in eating things as naturally as possible, and it will change your life and make it so much easier. Whole Foods, Trader Jo's and Costco are my life lines for anything and everything healthy and in bulk. Eating better doesn't have to be bland. Next time you make that dinner you listed up there try this instead, put a tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan cheese onto your broccoli instead of the fake butter. Much more tasty and better for you. I also scored a great idea from Pintrest called a menu board. I am a busy Mom who works so I have to know what's going on at all times. I make a like Saturday night for the week ahead and plan all of our meals out and write down all the ingredients I have to buy. This small amount of time I take planning makes it so much easier to cook during the week. Well, those are just a few ideas. Hope I helped! Remember, it's all a journey, you are learning! That is the important part! Good luck.

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  17. Mrs. Dash seasoning is GREAT on veggies! Tons of flavor without so much salt that's found in most "seasoning salts". We love it on our broccoli!

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  18. I know I'm late commenting on this post, but along with following your blog daily, I also follow http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/. It's geared towards cutting meal costs, but she is also pretty health-concious in her meals! She has a yummy looking recipe for roasted carrots with a balsamic honey glaze!

    Also, my favorite way to make green beans is to sautee them. I steam them first so start the cooking, and then toss them in a pan with thinly sliced onion, garlic, and a little bit of olive oil just to lightly coat them! The olive oil makes them a little less healthy, but it's a "good fat" and tastes yummy! (My mom also makes green beans in tomato sauce, which is a popular Greek side dish!) Roasting asparagus with drizzles of lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and cracked black pepper is delicious, too!

    I hope your veggie kick is working out well!
    N

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  19. Hi Kate,
    I definitely know what you mean when you say you struggle to eat veggies. To combat this, once a week I try to find a new vegetable I've never had before- one of my new favorites (packed with lots of nutrients!) is spaghetti squash. They take a little while to prepare, but are so worth the effort. Cut the squash in half, spoon out the insides, rub with a little olive oil (or use Pam), then bake at 350 for roughly 1 hour depending on the size of the squash. Then, with a fork, start shredding the "noodles". I use the squash in place of pasta. It tastes amazing with pesto, but I also love to add sauteed crimini mushrooms and shredded basil.

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  20. Oh why do people bother with "butter substitutes"? Just use real unsalted butter. Or make your own ( http://prudentbaby.com/2011/03/entertaining-food/make-your-own-butter-2/ ).

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  21. Jesse Mariel StaceyJune 18, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    Hi Kate,

    I also am a big fan of your blog! I am a mommy to a 2 year old and your blog as inspired me to pulll my hair out of a pony tail and actully style and change up my makeup. I have gotten so many compliments on my hair and makeup since mixing it up. I have been adding more veggies into my diet as well I love using the grill for veggies it adds so much flavor you can sweker veggies like brussel sprouts they turn out delicous. I also eat more beans because they are high in fiber and low in fat i usually add fresh herbs from my garden to make it light and fresh.

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  22. This post is from forever ago, but I can't just let you steam your vegetables forever. :) Roasting in the oven is so much yummier.. Take your veggie, just about any works. Broccoli and asparagus are two of my faves and of course potatoes since I'm from Idaho. Toss with some olive oil, kosher salt, freshly cracked pepper, and bake at 425 until softened but not too soft. ( depends on which veggie) . And they will crisp around the edges too. You add some freshly squeezed lemon juice and a sprinkle of Parmesan or other yummy toppings right at the end. There are tons of roasting recipes on Pinterest. Grilling is yummy too.

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  23. This post is from forever ago, but I can't just let you steam your vegetables forever. :) Roasting in the oven is so much yummier.. Take your veggie, just about any works. Broccoli and asparagus are two of my faves and of course potatoes since I'm from Idaho. Toss with some olive oil, kosher salt, freshly cracked pepper, and bake at 425 until softened but not too soft. ( depends on which veggie) . And they will crisp around the edges too. You add some freshly squeezed lemon juice and a sprinkle of Parmesan or other yummy toppings right at the end. There are tons of roasting recipes on Pinterest. Grilling is yummy too.

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  24. i love vegetables but I don't always like to figure out how to cook them so my husband and i bought a nutribullet and I LOVE it!! You can cram any veges in with any fruit and it all comes out yummy. But if I have to cook them roasting is the best way for sure.

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