Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

TOOLS, IDEAS, AND INSPIRATION: Eat More Sanely in 2014

Friday, January 3rd, 2014


Just as surely as December brings candy and and egg nog, January brings weight loss plans.  If you’ve followed my previous years’ resolution blogs (see the Holidays archive), you know that I lean toward the one or two small changes that stick.  The overhaul-everything-January-1st approach doesn’t boast a good success rate, after all.  This year, I’ve noticed more of a trend in the popular press toward that favored idea:  focus on eating more vegetables, for instance, or improving your breakfast.  Here I round up some of the most helpful articles I’ve seen recently:

On eating more vegetables  Here’s a change that allows you add, rather than cut down.  Eating more vegetables can improve your health, whatever happens weight-wise, and tends to help a lot in the weight department, too.  These articles may ease your way to those additional servings daily:
Eat Two Pounds of Vegetables (Rule #1)
   *Healthy Habit #1:  Eat 3 More Veggie Servings Each Day
   *Sustainable Resolutions
     *Vegetables:  More and More and More!

And/or nuts!  Research backs what many nutritionists and diet coaches have long promoted—nuts may be high in calories, but a little goes a long way in terms of keeping you full and ultimately eating less.
*Are Nuts a Weight Loss Aid?

On learning portion control  We Americans tend toward very large food portions.  It takes effort, and time to get used to and satisfied with, more moderate ones.  These articles offer helpful strategies for getting that process going:
The Power of Portion Control
    *What’s Your Portion Personality (10/13 issue, Cooking Light, Nutrition Made Easy, by Phillip Rhodes) (more…)


One New Fall Habit: BYO Lunch

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Throughout the fall, I’ll be picking up on the dozen “fall change” targets listed in the recent Eat Sanely newsletter (see just below).  The first idea?  Bringing your own lunch to work.  If you’re not in the habit of doing so, prepare for calorie reduction, better nutrition, and possibly even less grazing later on.  All from this one habit shift.

People who successfully make this change report things like:  “I don’t go to the food court every day anymore”, “I end up with more energy and don’t get as hungry in the afternoon”, “It’s easier to eat more vegetables”, “It keeps me out of the conference room, where the big spread always tempts me”.

What to bring?  Coincidentally, the New York Times “Flexitarian” columnist, Mark Bittman, recently published “Thinking Inside the Bag” on this very topic.  His ideas emphasize the delicious and satisfying.  They include nice, fresh ingredients.  You can do even less, though, in the way of prep.   Consider these routine alterations: (more…)


Cooking to Eat More Sanely

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

I offer here a revision of the 2011 post “Cooking to Eat More Sanely”, with an updated resource list. Preparing our own food helps weight and sane eating in countless ways that are worth revisiting….

It would certainly be great to adopt all those habits that lead to better weight loss and health. But here’s one to tackle that you might underestimate in your search for diet solutions. It’s simple: Cook more often.

Cooking can check weight and improve health even if you’re not an expert chef. When we cook at home, we avoid the added salt, sugar, and fats in take-out, fast-food, or restaurant fare. We can control portions better. We can boost the vegetables, shrink the starches, make more of those foods we don’t gorge on. We can make extras for dinner to bring for lunch and thereby avoid the cafeteria. We can get used to, and develop preferences for, real fresh foods that are good for us and our waistlines.

Two myths can stand in the way of our cooking more: (more…)


More on Feeding Kids

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

From time to time Eat Sanely highlights the ways that home cooking helps our health, our weight, our “eating sanity” overall.   The following link came to my attention recently:  “30 of the Best Blogs with Healthy Breakfast Recipes for the Whole Family“.   Starting off the day well can set the tone for better eating throughout the day.  And no matter how the day goes, the good start is never truly in vain.   I hope you find some inspiration and ideas!


Why You Should Cook More to Weigh Less

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Look for Dr. Katz’ articles, and more on staying fit, at   Check out the front page, guest posts, and weight loss entries.


VEGETABLES: More and More and More!

Friday, December 4th, 2009

The number keeps rising! I remember 4-5 a day, then 5-8, and now it’s 11. That’s the currently recommended number of daily fruit and vegetable servings.

This new recommendation comes from the most recent OmniHealth study, which follows various diets (higher-protein, higher-carb, higher-healthy fat) for blood pressure and cholesterol improvements. (For a full description, see Nutrition Action, October, 2009,

Even if you’re not hypertensive or pre-hypertensive, you’ll keep hearing “more vegetables” as the way to better health and weight. How do you get even 8? Well, keep in mind that a “serving” is usually only ½ cup. The Nutrition Action article suggests a 4-cup salad for lunch and a 4-cup stir-fry for dinner as one possibility. It also raises the idea of “vegetables as the new main dish.” I like this idea, though I realize that for many, it’s a big jump. Families with kids may find this particularly hard.

If you do think of “vegetables as the main dish”, recipes like ratatouille, curries, stir-fries, soups and stews work well. So do simple “gratins”—casseroles with vegetables topped with cheese and baked. For really fast meals, try steamed vegetables topped with cheese shreds or sesame seeds as protein. Or, put them in tortillas with beans and salsa. Mark Bittman, a New York Times food columnist, wrote about making pasta with sauces as the main attraction—in other words, a hearty, stew-like sauce with just a little pasta beneath. These can work nicely as vegetables-as-entrée vehicles. Look for his recipes in

Another potential solution to the “How can I get 11?” question: How about an added vegetable serving at each meal? That’s three extras right there. Add a fruit snack or two, and you’re up to five additional. In the summer, at least here in the Northeast, this is easy. Nice produce, gardens, and farmers markets supply us cheaply and well. As the weather gets colder, there’s apples and squashes and potatoes. Winter presents more of a challenge….but the important thing is to start where you can, and find ways to enjoy eating and cooking more veggies. Making some move in this direction makes sense for the new year ahead.