Have you ever wanted to make a really colorful, nourishing recipe you found on Pinterest for you and your significant other, and then as soon as you put it on the table your spouse has a hard time choking it down? Yeah, I have been there, too. My husband and I have been married for about 2.5 years now, and we share similar health promoting behaviors, but he definitely turns his nose up to quinoa, tofu, chickpeas, avocado, and beets.
Today I am going to share some ideas on how to get your spouse involved in developing health promoting goals with you.
Weeks get busy really fast, but if you take some time during your weekend to go grocery shopping together, it can really make a difference in what healthful meals you can both agree on. Try to make a list beforehand and while you are shopping together, ask for your significant others opinion on produce, whole grains, and proteins. Don’t buy a bag of avocados if your spouse hates them! Lesson learned: it is hard to eat a whole bag of avocados by yourself before they go rot.
Purchase Plants They Like
This is one thing I do all year round! My husband is very selective when it comes to fruit and literally will not eat it unless I sit it in front of him. Fruit is one thing I like to have on hand for snacks for a mid-day energy boost. The fiber keeps me full & regular, making my body physically feel its best. For instance, Bobby likes strawberries, watermelon, and bananas. Even if they are not in season, I still buy them so he has access to fibrous foods he actually enjoys.
Luckily, it is summer time so I can get his favorite (watermelon) frequently!
What a fun way to spend date night! It is known that if a person helps in the cooking process of a meal that they will be more likely to enjoy it. Experiment with flavors, food, and spend some quality time together in the kitchen. Put your spouse to use in washing and chopping up fresh veggies for a stir fry, or cracking eggs for a breakfast veggie omelet. Getting involved in the cooking process can also help you make sure you are cooking things you both can enjoy – a foundational part of mindful & intuitive eating!
Incorporate Plants into Your Dishes
This is something we do a lot in my kitchen because sometimes you are just not in the mood for plain veggies on the side. There are many different opportunities to add plants to your meals. For example, when we make rice, I add 1 cup of riced cauliflower to 1 cup of cooked rice providing extra fiber and nutrients to the dish–and Bobby loves it! Let’s say your spouse only likes iceberg lettuce in salads. One option is to mix in some freshly chopped spinach to the iceberg to give more texture, flavor and micro-nutrients to the salad.
Presentation is Key
It is so easy to get in the habit of using paper plates-it is a faster cleanup! However, food looks way better on a pretty plate! Once the food is cooked, plate the entree and sides on your fine china and garnish with your favorite herb. It will be appealing to the eye and increase meal satisfaction. To add some more pizzazz during your mealtime, light a candle and dim the lights. The ambiance with make your at-home dining experience more enjoyable.
You know that one couple in the gym that are so stinking cute that it is almost nauseating? THAT COULD BE YOU! Working out together in the gym, at the park, or even in the home can help you both physically feel your best. Do something you both can enjoy. Bobby and I go biking, hiking, and play tennis together a few times per week. Think about it: you are bonded by law to have a lifelong accountability partner. Embrace that bondage by getting sweaty together.
Challenge for the week: Choose at least one of these tips with your spouse to help one another live your best life.
It is officially summer, if you couldn’t tell by the sweltering heat and humidity (if you are on the east coast), which means our gardens will be spitting out fresh produce for us once again. I have to be honest, I get excited about summer produce initially, but by the end of the season, I am sick of corn and zucchini! Have no fear! I have chosen 5 popular summer crops to research the history, nutrition, and cooking ideas to beat the boredom this season.
Fun fact: Did you know that all squash in general are native crops of North America? The Wampanoag Indians cultivated winter and summer varieties in the early stages of America. Summer squash such as yellow squash and zucchini are relatives of winter squash such as butternut, acorn, and pumpkin.
Nutritionally, summer squash are rich in Vitamin C, an antioxidant which aids in collagen production, wound healing and iron absorption. In just one ½ cup serving, squash contains 15% of the daily recommendation for vitamin C. In addition to that, summer squash contains 1 gram of fiber per ½ cup serving. Fiber aids in digestion and helps you have a healthy colon.
Make no mistake, I love some squash, but I get tired of eating it sautéed for 2 months straight. You can grate squash and add to your baked goods or salads for some extra nutrition and flavor. Or, you can boil, microwave, sauté, roast, and of course-fry this delectable veggie. Most recently, my favorite way is grilled, thanks to my husband.
Directions: First, prep your veggies. Wash the squash and cut the ends off. DO NOT PEEL! Most of the nutrition is in the skin. Chop your squash in whatever form you like best. I prefer circles. Second, grab some aluminum foil and make a “foil packet” as shown above. Add another sheet of aluminum foil to the top forming a pouch to enclose the veggies. Add in your chopped veggies with a little drizzle of canola, grape-seed, or avocado oil. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the top. If you want to get a little creative, add herb of choice: rosemary, oregano or basil would be good options for a burst of flavor. Third, place foil pack on your grill for about 20 minutes or until tender. You will be AMAZED with how delicious this is. I could eat a mountain of grilled summer squash!
An herb used in many Italian and Thai dishes, basil is another fun summer plant. The origination is debatable as the plant has been cultivated in many different areas for many years, but it is thought to originate in India6. Oddly enough, in ancient Egypt times, basil was used as an embalming agent and has been found in tombs and mummies since then. With virtually no calories, basil is a great addition to foods to achieve flavor without extra sodium. Adding fresh basil to soups, pastas, curries, and even fruit can add a burst of flavor. Below is my take on basil pesto.
Directions: Gather your fresh, clean basil (1 cup) and add to food processor or blender. Add: ¼ cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons of walnuts or pine nuts, a dash of parmesan cheese, and 2 fresh garlic cloves. Pulse mixture together until smooth. Serve over pasta, spread on toast or sandwiches, or use as a dip for veggies. Make a double batch to have on hand for whenever you want it!
“How do you put water in a watermelon?”
“You plant it in the spring!”
(go ahead, laugh at my corny joke.)
It’s a hot summer’s day, you are chilling at the pool and want a refreshing snack. What better way to enjoy a nice chunk of watermelon! Watermelon is the definition of summer, and quite possibly my favorite summer crop.
Cultivated in South Africa, watermelon quickly made its way to Egypt, to Europe, to the Mediterranean, then to India and finally to China. Interestingly enough, China is the world’s largest producer of watermelons5. Watermelon later made its way to America through the slave trade.
Watermelon is a very nutritious fruit made mostly of water (91%) with 6% sugar. This fruit is loaded with vitamin C while low in fat and sodium. Another fun nutrition bit on watermelon is that it is full of fiber! Yes, fiber which we know aids in digestion. One cup of watermelon contains about 50 calories and 1 gram of fiber.
Recipe time! One thing I think pairs well with watermelon is feta cheese-you get a little bit of salty/sweet action. Below is my recipe for Watermelon-Feta Salad.
Directions: First, prep your watermelon by cutting it in half and using a melon baller to form melon-balls. You will want to spoon out about 3-4 cups of watermelon. To the watermelon, add ¼ cup of feta cheese crumbles. Mix together. If you want to get a little spunky, add some freshly chopped basil. This fruit salad is a great dessert option for a patriotic holiday cookout.
Did you have that one vegetable growing up that you absolutely loathed and begged your parents not to make you eat? Yeah, beets were that vegetable for me, and of course my father made me eat at least one each time it was on the menu. They say your taste buds change every seven years-must be true because I love them now!
Originally from the Mediterranean, the actual beetroot was generally used medicinally. That’s right, people generally ate the greens from beets before discovering the fleshy, earthy part many of us enjoy today7. Due to their strong staining effect, beets were used to dye clothing in the olden days. Beets are highly nutritious for the fact they are good sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are generally in substances containing vitamin C and remove potentially harmful oxidizing agents in a living organism, which potentially can decrease the amount of cancer cells8. Per 1 cup of beets, there are about 60 calories, 13 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of fiber. Beets are rich in vitamin C and potassium, which help maintain our natural acid-base balance in the body.
Beets are mostly canned or pickled, but my favorite way to cook beets is by roasting in the oven.
Directions: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel and wash your beets. Chop beets into bite sized pieces. Drizzle oil of choice-I choose one with a high smoke point like canola or grapeseed oil. Add: ½ tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, and 1 teaspoon of garlic salt. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until tender. Add to a nice spinach salad with your favorite goat cheese for some extra flavor. Roasted butternut squash or carrots would be a nice addition to that salad, as well.
When I think back to my childhood and helping my dad in his garden, corn was always something we had an abundance of, and to be honest it was my least favorite summer crop (and still is). However, the history behind it is very neat!
Corn was actually nonexistent in the wild until it was cultivated in Central Mexico many, many years ago. Eventually when the Mexican culture migrated to America, they cultivated this crop in the Americas. Later when the Europeans came over, it was the Native Americans job to teach them how to cultivate many grains-especially corn. There are many varieties and colors of corn out there-blue corn, yellow corn, sweet corn, popcorn…which is your favorite? Corn can then be processed into many things we eat today from chips to grits (if you are a Southerner like me) or polenta.
Though is does contain calories and carbs our bodies need, corn is actually one of the least nutritious grains. It contains poor quality protein (mainly because it is incomplete, as most grains are) and there is no niacin in this grain. Niacin is the precursor to tryptophan, an essential amino acid in our body. Essential amino acids are those that are not naturally made by our bodies. We have to eat foods that contain essential amino acids to make proteins in our body. Without niacin, our bodies will not make tryptophan. Corn does have some benefits though as it contains numerous vitamins and minerals to aid in processes in our bodies.
Wanna fight the boredom with this starchy grain? You can do many things with it-saute, boil on the Cobb, creamed…the recipe I am sharing with you is corn salsa. If I have to eat it, I prefer it with the Mexican flavors.
Directions: First, obviously, get to shuckin’! Once you have gotten all the silk off the corn, wash thoroughly. Next, cut corn off the Cobb and add to a bowl. Add: 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed), ½ cup of diced tomatoes (I like using Roma or grape), a bundle of finely chopped cilantro, lime juice, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Then just mix it all up! Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to integrate. Serve with your favorite tortilla chip or top a salad with it for some extra flavor.
What’s your favorite summer crop?
Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!
Until Next Time, Happy Chewing! Katrina Detter, RD, LDN Follow me on social media!
“It’s that time of the week again: No food in the fridge. I feel like I just went to the store! Has it really been a whole week?”
Do you all ever feel this way? You’re out of all your fresh produce and proteins and feel like there is nothing in the house to eat. I totally get that feeling.
Today I am going to give you an idea of how I tackle grocery shopping. Call me crazy, but I LOVE grocery shopping. I find enjoyment in taking my time to go through the store, look at the sales, and score some trendy food-finds.
Ø Make a list.
This step is 100% necessary for me because nothing is worse than coming home to cook dinner and realizing you are missing an ingredient. Not only that, but you want to also make sure you have all the food you need for the week. With my husband and I both working full time jobs, the last thing we want to do after a long day is go to the store.
Ø Know what to put on that list.
I am not a “meal prepper”, but I am a “meal planner”. I try to get an idea of what we are going to eat throughout the week for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I also like to have quick go-to ingredients on hand in case of emergencies. Neither one of us are big on snacking, but sometimes I need something nutritiously satisfying to get me through the afternoon before my workout. I also think about if we will be dining out any that week, in which case I will not have to plan as many meals.
Ø Check sales.
Being recently married and paying for all of my own stuff, this is something I never take lightly! I love to save money where I can. Most grocery stores list their weekly sales online, so take a look. Otherwise, grab that pamphlet with all the deals as you walk inside the store. It takes an extra minute, but you will be happy you checked.
Ø Do not go shopping while hungry.
You. Will. Regret. It. Take it from a person who gets hangry, shopping while hungry never turns out well. A few things can happen. On the one hand, you could potentially stock up more on foods you typically would never buy because they “sound good”. News flash: Everything sounds good when you’re hungry. On the other hand, if you get hangry like me, chances are your grocery shopping experience will result in aggravation, irritation, moodiness-and quite possibly may ruin your day.
Those are some key things I keep in mind before going shopping. Now let me tell you what a typical shopping trip looks like for me!
What are some of your go-to items at the grocery store? Do you have any tips you’d like to share?
Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!
Until Next Time
Happy Chewing! Katrina Detter, RD, LDN Follow me on social media!