3 Easy Ways to Make Healthy Eating a Habit

Healthy Eating - Rachel DeanEveryone would like to be on a perfectly nutritious and healthy diet at all times; however, life tends to get in the way and our good intentions fall by the wayside. Being healthy is unfortunately easier said than done.

In a recent article featured in the Huffington Post, Anne Ricci, Founder of AnnesHealthyKitchen.com, walks through 5 ways that you can gradually start eating healthier and ultimately make it a habit. Here are the first three:

1. Start with the drinks.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but sodas and processed fruit juices are loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup; it’s not good for you at all. In fact, numerous studies have revealed that they promote weight gain. Additionally, your beloved lattes and flavored macchiatos are also pumped full of sugar and tend to be high in calories.

The article doesn’t suggest quitting cold turkey but offers a method to gradually wean yourself off those high calorie drinks and successfully transition to drinking more water. “You can buy natural fruit juice (with no added sugars) and gradually add water to it. You may start with half of each, and work your way up by adding more water each day.” The article also suggest flavoring your water by adding fresh fruit slices or herbs.

2. Decide that you deserve to eat real food.

Making the conscious decision to put yourself first is half the battle. We are all busy and, therefore, often choose health over convenience. We tell ourselves that taking the time to cook a nutritious meal at the end of a busy day is not ultimately worth it because it comes at the expense of “being a good parent, getting more work done, or having social experiences.”

However, taking care of yourself should always take precedence. In fact, if you take care of yourself, it will help you take care of others better. “If you’ve failed at sticking to a healthy diet before, decide that you deserve something better, and that you’re worth it. Make it a real priority in your life.”

3. Eat a nutritious breakfast.

Breakfast isn’t referred to as ‘the most important meal of the day’ for nothing. While it can often seem nearly impossible to fit breakfast into your busy schedule, let alone a healthy one, it’s absolutely crucial. According to a study conducted among preschool children, eating breakfast on a general basis directly contributes to a healthy body weight.

While another study showed that about 31 million Americans skip breakfast every day, it doesn’t have to be so daunting or take up a lot of time. “Oatmeal, eggs, real yogurt with berries, a smoothie, or an avocado toast are simple breakfast options that all take less than ten minutes to prepare and will often prevent you from reaching out for an unhealthy snack bar at 10am”

To read the full article and learn about 2 additional ways to make healthy eating a simple habit, head over to the Huffington Post.

Charred Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Pancetta in a Fig Glaze

If you’re looking for a new side dish to impress the family, consider this recipe I stumbled upon on health.com.

You’ll need:

Brussels Sprouts - Rachel Dean

3 tablespoons of olive oil

3 to 4 o.z of pancetta

1 ½ pounds of brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (about 6 cups)

¼ teaspoon of kosher salt

2 tablespoons of your favorite fig jam

¼ teaspoons of freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

Turn your stove on medium high and and heat 1 TBSP of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the pancetta and let it cook, stirring occasionally until crisp (about 3 minutes) – think crispy bacon! Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta onto a small plate with a paper towel.

Add the remaining 2 TBSP of oil into the pan and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the brussels sprouts, keeping them in a single layer – you don’t want to crowd the pan because that will cause the veggies to steam, which is not what we’re going for in this dish. Having a couple extra sprouts in the pan is not a big deal, but just don’t add too many. We want evenly browned brussels sprouts. If you’re making more, you can also cook these in batches and just throw it all back together in the end. Ok, getting back on track – next, add the salt and stir to mix it in. Continue to stir occasionally, until brussels sprouts are tender and evenly browned (this will take about 10 minutes). Depending on your stove, you may need to adjust the heat, so the brussels sprouts don’t brown too quickly.

Once the sprouts are all set, add the fig jam and 1 TBSP of water. Stir until the jam has melted into the water and coats the brussels sprouts (start getting excited – we’re almost done). Finally, add the crispy pancetta back in, finish off the dish with the pepper and combine. Add additional salt or pepper to taste, if needed and voila. A gorgeous and delicious side dish that will impress the entire family.