Monday, September 22, 2003

New ideas transform boring eating habits

By Dave Patania
Personal trainer

Question: I have been following your advice on eating balanced meals with protein, high quality carbohydrates, veggies, high-fiber fruits and quality "no gimmick" supplements. However, I am getting bored with oatmeal, the grilled chicken and fish with steamed veggies.

Suggestions? - C.N. Binghamton, N.Y.

I can identify with the boredom. However, it is a good problem to have because this means that you are consistently eating high-quality meals and are now ready for the next step in what I call eating habit transformation (EHT).

You are now in a zone that has you eating the five moderate-sized meals a day, which is great for keeping your nutrient levels/metabolism high and your weight/body fat levels low. Once you have proven that you can consistently eat your healthy meals, you can add variation with quick and simple techniques such as stir-fry, soup, chili and "goops."

You can stir-fry your chicken breast in a nonstick frying pan with a light coating of fat-free canola or olive oil cooking spray with your choice of fresh veggies and brown rice for a complete, healthy meal. You can vary the flavor by using low-sodium soy sauce for an Asian twist or go Italian with garlic, red onion and a touch of rosemary olive oil.

Soups are great for breaking up the monotony of a piece of meat with veggies. You can load up on the veggies, add sweet or regular potatoes, and chicken or turkey breast bathed in low-fat chicken or turkey broth. A client of mine makes a no-carb turkey breast chili that is as tasty as anything I have ever eaten and as healthy as you can get. Paired with a hearty salad, that chili is a great, easy-to-make meal that disproves the myth that healthy means bad tasting. These foods are great for healthy eating people on the go because you can cook them in bulk on a day off or weekend day and eat all week.

What are goops? Just gather foods that are all tops in nutrient value and "goop" them all together using a variety of different spices, healthy sauces, broth mixtures and ingredients. My mother even got into the madness with broiled chicken breast tenderloins and rosemary, topped with a healthy marinara sauce loaded with tender, chopped broccoli, peas and carrots. You can just scoop up this meal with a spoon without regret.

Open your mind, be creative and remember that you can use the same foods but just play around with flavors, spices and consistencies of moisture. Don't be afraid to eat lunch foods at breakfast and breakfast foods for dinner. All of these ideas can be adjusted to how you are eating, whether it be low-carb or high-calorie. Variation and creativity is the key.


Contact personal trainer Dave Patania by e-mail:

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