Monday, July 19, 2004

Spice up basic foods and still eat healthy

Ask Dave

By Dave Patania
Enquirer contributor

Readers ask me why I am always recommending basic foods such as oatmeal, brown rice, chicken breast, egg whites, vegetables and fruits. They also ask how I can eat these foods on such a consistent basis without getting bored.

I choose foods based on their quality, ability to provide variation and what they do for my body, not my mind.

For example, brown rice is a high-quality carbohydrate that gets broken down slowly, thus providing lasting energy throughout the day. It is also very versatile in that it can be eaten at any meal of the day by simply adding different ingredients to it. For breakfast, you can have brown rice with fat-free butter sprinkles and Splenda sweetener for a great tasting bowl of energy. For lunch/dinner, you can add a touch of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic for a healthful side dish.

Chicken and turkey breast can be prepared many different ways with many different spices, yet still keeps you on track with your healthy eating format. Fruits and veggies are also very versatile and a little creativity while preparing them will prevent boredom from eating them all the time.

The main point is to change your perception of what great taste is.

Instead of classic oats, people eat instant oats or sugary cereals that get broken down too quickly. Instead of things like grilled chicken breast, people eat fried chicken strips, processed meats or add fatty sauces and toppings to them.

Instead of trying to create a taste sensation every time you eat, try eating foods that will provide you with vital nutrients and that are prepared with basic, healthful ingredients that you can spice up for variation. A meal that tastes good yet delivers healthful benefits will yield many years of health rather than excess body fat and weight.

There is nothing wrong with a burger and fries once in a while, but use those types of foods for what they were meant for - a treat.

It takes the same amount of time to make a meal healthful as it does to make it unhealthful, so be creative and find ways to eat meals that will bring more to your life.

Contact personal trainer Dave Patania by e-mail:

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