Many people are excited about a fresh start to the new year. As a dietitian, I like to engage with customers to talk about what we could add into our routine, rather than take away. Getting into more healthy habits, can help us to look at our nutrition for the long run, rather than a shortcut with quick results and possibly yo-yo dieting. Set small goals, and remember it takes time to develop a healthy habit. Here are 4 healthy habits week by week.
Developing a habit of eating more vegetables, fruit, lean meat, and whole grains may be easier if you keep it simple. This is especially important for a person that does not normally cook or prepare food at home or if you dislike cooking. Rouses has several items that make it easy and keep it simple.
January 12, 2022
Healthy Habits Week 1: Make It Easy & Keep It Simple
Fresh Cuts: Look for fresh cut vegetables and fruit in the produce department. This will save time and often prevent waste. It may also help you get ideas for cooking such as ‘fajita cut vegetables’ and ‘stuffed mushrooms.’ Also, if you are not keen on slicing an onion, purchasing the chopped onion will be beneficial. The fresh cut items will be a slightly higher in cost, however, if the uncut item is purchased and never cut and eaten, that may be more of a waste.
Steam in the bag vegetable: Rouses offers steam in the bag vegetables in the produce department. In addition, there are several brands of steam-able bags in the frozen department as well. Follow the directions on the bag, and you will be enjoying the cooked vegetables with little preparation time.
Salad in the bag: Bagged salad which includes toppings and dressing can make an easy side dish for any meal. These can help make meal-time super convenient.
Cook in the bag fish: Similar to the steam in the bag vegetables, Rouses has ready-to-cook bags of fish in the fresh fish department.
Prepped items in the meat department: Look for prepped and ready to cook fresh meat items such as lean cuts of chicken and lean cuts of pork. Remember that these are helpful for the starting process of healthy habits. Keep in mind that if the meat is pre-seasoned and has a sauce on it, the item may have added sodium and added sugar on it. As one gains confidence in the kitchen, it would helpful to season meat with the seasoning of choice.
Easy grains: Choosing whole grains can offer more fiber which is shown in studies to help with fullness. If you are not sure how to cook whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa, look for packages that are easy cook quick items. In addition, look in the frozen aisle for precooked steamable bags of grains. Be mindful of any seasonings that may be added to the grains for convenience such as sodium or preservatives. As one gains confidence in the kitchen, it would helpful to learn to cook the grains in a variety of ways.
January 19, 2022
Healthy Habits Week 2: Increase the Plants in the Buggy
Spend more time in the produce section. However, before you go to the store, spend time planning how you will use your veggie and fruit selections. If this is overwhelming, starting by thinking of 3 colors and a vegetable and/or fruit that matches that color. Color variety also is indicative of nutrient variety. For example, if you choose the colors blue, green, and yellow; some plant varieties to match might be blueberries, broccoli, and yellow peppers.
Many people are hesitant to purchase too many fresh produce items for fear of not being able to consume them before they turn overripe.
Have no fear, here are 5 ways to use veggies that are turning overripe.
Freeze them: This will press the “pause button” on ripening
Throw them in a smoothie: Smoothies are a great way to use all types of produce, not just fruit, but veggies as well.
Make a Stir Fry: Combine a chopped onion in olive oil and add those veggie varieties! Top with aminos and sesame seeds.
Make a pesto sauce! Pesto can be made of a variety of ingredients combined with olive oil. Pesto can also be frozen for use later.
Add to a Soup: Soups are a great way to use extra veggies to add flavor variety.
January 26, 2022
Healthy Habits Week 3: Whole Grains
What is a whole grain? Whole grains include grains like wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, rye, and even popcorn. If you feel that it may be difficult to eat brown rice, or whole wheat pasta, use a 50/50 rule, meaning make a bowl with half white and half whole wheat, this way the nutrient content is increased by 50%.
Why choose whole grains? Whole grains have some valuable content of B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, and fiber.
February 2, 2022
Healthy Habits Week 4: Lean In On meat
Look for meat that is lean such as lean ground beef, chicken breast, and pork tenderloin. However, fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel have beneficial omega 3 fatty acids or ‘good fats.’
Start by intentionally adding 1-2 lean meats, egg, or fatty fish per week.
How to look for lean meat?
Poultry: Skinless chicken and turkey, lean ground turkey or chicken at least 90-95% lean.
Pork & Beef: Look for “loin” and “round” cuts. Also, the terms “choice” or “select” grades are recommended instead of the term “prime.” For ground meat, choose 95% lean if available, or cook with 90% lean and pour off the fat after browning.
How to cook lean meat?
The best forms of cooking lean meat are slow, moist cooking methods such as baking, broiling, roasting, or stir-frying.
How to buy fish and store fish for freshness?
Fish can be purchased in a variety of ways including fresh, frozen, and canned. When choosing fresh fish, consider the cooking method of the fish. Some fish such as salmon, with its firm texture and fat content, are great for grilling, baking, and broiling. However, some fish which are leaner, such as cod, flounder, or grouper, may be better using a steaming or poaching method.
For plant-based customers, Rouses has an increasing variety of plant-based protein sources such as tofu, legumes, and varieties of nuts.