So how was your New Year? hopefully full of good times and good food. Well here is to a happy 2015 to you. Now that the mince pies are eaten, the Turkey utterly deconstructed, a toast to the new year with a lovely smoothie.
We aren’t too hot on resolutions, but the inevitable effects of age and gravity mean we are thinking of ways to painlessly improve the nutritional balance in the food we eat. Along with a bunch of other super food blogging friends we are running a series of recipes to Jump Start your eating plans for 2015.
We will be coming up with seasonal ideas for smoothies, soups and juices. We will also be looking at work friendly lunches that are light, fresh and zingy, dinners and side dishes that contain a broader range of carbohydrates than our usual pasta or rice staples.
Of course we will be treating ourselves every now and then, so don’t worry we are not going to get all health obsessed on you. Just hoping that we can get our glow back, now that the deepest of winter has passed.
So our Jumpstart15 bloggers will be planning on vegetable packed smoothies and soups for breakfast and lunch and a light supper. We want to make a longer term lifestyle change though – more vegetables, good quality protein (lean meat and fish as well as tofu and beans) and a good variety of complex carbohydrates. How do you do this in a busy hectic working family? We’ve been trying out the following ideas and they seem to be working well. So far so good!
Our healthy eating tips and lifestyle plans are as follows-
- Plan, Plan, Plan – Keep yourself on track by knowing what you will eat – maybe 80% of the time. A meal plan also means you can turn leftovers into next day’s lunch or upcycle to other meals altogether. Leftover vegetables make for an excellent couscous salad or pho soup with minimal effort. Leftover protein? Make a summer roll with ricepaper wraps – it is easy as pie – see here and here. Or you could stuff leftovers into dumpling wrappers and steam or pan fry. If all else fails, serve bits and pieces tapas style with crackers and some Labneh or a small piece of cheese.
- Write it down – It is well known that if you keep a food diary, you are more likely to lose weight. Put down all you eat and it will help focus you and motivate you. If you are counting calories (not everyone does or needs to) it makes it easier to track your energy intake. Apps like myFitnessPal are great for this, with an enormous database of ingredients as well as ready prepped meals listed from major food outlets and supermarkets. You can even scan the barcode. #noexcuse!
- Less sugar – sugar is sugar whether it is plain old caster or fancy coconut/palm/jaggery. Excess of it is turned to fat. So whilst maple syrup or agave nectar may be unprocessed,they are not totally sin free. We are not going to cut sweet stuff out completely. No way! Just going to try keeping all things sweet in moderation. It will help the swings in blood sugar that inevitably lead to the munchies.
- More Good Fats – By this we mean unsaturated fats and essential fatty acids. The former – such as mono and polyunsaturated fats help keep cholesterol levels in control. The latter, the essential fattry acids, regulate a multitude of things in your body. Inflammation, healing, mood, skin health and are important components in cell signaling. So be sure to keep a stock of nuts, seeds, leafy greens and oily fish in your diet
- Up the veggies – We are looking at aiming for half the plate to be vegetables at lunch or dinner. It will help full you up, add fibre to the diet and ensure you keep topped up with vitamins and minerals. Keeping it colourful means you will get a good range of micronutrients with ease. We tend to make big batches of sides. Leftovers work well with some Udon noodles and miso soup for lunch the day after for example.
- Strong flavours – Portion control means each mouthful needs to be flavour packed. Chilli, herbs, spices for layers of flavour. Umami flavours such as soy and miso are great too – I have an obsession with food from the East right now.
- Drink More – Water that is. 8 Glasses a day of water or herbal tea. Though our morning cup of coffee is sacrosanct. A ritual as well as a little shot of caffeine. Aside from that, I for one will try when I remember, to have a hot water with slice of lemon first thing. It is supposed to be good for the gut, and help balance your acid-alkaline balance. Although as a physician who is constantly monitoring acid-alkaline balance in my patients, I can tell you that your body does a pretty fantastic job of maintaining your acid-alkaline balance more than a glass of lemon infused water can do, but that is just me looking at numbers. If you like the taste and it makes you feel good, go for it.
- Move more – Our lifestyle could easily be quite sedentary. So a little activity is needed. Burning Calories is the other side of the weight control coin. As well as being important for cardiovascular health, exercise is good for your mental state. For us this means tag teaming the child care a little bit so we can squeeze it into our packed schedule.
- Take care of your gut- Your digestive system does so much more than digesting. Home to a vast population of bacteria, lined with immune tissue, the gastro-intestinal tract and the bacteria in it are known to have a profound effect on your overall health. From your weight to your mood to heart disease risk and senility. So a bit of TLC for this part of you is super important. Yoghurts and other fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi or sauerkraut are full of good probiotic bacteria. Fibre, and prebiotic carbohydrates in celery, banana and other produce are great for keeping those bacteria well fed too.
Food trends we will be trying out this year to flavourize our diet-
We thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the upcoming trends in the food world. What are the hot ingredients and regions right now? Here are some food trends we will be incorporating into our eating.
Fermented Food – We have talked above about how the gut does more than digestion. It has an important role in helping your body’s metabolism and immunity. So keeping your good bacteria topped up and well fed is something we all need to do. Beyond probiotic dairy, 2015 will continue the rise and rise of other fermented products. We will be trying out this Kimchi recipe from the Kitchn. Read more about Kimchi here at Food to Glow.
Cauliflower – cauliflower ‘rice’ has been doing the rounds for a while now, and Paula Deen bought the idea of a grain free cauliflower and egg white loaded carb free pizza base to the masses. Whole roasted cauliflower is a popular barbecue idea – try brushing it with a garlic and chilli infused olive oil.
Smoked Food – this was big last year. The trend goes on. Barbecue dining outlets are popping up everywhere. Slow cooked, pulled meat in soft baps – what is not to like? An array of vegetables, bone marrow and butters have been subjected to smoking. Tabletop smoking guns mean that you can smoke your own food at home even if you lack space for an outdoor barbecue or smoker. We’ve smoked tofu (the picture above) and duck breast which we marinated with Vietnamese spices – recipe coming soon.
Regional Asian Food – Ok so Korean food is already a thing. But with Chef Judy Joo over from the US with a restaurant and TV series planned, we think this trend is set to go on. We have already tried making Bibimbap and Bulgogi Beef. Our friend Laura at How to cook good food is also a fan and sees a big future for the seafood pancake, gochujang, kimchi and korean fried chicken. Korean foods are now entering the big supermarkets too which makes easier access to unknown ingredients. Her post on Korean foods highlights this here.
Eastern European food/snacks – Ren Behan is a Polish heritage food writer who has some lovely polish recipes on her blog. We love her Polish apple pancake recipe and also plan to experiment with making Pierogi – sounds like a great comfort food.
Hot honey – Beyond Sriracha sauce, new ways of adding heat have turned to honey. You can find habanero, jalapeno and ghost chilis in honey in the US and in the UK, Luchito has a range of Oaxacan Chili products from honey to mayonnaise. We’ve tried most of that range and love it – check out our braised poussin recipe.
Beyond kale: How about some of the less celebrated, winter vegetables – parsnips, swede, salsify and kohlrabi – try them mashed, pureed or gratineed. We had a very successful roast dinner with confit of swede. Slow cooking and smoking is probably the best way to bring out the flavour best in these nutritious but less attractive vegetables. Though it has to be said fried salsify chips are super tasty and worth a try – we served ours with a smashed broad bean dip at a supper club event last year.
Keep an eye out on my friends blogs too for lots of tips and inspirations on how to Jumpstart your diet and health in 2015 with ideas for juices, smoothies and soups. We will be looking at all meals of the day to keep things lean but tasty.
- Tinned Tomatoes
- Fuss Free Flavours
- Ren Behan
- Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary
- Smarter Fitter
- An Easy 3-Day Juice Feast to Jumpstart 2015
- Utterly Scrummy Food for Families
- Veggie Desserts
- London Unattached
- Maison Cupcake
What are your thoughts on New Year eating plans? It seems an easy time to change dietary tack, after a season of celebration and overeating. What we want though is a lifestyle change. A nutrient packed diet that is good for your body as well as helping balance weight issues. Let’s see how this goes!