Make healthy a way of life

Maryland Independent - - Front Page -

The start of a new year is the per­fect time for new be­gin­nings, in­clud­ing a fresh start on eat­ing healthy. The trick to mak­ing this year’s resolution stick is in­tro­duc­ing smart eat­ing habits so tasty and easy that your eat­ing plan be­comes more a way of life than a short-lived com­mit­ment. One easy way to achieve that habit is by adding water­melon to your daily diet, giv­ing your body a low-calo­rie op­tion to curb an ap­petite for un­healthy snacks.

• Set rea­son­able goals. A de­pri­va­tion diet is des­tined to fail be­cause even­tu­ally your body will rebel. In­stead, aim for well-rounded meals with mod­er­ate por­tions. If weight loss is your ul­ti­mate goal, know that los­ing two pounds a week is gen­er­ally con­sid­ered the max­i­mum.

• Sat­isfy your sweet tooth. Most ex­perts agree that it’s OK to an­swer your sweet tooth — in mod­er­a­tion of course. Be­fore you take the plunge, think about whether there are other op­tions that could be a good sub­sti­tute. For ex­am­ple, in­stead of a candy bar, con­sider a nat­u­rally sweet slice of water­melon for a choles­terol-free, fat-free way to sat­isfy crav­ings at only 80 calo­ries per 2-cup serv­ing. Water­melon con­tains fiber and wa­ter, and packs a wealth of health ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing strong lev­els of vi­ta­mins A, C and B6.

• Stay well hy­drated. The dry win­ter air can be hard on your body, so it’s im­por­tant to keep that wa­ter flow­ing year-around. Most adults should aim for eight glasses of wa­ter each day, but you can also boost your wa­ter in­take with foods that have a high wa­ter con­tent, such as water­melon, which is 92 per­cent wa­ter and con­tains pro­tein and fiber so you are sat­is­fied on fewer calo­ries while boost­ing your over­all hy­dra­tion.

Steel-Cut Oats with Water­melon Serv­ings: 2

1 cup 1 per­cent milk

1 cup wa­ter

1/2 cup steel-cut oats

3/4 cup diced seed­less water­melon

2 ta­ble­spoons dried cher­ries or cran­ber­ries

2 ta­ble­spoons chopped pecans

2 ta­ble­spoons maple syrup

In medium saucepan over high heat, bring 1 cup milk and wa­ter to gen­tle boil. Pour in oats. Stir; re­turn to gen­tle boil then re­duce heat to sim­mer, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, 20-30 min­utes.

While oats are cook­ing, in small bowl, com­bine water­melon, dried fruit, nuts and maple syrup.

Por­tion out oats and top with wa­ter- melon mix­ture. Add ad­di­tional milk, if de­sired.

Water­melon Pro­tein Bites

1 cup pit­ted dates, soaked pu­ri­fied wa­ter

1 1/2 cups sprouted water­melon seeds, di­vided, plus ad­di­tional for gar­nish

1 ta­ble­spoon co­conut but­ter

1 cup fresh water­melon, chopped

1/8-1/4 cup roughly chopped beets (op­tional)

Chop dates in half. Place dates in bowl of pu­ri­fied wa­ter and soak 1-2 hours.

Re­move dates from wa­ter bowl and place them into food pro­ces­sor.

Pulse a few times then add 1 cup water­melon seeds, co­conut but­ter and water­melon. Add chopped beets, if us­ing. Blend un­til well com­bined, scrap­ing sides of food pro­ces­sor as you go.

Add re­main­ing water­melon seeds and pulse, leav­ing some seeds chunky.

For smoother tex­ture, con­tinue to blend.

Re­move mix­ture from food pro­ces­sor, place in small bowl and cover, al­low­ing to cool in re­frig­er­a­tor 30 min­utes.

Re­move mix­ture from fridge. With fin­ger­tips slightly wet, roll mix­ture into balls and place on a plate.

Once done rolling, add water­melon seeds to top.

Place water­melon bites in freezer 1-2 hours, or un­til frozen.

Is­land Fruit Salad Serv­ings: 2

2 ta­ble­spoons wa­ter

2 ta­ble­spoons co­conut sugar

1/2 lime (1 ta­ble­spoon), juiced

1 1/2 tea­spoons rum ex­tract

2 ki­wis, peeled and diced

1 or­ange, sec­tioned and halved

2 cups seed­less water­melon, chopped

2 tea­spoons flaked, sweet­ened co­conut

In small bowl, com­bine wa­ter and co­conut sugar; mi­crowave 20 sec­onds. Stir to com­pletely dis­solve sugar. Let cool. Once cool, add lime juice and rum ex­tract.

In medium bowl, add kiwi, or­ange and water­melon. Pour rum juice over top and thor­oughly toss. Let sit 30 min­utes to al­low fla­vors to blend.

Di­vide fruit salad into two bowls and sprin­kle with co­conut.

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF FAM­ILY FEA­TURES

Steel-Cut Oats with Water­melon

Is­land Fruit Salad

Water­melon Pro­tein Bites

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