As the weather warms, we know spring is just around the corner. There is an urgency to reach our health goals, especially our desired weight and fitness levels.
March is also National Nutrition Month and the theme this year is “Get Your Plate in Shape.” The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that you fill your plate with these healthful foods:
- whole grains
- low-fat dairy products
- lean protein foods [including 2 servings of fish per week, preferably high omega 3 rich sources such as salmon and cod]
Be sure you also make one-half of your plate full of fruits and vegetables which should include dark-green, red and orange vegetables plus legumes and peas. Fruit is a tasty dessert alternative and great for in between snacks. Pears and apples, for example, have soluble fiber called pectin which helps fill you up and stay satisfied until mealtime. It is also essential to cut back on processed foods that are high in refined sugars, sodium, bad fats, and artificial colors, preservatives and additives.
Avoid sugary drinks and boost your water intake, preferably filtered, as the weather warms up and outdoor activities increase. Studies have shown drinking at least 8-10 cups of water per day can give your body a boost in metabolizing fat and encourage your kidneys and liver to eliminate wastes and toxins. Some literature shows that 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated and even mild dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3 percent. One University of Washington study also showed that just one glass of water in the evening can curb midnight hunger.
What we put on our plate is an investment to keep us alert, fit and feeling healthy! As I was shopping recently in the grocery store, I was reminded it was March as I noticed a run on cabbage and corned beef. However, Ireland is surrounded by water, and its seas are rich in cod and salmon. In addition to being known for their corned beef and cabbage, they are also known for their fish stews. Did you know that you can eat less and burn fat faster by having a bowl of soup or stew as an appetizer, snack, or even as the main course. According to a Penn State University study, soup (or stew) is a great appetite suppressant because it’s made up of a hunger-satisfying combination of liquids and solids.
Here is a healthy version of a Irish fisherman stew. Enjoy!
Irish Fisherman’s Stew
½ teaspoon thyme
½-3/4 lb firm white fish (i.e. cod)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (olive, canola, high oleic safflower, etc.)
1 cup chopped onions
3 garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons whole grain flour
2 quarts free range chicken broth (or vegetable)
12 ounce bag frozen corn
½ lb new potatoes
4 medium carrots, sliced
½ lb green beans, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Note: You can add parsley, cayenne or white pepper and other herbs and spices.
Sprinkle thyme over both sides of fish.
In a large saucepan cook fish in 1 tablespoon of hot oil.
Heat remaining oil and add onion and garlic and cook until tender.
Stir in flour and cook 1 minute.
Add chicken broth, stir in corn, potatoes, carrots, and green beans.
Remove skin and any bones from fish and add to pot.
Simmer 30-40 minutes stirring often until vegetables are cooked through.
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