| For The Register-Guard
5 apps to help you eat healthy while quarantined
Eating healthy is tough during the best of times. Here are some apps that can make it easier to keep a healthy diet while we’re all stuck at home.
Mike Roorda, Reviewed.com
It’s easy to overdo it during the holidays and end the year several pounds heavier than you started. For many, this year is especially challenging because we’re spending more time at home — and in the kitchen — during the pandemic.
But that extra time in the kitchen has an upside. Use it to connect with others in your household and to explore new recipes and ways of cooking that allow you to enjoy the tastes and traditions of the holiday season while setting you on the right path for the new year.
Here are a few practical tips to cut calories and boost nutrients in your cooking and baking, without totally compromising the tastes that you love. For more ideas, check out my recent PeaceHealth webinar (https://bit.ly/37AmC4c) on managing your weight through the holidays and register (https://bit.ly/38lrGbZ) to join me for a free webinar from noon to 12:30 Wednesday, Dec. 30, on achieving your health goals.
Splurge on high-quality ingredients: High-end chocolate, vanilla bean and fresh spices can enhance the flavor of your holiday treats.
Reduce fat and calories by making small changes: Every tablespoon of fat you eliminate cuts 135 calories. Try sautéing vegetables in water or broth instead of in butter or oils, or lay them on a parchment-covered pan and roast them in the oven. For baked goods, use half the fat the recipe calls for and use a substitute for the other half. For example, use ½ cup of oil and ½ cup of applesauce in a cake recipe calling for 1 cup of oil. Substitute bananas for half the butter or margarine in your muffins or pancakes. Or substitute pumpkin or sweet potato puree for oil or butter in gingerbread. The ratio is 1:1 when substituting this puree for oil, and ¾ cup puree for 1 cup butter. Pureed dates, prunes or figs can take the place of butter in some cookie recipes. For a delicious treat sweetened with dates, try my Chocolate Cookie Dough Balls. They’re easy to make and kids enjoy rolling them in their favorite toppings — nuts, coconut flakes, mini chocolate chips or crushed candy canes.
Here’s a substitute you might not have heard of before: Swap chia seeds for an egg. Combine 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and thicken for about 15 minutes. Chia seeds are great for their high fiber and Omega 3 content. They can be used for up to two eggs in some cakes, muffins or cookies.
Other strategies for staying healthy through this year and into 2021 include controlling consumption and getting plenty of exercise.
Keep a lid on consumption by not skipping meals. You’re less likely to overeat if you keep your tank fueled, so don’t forget to eat breakfast. Try a balance of protein, high fiber carbohydrates and a little healthy fat. My Baked Oatmeal Cups are a great grab-and-go option for work, kids love them and they freeze nicely. My Mixed Berry or Pumpkin Spice smoothies are great for breakfast, too. You and your kids can sip them during early morning virtual meetings or Zoom classes.
Also make sure to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and for those who enjoy herbal teas, try seasonal flavors like peppermint or cinnamon apple spice for a splash of calorie-free flavor.
For exercise in the pandemic, consider taking a 30-minute after-meal stroll, or put on some music and dance. Just 15 minutes of aerobic fast dancing can burn as much as 135 calories.
Mental breaks are important, too. Unplug for 10 minutes, giving yourself space and time to be still. Throughout the day, try practicing this relaxing breathing technique: Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds.
We all could stand to breathe a little easier in 2021.
Cecelia Jacobson is a registered dietitian with the Oregon Heart & Vascular Institute at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield. PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Oregon, Washington and Alaska. For more ways to stay your healthiest: peacehealth.org/healthyyou.