But I HATE Kale! (Full Disclosure, I Don’t)

This is a refrain I hear all the time. The most “egregious” (according to its detractors) is kale. You know I’m a kale fan, but I can understand how this fibrous, unfamiliar vegetable can be challenging for some people. It doesn’t taste like peas, beans, or carrots. It can be earthy. It looks funny. And it can be tough if not prepared correctly.

So what can you do with kale? Here are some ways we like it in our house:

In smoothies. You need to pair it with something very flavourful and colourful. Try a banana, a beet, and some ginger and cinnamon, in addition to plant milk. The beet will keep it from looking green (or worse, brown). Cocoa powder is another addition that can really make a difference. Or go full-on green and instead of the beets, add an avocado.

In a delicious soup with onions, chickpeas, a little potato, and chorizo. Basically chop it and sweat it with a lot of onion (three or more, diced), then add a chopped potato, a diced chorizo, a couple of cups of cooked chickpeas, and enough water to fill a large pot (like a French or Dutch oven). Simmer until everything is tender. Thanks to the onion and chorizo it will make its own broth.

Kale chips – fans swear by these but I will fully admit I’ve eaten them but never made them at home.

In a stir-fry. Much like cabbage, sliced thinly, it will take on the flavours of the other ingredients.

Last but not least, in a salad. Chop it relatively finely. Don’t use the stems or tough ribs. And mix it with a tender lettuce (like cos or Bibb) and a watery, juicy one (like iceberg or romaine).

I hope you’ll at least give it a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Here are some menu plans for next week! You can see we are still using up the gallons of turkey soup I made. If you don’t have turkey soup, that’s okay – but make a homemade soup. It’ll have far less salt and be better for you, and a large pot will make several lunches worth, that you can freeze and reheat when you’re ready.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Sunday January 21st Leftover quiche EatingWell Tomato Basil Zoodle Salad Weight Watchers Barley Chicken Casserole
Monday January 22nd Beet and Kale Smoothie Cooking Light Roasted Sweet Potato and Orange Salad Jamie Oliver Sicilian Spaghetti Alla Norma
Tuesday January 23rd Granola with 1/2 banana Homemade Turkey Soup with 1 whole grain bread and 5ml butter Weight Watchers Zucchini Risotto with Sundried Tomatoes
Wednesday January 24th Banana Kale Smoothie Apple Kale Salad Weight Watchers Orange Couscous with Chicken (substituting turkey) – served with green beans
Thursday January 25th Apple Nut Oatmeal Homemade Turkey Soup with 1 whole grain bread and 5ml butter Weight Watchers Spaghetti with Kale and Garlic
Friday January 26th Carrot Cake Smoothie Cooking Light Fall Vegetable and Lentil Salad Weight Watchers Cod with Parsley Sauce served with steamed green beans and carrots
Saturday January 27th Granola with 1/2 banana Homemade Turkey Soup with 1 whole grain bread and 5ml butter Artichoke Pizza

There’s Nothing Like Hot Soup on a Cold Day

Soup, it’s delicious, right? And a fantastic way to use up whatever has been hovering around your kitchen. There’s a scary side to soup, though, especially if you’re starting with a powdered or canned variety. It can hide a LOT of sodium. A good rule-of-thumb is to keep the milligrams of sodium equal or less than the calories. Check out any soup in your grocery store, even the “healthy menu” types, and you’ll find there’s four (or more) times the sodium in most varieties. Not so healthy, after all. Sure, in a pinch, they can work. But with an hour or two while you’re working on something else or even sitting in front of the tube, you can cook up one or two huge pots of soup, and freeze the results to last for months.

So if you’re stuck inside in the cold, and you’ve got some vegetables, an onion or two, and beans, or meat, rice, pasta, or potatoes, you can make soup. Your body will thank you. Here’s one to get you started.

Meal Planning and More…

 Just walk. Sounds simple enough, right? But as the streets get colder and icier, it can be more of a challenge. We’re lucky to have a gym in our building, so I can commune with my old friends Rower and Treadmill, but if you’re not so fortunate, here are some other places in Toronto where I can get in a walk without going into the great outdoors:

Walk the Eaton Centre (warning: if you’re instituting “no-buy January”, this can be a challenge).

Walk the PATH – it’s especially interesting during off hours when there are few workers hustling and bustling on their way.

Live in a highrise (or even a lowrise)? Take the stairs. As many as you can. Repeat.

There are lots of great apps to help you fit in exercise, too – one I’ll be trying in January is 8fit. I’ll report back, but so far, I’m enjoying the variety of exercises offered, and the app asks me to rate the difficulty, so it can adjust to suit what I need to push myself.

Here’s another week of meal plans for you, starting next week. That should leave you time to shop. How are you doing with your healthy eating? After starting the year with a week of visitors, it’s good to keep focused with a plan.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Sunday January 14th Pizza Egg – 1 slice of leftover pizza topped with a poached egg. Otherwise, a poached egg with 1 toast and a sliced tomato Cooking Light Cashew, Coconut and Cabbage Slaw Veggie Chili – I’ll make enough for 3 meals, including one with Turkey
Monday January 15th Banana Kale Smoothie Apple Kale Salad Tofu Stir Fry
Tuesday January 16th Apple Nut Oatmeal Homemade Turkey Soup with 1 whole grain bread and 5ml butter Veggie Chili
Wednesday January 17th Carrot Cake Smoothie EatingWell Vegetarian Taco Salad Weight Watchers Vegetable Quesadillas, plus cheese
Thursday January 18th Apple Nut Oatmeal Homemade Turkey Soup with 1 whole grain bread and 5ml butter EatingWell Turkey Curry
Friday January 19th Beet Kale Smoothie EatingWell Stetson Chopped Salad Weight Watchers “Fried” Catfish with Potato Sticks

I had a note from a reader this week, looking for bread recipes. To see my own recipes, check the EAT tab on the blog.

Have a healthy week!

It’s a Whole New Year!

What I love best about New Year’s Day is that everyone sees the potential for a fresh start. My resolution for 2018? To help as many people as possible understand that we have that potential every single day.  No matter what’s happened before, we can be better from here on in.

Yesterday I began posting January Meal plans, which I’ll continue for you here. I hope they’ll help inspire you to be your best, healthiest self this year.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Sunday January 7th Granola with 1/2 banana EatingWell Tomato Basil Zoodle Salad Jamie Oliver Sicilian Spaghetti Alla Norma
Monday January 8th Beet and Kale Smoothie Cooking Light Roasted Sweet Potato and Orange Salad Cooking Light Turkey & Swiss Sloppy Joes
Tuesday January 9th Granola with 1/2 banana Homemade Turkey Soup with 1 whole grain bread and 5ml butter Jamie Oliver Hungover Noodles
Wednesday January 10th Banana Kale Smoothie Apple Kale Salad Jamie Oliver Smokin’ Chicken Chowder (substituting leftover turkey)
Thursday January 11th Apple Nut Oatmeal Homemade Turkey Soup with 1 whole grain bread and 5ml butter EatingWell Savory Carrot and Tarragon Tart
Friday January 12th Carrot Cake Smoothie Cooking Light Fall Vegetable and Lentil Salad Jamie Oliver Carbonara of Smoked Mackerel

Before you go, here are some tools that help me keep track of meals, make grocery lists, and remind myself to stay fit and drink water:

Paprika Recipe App, good for either Kindle, iOS, or Android. It lets me download recipes, organize them as I like, share them, and create grocery lists for my meal plans.

My Fitness Pal – I love this for figuring out the nutritional content of recipes, and seeing whether I’m missing key nutrients.

And I’m rarely without my trusty FitBit, so I can keep track of steps. I also have UnderArmour’s UA Record, so I can log exercise that isn’t walking.

What are your favourite tools for healthy living?

Happy 2018!

 

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