What’s for Dinner?

It’s Monday, so for most of us this means it is time to start a fresh new week and forget all of the debauchery that took place this past weekend as we celebrated the end of a hard work week. From my observations at the gym this morning, it seems that everyone is trying hard to burn off those extra sinful calories from the triple chocolate mocha cake, or the bottomless sangria pitchers from Saturday night ( I might be guilty of that one myself). But nonetheless, it is important to always keep a balance in your life. This is why I have decided to share some if the little things that I do throughout my week that allow me to have my pies and pasta dishes in the weekend.

First of all, I eat a balanced diet, which is probably nothing new as the media is constantly bombarding us on ways to eat healthy, new fad diets, and a lot of other non sense. However, it is very difficult to eat healthy when healthy food is usually considered bland and uninspiring. We want juicy, salty, sweet! When I speak to my coworkers in the food industry about healthy diet options for the menu, they literally scoff and say that food is not food if it is not lathered up in bacon or duck fat. This is not true across the industry though because many innovative chefs have made careers out of creating exciting, out of the box cuisine that is catered to those who actually want to make it to 60 without developing a chronic disease like diabetes or high blood pressure. The modern American, according to a research conducted by the USDA, increased his/her away from home caloric consumption from 18% to 32% between the 1970’s to mid 90’s. This clearly shows the growing trend that eating out has become. As chefs, we must be aware of ways to create more healthful foods to help feed a healthier nation that is constantly on the go.


Healthy Flavor

* Use fresh herbs whenever possible to add intense flavor and aroma ( which will contribute to a more satisfying flavor)
* Add a hint of chili powder such a cayenne to add complexity to foods such as rice and beans without adding much sodium
* Choose baking over frying
* for sandwiches: kick the mayo habit. Instead, mix 2/3 parts plain greek non fat yogurt and 1/3 dijon mustard to create a zesty, low fat, spread that is loaded with protein. You can add minced garlic and herbs to spice it up a bit.

The foods that I eat throughout the week are simple and accessible. Because I do work in a restaurant, they must also be quick; but the chef in me demands them to be inspiring and creative.

Today I made a healthy salmon patty with dill and flax-seed and served it over French lentils with raisins. You may use fresh wild caught salmon, but for the sake of simplicity, I used canned wild caught salmon. Oceana.org has a very informative page where it outlines the benefits of canned salmon over canned tuna, including mercury level concerns. Again, balance and moderation are always key to sustainable and healthy eating.

To make the patties, gather up two 6 oz cans of wild salmon, zest from a lemon, juice of half a lemon, minced red onion, 1/4 c non fat plain greek yogurt, 2 tbs dijon mustard, 1 egg, 2 tbs flax seed meal (when making patties you need flour or bread crumbs to help them bind, I chose flax seeds), lots and lots of dill, minced parsley, and salt to taste. Mix well and form into round patties. Spray baking sheet with non stick spray and place under broiler for 3 minutes on each side. Please don’t burn them like I always do : ( They are best eaten over lentils, or brown rice, or quinoa, or just about anything you have in hand.

One of my goals this past new year was to become a healthier and stronger woman. My friend Dayhanna over at D Fit Nut has been a source of constant inspiration and as a personal trainer that she is, has shared her knowledge with me. She has lots of tips on fitness and a well-balanced life in her blog. She also loves salmon, so I’ll be sharing this recipe with her!

So, dinner was quite delicious, but here is a bit of food for thought: Surround yourself with people who support your efforts to be healthier. Get creative with food. And everything with balance.

Happy eating!

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