Take a Healthy Bite!

March is Nutrition Month and dietitians around the world will be promoting ” Take a Healthy Bite Out of Life”. While I think the slogan is a bit ( or is that a bite…) too long , the thought does promote the Eat Well Shanghai philosophy.  We are all about enjoying tasty, healthy food.

The last few years during Nutrition month I have used a theme of my own to get across the importance of eating well for good health, both physical and mental. This year is no different but rather than pick on a few super foods, I want to take this month to talk about method. Just what is the best way to get those delicious meals on to the plate and into our families mouths?

This first week we are going to highlight having a healthy pantry. You can’t offer good food if you don’t have it in the cupboard. Most of the complaints I get about trying to eat healthy is lack of time.  I get that. No one wants to come home at 6 pm and still have to run out to the shop for dinner ingredients. The solution is to have the ingredients right there in the cupboard.

Take this week to survey what your household staples are.  Some of you might always have swiss chard and brown rice on hand and others might open the fridge to find a jar of mustard and some juice. Most of us , I would guess are somewhere in-between.  But this is the week we change all that. Once you see what you have, then you need to list what you want.  If you would like to switch to more whole grains then that goes on the shopping list. Most grains, flour, rice and quinoa will be fine if left in the cupboard of freezer. They should be sealed tightly in either place.

How often do you have fruit? Apples, pears and oranges will stay fresh on the table longer than strawberries. Along those lines check out what fruits and veggies are in season and add those to the weekly list. You can’t eat them if you don’t have them. Buy veggies in smaller quantities to avoid spoilage and leave yourself a reminder on your phone that those yummy greens are in the refrigerator drawer.

Besides grain/fruits and veggies, legumes ( dried beans/peas) are super good foods that we should all get more of.  The most well known of legumes are your chick peas ( think hummus), kidney beans ( think chili), lentils and cannellini beans ( think pasta fazul).   If time is an issue, and for most of us that is the case, then using canned beans is an option. Also you can soak  dry beans when you do have time and put them in the freezer for later use.

Last but not least consider your protein options: Do you usually have eggs on hand?  Eggs are great protein packages, low in fat and high in protein, iron and essential fatty acids like DHA ( great for your brain!). Eggs can be a quick wholesome supper as well as a morning meal. Tofu is also a low cost protein source that can keep for 3-5 days past the “Best By” date, if unopened. If opened, tofu is good for another 3-5 days.  You can freeze tofu for 3-5 months.  Meats should be frozen if not used within 3 days of purchase. Once the meat is cooked use them up in the next 3-4 days . Leftovers are a great low cost and healthy lunch option.

What to eliminate for a healthy pantry? The short answer is anything in a box. This month I will provide easy ways to replace some of the common foods we usually buy ready made, including spaghetti sauce, salad dressings and pancakes.

Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun!

If  you are looking for more ideas on how to be well in Shanghai, consider attending the only Wellness Summit in Shanghai. Join Sprout Lifestyle for a one-day health experience featuring keynote speakers, interactive wellness workshops including yoga, meditation, nutrition and improving personal well-being, and health bazaar!

The one-day themed event, “Your journey to health”, will be held on March  28th. For more information contact: