healthy(er).

I've always wanted to eat really healthy, but then we'd buy a random bag of chips that would be gone in two days. And I would eat chocolate chips from the freezer by the (small) handful. Don't get me wrong, I think we were doing OK when it came to healthy eating, but not good enough.

Now, I'm finding it's best to take things one step at a time. I'm looking into more natural products, and reading labels like a fiend. I still love my sweets and snacks and junk food, but I'm trying to find "better-for-you" options, and doing them in moderation.

Snacks:
1. I learned this one from my mom: nonfat, plain (or vanilla) Greek yogurt with peanut butter mixed in. If it's plain, I like to add a little honey and maybe some cinnamon. Dip apple slices in this.
2. A piece of fruit or Kashi granola bar
3. A handful of roasted almonds, by themselves or with a few semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Treats:
1. Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk. The best chocolate milk ever! And only 120 calories per serving.
2. UNREAL candies. They make knock-offs of well-known chocolate bars, but with no junk in them.
3. Stove-popped popcorn with a low-calorie, all-natural cheese topping (found by the popcorn) or a light honey-butter (or coconut oil) drizzle.

Breakfast:
1. Greek yogurt pancakes. I like to substitute white for whole wheat flour.
2. Breakfast hash with red potatoes, eggs, and veggies. I love to do this with grilled zucchini.
3. Healthy(er) cereal with almond milk.

Dinner:
I've always been a throw-together-whatever-is-on-hand type of person rather than a meal-planner. To make this healthy, it helps to have healthy ingredients readily available.
1. Grilled chicken with grilled sweet potato "fries" and whole wheat french bread with mashed avocado.
2. Whole wheat pasta salad with grilled chicken and zucchini, sauteed onions and grape tomatoes, and a homemade vinaigrette
3. Sweet potato and black beans. To make this, I cube up one large sweet potato (really a yam, I think), and dice half of a yellow onion. Then, I saute it all in a bit of olive oil with a sprinkling of salt, pepper, and cumin. Once they're a bit browned and softened, I add a little water and cover my pan with the lid. I let those cook for about 10 minutes until I can cut a cube with my bamboo spatula. Then, I add about 3/4 cup of rinsed and drained black beans and season a little more. We eat this "hash" on corn tortillas as tacos, most often.
4. We frequently have the aforementioned "breakfast" items for dinner. No shame.
5. Korean beef with ground turkey instead of ground beef. I know white rice isn't the best choice, but I have yet to actually attempt cooking brown rice. It scares me. Also, the green onions are essential to this recipe.
6. Tacos. Tacos are probably the easiest and most frequently made meal in our home. I have made many variations. Fillings have included: grilled or shredded chicken, black beans, ground turkey (proteins), and lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, or sweet potatoes (veggies/fruits) topped with salsa or Cholula (TJ's favorite). I always use corn tortillas for a healthier choice (and I like them better).

Lunch:
During the summer, TJ will typically bring me a sandwich or something because I'm really bad at making lunch beforehand. During the school year...it gets interesting. I try to find healthier options at work. The best is leftovers.

TJ recently read a book for one of his classes that suggested healthy eating/successful dieting is not about eating habits at all. It's about buying habits. If I don't buy unhealthy foods, I am not as likely to eat them. It's definitely a work in progress, and buying truly healthy food is not the easiest in the US, but it's something TJ and I both feel strongly about.

I'm also considering doing a "sugar fast/cleanse" where I wouldn't eat refined sugar for a while and see if I can't kick this addiction I seem to have. I still think that sugar is OK in moderation, but for me it's like I can't help myself or stop at "just a little." We are trying to eat more veggies as well, which can be tricky during winter months when some of my favorites (like zucchini) aren't readily available. Also, since broccoli no longer agrees with me for some reason (I get unbearable stomach pain when I eat it), our frozen veggie options are more limited. We have been trying to have at least one meatless meal per week, and have subsequently been eating more eggs and beans.

In the end, eating healthy for me is about being conscious about what I put in my body, and feeling good. I know I won't feel great when I eat foods that aren't good for me, but I'm also very human and I love food. "Moderation in all things" is a rule I *try* to live by.