One of the most important things we can do to help maintain our health at any age is to eat well. In a culture with six fast food joints on every block and even in some supermarkets, it can be hard to do.
But even if we succumb to temptation now and then (my bete noir is ice cream), we all know the rules: low or no salt, low fat, lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains with a little protein thrown in – fish high in omega fatty acids is particularly good.
Not long ago, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ditched its long-time, oft-revised food pyramid for a food plate that is a clear representation of good eating:
By the time we reach old age, we should know all this and even if we fall off the wagon from time to time, we have developed some good habits too. So today, I'm inviting you to share some of them.
Here's what I propose: that readers each supply one healthy recipe in the comments below for any meal of the day. It can be your own or if not, giving credit is good, especially if it is from a cookbook or recipe website.
And it should not be elaborate or difficult or involve hard-to-find ingredients. Take pity on the rest of us and keep it simple.
I'll start with RONNI'S MORNING FRUIT SMOOTHIE.
There are zillions of recipes for smoothies, but you don't need one. You can invent it new every time as long as the proportions are vaguely as follows. It's hard to go wrong.
Place the following in a blender:
• 2-3 heaping T of no-fat plain yogurt
• 1/2 sliced banana – extremely ripe, lots of brown on the skin
• 1 C of fresh berries – one kind or mixed
• 1/2 C melon, sliced
• 1-1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, trimmed and sliced
• 1 T honey (optional)*
• 6-8 ounces of juice, enough to just cover the fruit in the blender. Pineapple or apple works well
Cover blender and whiz on high for about 2 minutes.
I feel so healthy when I have this for breakfast (or lunch, sometimes). It's like I can feel all the good, little vitamins and minerals and all running around taking care of my body - and mind, too.
*The very ripe banana is what gives the smoothie its sweetness. If the banana is less than overly ripe, I add the honey. I like the ginger because it gives the drink a spicy kick, but it's not required.
Some people throw in a handful of cracked ice. You can do that; I prefer my smoothie closer to room temperature than cold. If you think you need more fiber, you can include a tablespoon of wheat germ or other whole grain.
There are endless fruit substitutes you can make: half a mango, for example or peach - peeled, of course. The meat of a couple of plums turned out nicely once but it's a bitch to peel them.
And here's a smart tip I learned just recently. When fresh fruit is less available in winter or if the price of berries at the market gives you a heart attack, you can substitute frozen berries (or any other fruit). Just be sure to buy the bags that have no added sugars.
Because the fruit is frozen within a day of picking, it often retains more of its nutrients than fresh fruit that may have been shipped on a truck for days or even weeks.
Now it's your turn. One recipe. Any meal of the day. Healthy.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Brenton “Sandy” Dickson: Thick-a-Dungeon