Harlem Wellness Challenge: Healthy Eating – All Day All Night

March 10, 2015

cc mintonBy CC Minton

How many times have you heard it before?  Eat your fruits and vegetables.  Don’t eat too much sugar and you have got to try that new no-fat diet.  We all have heard some variation of the popular phrases and at some point may have tried to stick with them.  March is National Nutrition Month where healthy eating is front and center.  It is the month that reminds us that making good food choices can be delicious and nutritious at the same time. But don’t think of it as a one month commitment.  It’s all day and year round especially when you’re out for a night on the town.

National Nutrition Month is a celebratory movement surrounding nutrition education and information.  Sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the month long campaign encourages Americans to develop sound healthy eating and physical activity habits.  Every five years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the USDA jointly publish the Dietary Guidelines.  Good news . . . . . some of the most recent changes will be released in the 2015 edition.

So what is on the chopping block?  America’s favorites:  sugars and fats.  Lowering the amount of sugar consumption on a daily basis and shifting the focus to healthier fat is just a couple of the highly anticipated changes.  When it comes to sweets, added sugars should make up less than 10% of the daily diet and making the shift from saturated fats to polyunsaturated fats just might keep us healthier.  Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to give up savory dishes.  Your favorite entrée, snack and sweets can have a twist that is perfect for the palate.

Chef “Jesse” Jones, 2014 Top Chef by Inside NJ Magazine and recipient of the “Man on a Mission” Award by Harlem based non-profit Women in the Black Man has a modern approach to southern cuisine.  Careful not kill the integrity of classic southern cooking, Chef Jesse describes his cuisine as lighter, creative, innovative and a bit outside of the box.  He likes to use fresh herbs, fresh chicken and beef stock which are a part of classic French technique.  Using olive oil and replacing butter with stocks increases the amount of healthy fats without losing the flavor.

For those with a sweet tooth, the ‘BFE cookie created by Ms. Nicky has many benefits.  It has 3 grams of sugar which is less than a teaspoon of sugar, low in carbs, and contains dietary fiber.  Take time to read the labels.  Most cookies on the market have no fiber at all.  It’s butter less, flourless and eggless which is where it gets its name.  Created initially for cosmetics mogul Bobbi Brown it is loved by Vanessa Williams and was featured on the Dr. Oz Show.  Miss Nicky’s is where delicious meets healthy.

cc minton1And when you’re out for a night on the town, stick to your normal meal plan.  If it’s protein, veggies and salad do the same.  Beware of dinner specials.  Some choices sound healthier than they really are.  Check for sauces that may be made with ingredients that are high in fat and sugar.  Don’t super size it.  Yes you’ve heard this before.  Going to a buffet can be challenging so steer clear if you don’t have will power.  You may end up with more calories than usual.  Last but not least, watch your drinks.  Having water with lemon or lime can be filling and satisfying too and a glass of wine won’t hurt.

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Keep your eye out for the new dietary guidelines in fall 2015.

Harlem Wellness Challenge: All Day All Night.

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