Archive for the ‘Food’ Category
Visiting the farmers market during summer months is always a delight because one of my favorite farmers picks out a watermelon for me to enjoy during the next week. When fresh, crisp and sweet, I find watermelon as enjoyable as a bowl of ice cream. And yes — I still enjoy naturally made ice cream or frozen yogurt from time to time. But I balance those treats out with fresh fruit. And during the summer, I do everything I can to enjoy watermelon for all it’s worth.
Studies have revealed that besides being delicious, watermelon delivers several health benefits, including being an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as a good source of Vitamins A and B6. It also contains the carotenoid antioxidant lycopene, which can help neutralize free radicals and help prevent prostate cancer. Watermelon has been shown to reduce the risk of other types of cancers as well. Plus, its high water content makes it great for hydration. What’s more, it’s a terrific dessert or snack for kids and can help them understand that not every “treat” has to come covered in fudge.
When given the option at the farmers market, I always go for seedless watermelon. I’m not a happy camper if I must interrupt my chewing with spitting seeds into a nearby napkin (even though I suppose it burns a few more calories).
According to produce specialists, Mid-June through mid-August is when watermelon is at its ripest (with July being the most prized month of all). So let’s go watermelon shopping, shall we?
When picking a whole watermelon, size matters since 80% of a watermelon is water. Pick one of the largest you can find, while making sure the exterior doesn’t have any visible cuts, bruising, dents or soft spots. Experts also suggest looking for a yellowish area on the melon’s exterior, which indicates its ripeness after sitting in the sun.
Next, do what you’ve likely seen other shoppers do — knock-knock on the exterior with your knuckle. You’re listening for a slight echo to your knock, which indicates that the fruit is ripe. A dull thud could indicate otherwise.
When preparing watermelon for guests, or myself, I make sure to make the eating experience as relaxed and “special” as possible — therefore I don’t usually serve it in wedges. Giving food a more delectable presentation is something I strive for almost every time I eat. This helps my brain, eyes and other senses know that I’m eating, which helps ‘up’ the enjoyment factor — and, therefore, the satisfaction and fullness factors.
I suggest slicing watermelon into quarters, length wise, then taking a quarter and carefully running a knife along the red center’s outer edge and the whiteness of the rind. Cut all the way around on both sides, so that the whole quarter of the red stuff could slip out. But don’t slip it out just yet. Next, cut the fruit from side to side, on both exposed sides of the quarter. Finally, cut across your long slices, from left to right, leaving about 1/2 to 2/3 of an inch between each slice.
Next, slide your perfectly prepared chunks into serving bowls. But before you serve the fruit, put the bowls into the freezer for 5-10 minutes to give the fruit an extra kick of crispiness.
When time to serve, pull the bowls from the freezer and serve with a napkin underneath (to keep the bowl from being too chilly to the touch). The watermelon chunks should have a minimal layer of frost that kicks up the flavor and the crunchy quotient, making for a texture-y, sweet and delicious eating experience. (Careful not to keep the chunks in the freezer too long or the pieces will freeze and require a little defrosting before being comfortably edible).
Saving the uneaten portion of the watermelon can be handled two ways — either by “chunking up” the remaining portion and putting it into airtight containers and storing in the fridge; or wrapping up the other half or quarters (rind and all) in cellophane wrap and then wrapping them in an additional plastic bag before putting into the fridge (to avoid having to clean up leaked watermelon juice at a later time). Plan on consuming the leftover fruit sooner rather than later to enjoy it at its freshest.
Watermelon. When enjoyed at its peak, it can kick ice cream’s butt anytime. Or, at the very least, tie it in deliciousness.
This Easter Sunday, why not borrow a little humor from comedian and actress Caroline Rhea, who reminds us that dieting is allowed to be a laughing matter. In fact, the more of a sense of humor we have in regard to ourselves and even our life goals, the better. Life and dieting don’t have to be so serious.
So instead of stressing out about chocolate and Easter candy today, take a breath. Inhale in. Exhale out. And remember today is just one day. Enjoy yourself. And if that means taking an extra power walk to balance out some of the extra calories, then do that (perhaps while listening to a podcast that makes you laugh). It’s all about balance… And humor… And loving yourself every step (and nibble) of the way!
I love treating myself at restaurants that use clean, organic ingredients and serve even decedent foods in healthy portion sizes (along with fresh fruit or vegetables). Pictured here is one of my recent breakfast meals: A Belgian Waffle with Berries and Cream at Le Pain Quotidien. (And no, this is not a paid endorsement!)
Bonus round when I can walk to and from the restaurant (in addition to other exercise I’ve already done or will do on the same day). This quick tip is proof that even those of us watching our (or trying to lose some) weight can live life to the fullest even when working toward our best selves!
Photo Source: @GreggMcBride/Instagram
Sometimes the smallest changes can bring about the biggest rewards. Recently, I put this to the test by adding chia seeds to my all-natural peanut butter. Although many people soak their chia seeds first, I added mine raw. I like the crunch factor. And the added calories are minimal. It really gives peanut butter a twist… And makes a healthy breakfast (like the one seen here) brand new again. After all, variety is the spice of life.
So what’s one of your regular, go-to healthy-eating meals that you can add a twist or a changeup to? Think about, then do it. While relying on the tried-and-true can be a stable way to keep the excess calories at bay, it’s still important to prevent food boredom from creeping into not just our palate, but our psyche.