Rose Reisman on Eating Healthy In the Winter

dogsYou are what you eat.  It’s a familiar refrain – often from a parent to a child with the intention of dissuading the child from eating someting bad for them.  But it’s kind of true.  Food can be a huge influence on mood and stamina throughout your day.  I will often see how food choices affect a client’s energy level during their workout.

If you lived in LA you might wake up, put on your runners, and jog over to your local juice bar to down a wheatgrass shot that would set the tone for your entire day.  Summer sun, hot days and briefer clothing always make us eat lighter. 

In Toronto however, we are more like the corpulent squirrels roaming everywhere in the city just before Winter.  Something about the grey and cold makes us adopt a hibernating mindset and resort to comfort food as our go-to options in the kitchen.  Do we eat heavier in the winter because we are wearing more layers and can hide underneath our clothes or is it simply a part of our East Coast DNA? 

I asked local celebrity author and caterer, Rose Reisman if she could share any tips for eating light in the Winter.  Here’s what she had to say:

The key is maintaining a healthy body weight especially during the winter when we tend to spend more time indoors and get less exercise.  

Here are my six tips for staying healthy and keeping those pounds from creeping on:

  1. Eat breakfast – include at least 3 of the 4 food groups.  Simple example is a bowl of low fat greek plain yogurt, fruit and oatmeal
  1. Increase your fibre including loads of fruit and veggies and whole grains.  Fibre fills you up and keeps you satiated and keeps your blood sugars level.
  1. Snack at least twice daily including 2 of the 4 food groups.  An apple and handful of nuts or ounce of cheese.
  1. Enjoy poultry and steak as long as it’s a lean cut.  Flank steak and top sirloin are lower fat cuts
  1. Restaurants are to be mindful of.  They always add excess salt and fat to your meal.  Be selective and ask how your protein is cooked and always ask for sauce on the side.
  1. Finally try going meatless twice a week.  Beans, lentils and quinoa are all protein based and even better for you than meat, fish or poultry.

Check out my nutritious and delicious quinoa salad:

Quinoa with Charred Corn, Spinach and Feta
Source: The Best of Rose Reisman (Whitecap Books) By: Rose Reisman

Makes 4 servings.

1 cup (250 mL) quinoa
2 cups (500 mL) low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
1½ cups (375 mL) corn
1 tsp (5 mL) vegetable oil
1 cup (250 mL) diced onion
½ cup (125 mL) diced red bell pepper
2 tsp (10 mL) crushed fresh garlic
½ tsp (2.5 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) seeded minced jalapeño pepper (or 1 tsp/5 mL hot chili sauce or paste)
4 cups (1 L) chopped fresh spinach
1 Tbsp (15 mL) water
1⁄3 cup (80 mL) chopped green onion
1⁄3 cup (80 mL) chopped cilantro or parsley
½ cup (125 mL) crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese (2 oz/60 g)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice

  1. Bring the quinoa and stock to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, just until the stock is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Remove from the heat and place in a serving bowl.
  2. Spray a small nonstick skillet with cooking oil and place over medium heat. Sauté the corn for approximately 8 minutes, just until browned, stirring constantly. Set aside.
  3. Spray a medium nonstick skillet with cooking oil, add the vegetable oil and place over medium heat. Add the diced onion, bell pepper, garlic, cumin and jalapeño pepper and sauté until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach and water. Cook until the spinach wilts, approximately 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat. Stir in the green onion, cilantro, feta, olive oil, lemon juice and sautéed corn. Add the mixture to the quinoa and mix well.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Make Ahead: Make early in the day and either serve at room temperature or gently reheat.

Nutritional Information per Serving:

Calories 379
Carbohydrates 53 g
Fibre 7.0 g
Protein 14 g
Total fat 13 g
Saturated fat 2.4 g
Cholesterol 5 mg
Sodium 436 mg

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