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Three Keys to a Healthful Eating Practice

Making the best food choices to fit your lifestyle

Have you given up on eating a “clean” diet? Does it seem daunting to plan, buy and prepare for a nutritious, healthy diet? Do you think good eating means it’s not going to taste good?

The single most important component of a fitness lifestyle is healthful eating. That’s why most competitive athletes are careful, if not meticulous about what they put into their mouths. There is no substitute and it doesn’t have to be drudgery. You don’t have to be rich, be a master chef or spend hours in the grocery store and the kitchen to eat well.

So how do you do it?

I see three major issues with the challenges of eating well:

  1. Having a group of healthy meals you rotate that are easy to prepare and, ideally, can stretch to a few or several meals.
  2. Having multiple quick or no-prep veggie options to pair with grains and proteins or eat as snacks.
  3. Knowing where to find healthy foods when you’re out and on the run.

The pictures above represent examples of each. Here’s a brief description of each:

Tomato and Carrot Penne Pasta Salad

I boil a box of this pasta I got from Target, while slicing and browning some chicken apple sausage in a fry pan (no oil necessary – enough is in the sausage itself.) While both  of these are cooking, I pop some diced broccoli and cauliflower in a bowl and into the microwave with some raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing. I set that aside and thaw some frozen chopped spinach (also in the microwave). When the pasta is done, I combine all the ingredients with oil-packed, sun dried julienne cut tomatoes and more dressing to taste and consistency. It tastes great warm but even better after a day or so in the refrigerator, and makes a great lunch or dinner.

Brussels Sprouts with halved small Red Potatoes

This can be combined with any dinner protein (fish, beef, poultry, tofu) and is ridiculously simple. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then, after cutting the bases and halving the sprouts and spuds, place them on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Then simply drizzle on olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper and put it in the oven. Leave in for about 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven and then amount of veggies on the sheet. Test whether it needs to stay in longer by look, taste and texture. Delicious.

Acai Bowl at Juice and Java Express (North side of Angela St. between First and Main in Pleasanton).

The staff member told us the sorbet-like delectable treat was Acai berries, blueberries, frozen bananas, coconut, and almond milk. It was topped with some tasty, fresh granola and sliced bananas. Melissa and I shared it and it fueled our walk through the neighborhood just east of Main Street on a gorgeous mild Sunday afternoon.

There are countless options in each of these categories you can build on and enjoy to move toward a healthier eating lifestyle. I’ll share more of these ideas in the coming weeks.

Share yours with Patch.com readers too! Tell us in the comments section.

Dan is a nationally certified personal fitness trainer and former continuing education faculty member of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise. He is the owner and head trainer at Tri Valley Trainer in Pleasanton, which provides personal and small group fitness training and nutrition guidance. He can be reached at Dan@TriValleyTrainer.com

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