Eat Healthy in the New Year

By Alia Akkam / September 7, 2011

eat healthyResolve to eat healthy in the new year. As a chef and most importantly a spa chef, I am continuously asked which foods are healthiest and how to prepare healthier meals. I tell everyone after understanding which ingredients are best to purchase and ingest, that they need to practice the “Shut & Move” method. In simple terms:

• Eat with patience.
• Enjoy and know what you are eating.
• Practice moderation, then…
• Push yourself away from the table
… and don’t forget to exercise daily.

When planning a menu for the day or week, consider the meal and what the plate is going to look like. The vegetable and grains or starch are the “star” and should be three quarters of the plate. The protein or “co-star” should be 4 to 5 ounces. I always look for vegetables with colors to drive my dish—deep, dark greens to very bright and brilliant red, to deep purple. This ensures not only a beautiful plate, but builds a storehouse of antioxidants.With this in mind, if you don’t have the opportunity to grow your own veggies or go to a farmers market, push that shopping cart to pick up some super foods in the produce section.

Stay in season, stay organic, and stay away from packaged foods.

Pick up a couple bunches of different greens and experiment. I love loose carrots, sweet potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, fresh herbs, garlic, and onions. Pick up some seasonal fruit, citrus, oranges, lemons, limes. When shopping for whole grains and beans look for organic brown, Japanese or Himalayan rice, black beans, lentils, and quinoa—all wonderfully easy to make and so great for you.

Proteins are where I recommend having some self-control. Try limiting the use of beef or red meat. Include wild caught fish—all high in omega 3s—such as salmon, trout, flounder, sea bass, and oysters, plus free-range chicken or soy-based tofu. Grill to save nutrients, and I recommend experimenting with subtle flavor differences like avocado, olive, and grape seed oils (and they’re much better for you).

Remember to keep on cooking healthy!

Alia Akkam
Alia Akkam

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