by “ChefNurse” Ellen Minier, MSN, PMHNP-BC
It is the time of year where many of us are feeling the effects of overindulgence during the holiday season. In the past I have tried to make “resolutions” to drastically change the way I have been eating. The problem with resolutions is they are often broken as quickly as they are made. My approach to healthier living this year is more sustainable, more forgiving and more livable. The following are proven pathways to success in healthier intentions for the coming months.
- Use small, attainable goals that are specific. This paves the way for success and reduces frustration and the “giving up” mindset. For example, instead of making a vague statement such as “I am going to eat healthier” try being more specific. Instead, try “I will pack a salad with my lunch 3 days this week.”
- Use positivity instead of negativity when goal-setting. For example, instead of saying, “I can’t have any ice cream after dinner” try a more positive statement. Instead, try “I am going to have a small serving of low-fat frozen yogurt after dinner tonight.
- Embrace mindful eating. The term “mindfulness” goes back to the Zen-Buddhist concept and was defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.” The intention is to help us be in the present moment and pay attention to the food we’re eating as well as to encourage full presence for the eating experience. It inspires the participant to appreciate food rather than restricting it and denying oneself, by patiently appreciating each moment with full awareness. Mindfulness encourages people to be present in decisions about food and eating rather than being restricted. Easy mindfulness techniques to use while eating include turning off all screens (TV, cell phones) during mealtime, Use your senses while you eat. Notice the colors and textures of the food visually. Deeply inhale and take in the aroma of the food. Take one bite at a time and slowly experience the flavors. Pay close attention to when you are eating, frequently checking in with the way your body feels and paying attention to when it is time to stop.
- When cooking, make healthy substitutions (like swapping ground turkey for ground beef) and pump up the flavor profile of dishes by using ingredients like fresh herbs and garlic.
I hope you enjoy the following recipe for Italian-style turkey meatloaf. It is healthy and full of flavor.
Italian-style Turkey Meatloaf—serves 4
1 pound ground turkey-97% lean
1 egg, beaten
½ cup onions, finely chopped
½ cup red bell peppers, finely chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ cup plain panko bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons 2% milk
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
4 tablespoons ketchup-divided
Salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line sheet pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
- Saute onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and garlic in 1 teaspoon olive oil until soft. Set aside to cool.
- Combine panko bread crumbs, milk, egg, 2 tablespoons of the ketchup, and Parmesan cheese in mixing bowl and let sit until breadcrumbs soften.
- Add ground turkey, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and fresh rosemary to the breadcrumb mixture. Add cooled veggie mixture and mix until just combined (don’t overmix or meatloaf will be tough).
- Form into a loaf on a sheet pan lined with foil and sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Spread remaining 2 Tablespoons of ketchup over the top and bake at 350 degrees until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F. (approx. 30-45 minutes)
“I have been fortunate enough to have had 2 careers in my lifetime – psychiatry and culinary arts. I obtained my degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University in 1998 and worked as a chef for many years. When I became a mother, I was inspired to go back to school and began my path to become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Even though I left the professional world of cooking behind, I still absolutely love creating delicious and beautiful meals for my friends and family. I am so excited to share with you how food and mental wellness are connected to one another.”