Diet makeover

Due to the popularity of the 2-fruits-and-5-vegetables campaign of the government a couple of years back, we attempted to change our mostly meat diet to a healthier one. That previous attempt lasted all of 2 weeks and we were back to our old habits in no time. Needless to say, our girth continued to increase with no end in sight.

One of the difficulties in our previous attempt of incorporating fruits and vegetables is the lack of variety – there were few recipes that I could make quickly that would feature vegetables. Vegies also meant hard work as there’s all the peeling, washing, slicing and chopping involved. It just took too much time and effort and after a long day at the office, who really needs that?

Then there’s only a few Filipino dishes that I could find that would have vegetables in them and would only use things that are readily available in the groceries here. Another difficulty is hubby’s insistence of avoiding some vegetables (squash/pumpkin, celery, etc) so I would either have to substitute or forgo them altogether.

Another thing is that we have to watch our budget, certain fruits and vegetables are only cheap when they are in season and we can’t afford buying the same kind of produce year-round. Clearly, we have to at least try some fruits and vegetables that are currently in season that we could buy for less.

With those conditions in mind, I embarked on another attempt at changing our eating habits last month. I’d like to lose weight and don’t mind having to strategize to achieve that goal. In addition to exercising daily, I frequented recipe collection sites, bento box blogs, borrowed cookbooks from the library and started this whole project. I started at the Better Health Channel site to see what fruits and vegetables are currently in season and then searched for recipes featuring a certain fruit/vegetable from Allrecipes.com.

After that, it’s a matter of choosing the recipes to try, drawing up the grocery list, buying the ingredients, preparing and cooking and finally, the taste test. I specifically targeted recipes that received good ratings, read the comments to improve the recipe and sometimes tweaked the amounts of the recipe to suit our tastes.

With all this experimentation, we found some great recipes and some not-so-great ones too that we won’t be making again. Among our new favourites are Zucchini Corn Fritters, Chicken Jambalaya, Harvested Chicken Stew, Chicken Claridge Stew and Cream of Broccoli Soup. For Filipino style dishes, we go for new favourites Tuna Lumpia, Chicken Chop Suey, 10-minute stir-fry and basic stir-fries that feature one main vegetable with some minced or diced meat.

We also bought a small but handy food processor to help with the slicing and grating. Unfortunately, it can’t dice things so I still have to do those by hand (slowly I might add, as I sliced a deep cut into one of my fingers about a fortnight ago and don’t want a repeat). I also learned to cheat in some ways in that I could finely chop a vegetable that hubby isn’t keen on and he sometimes might not even notice that it’s there. However, I still have to watch its amount in proportion with the other ingredients or the dish would most likely be deemed not-so-great.

Even if we have a new-found appreciation of vegetables, we’re still lagging behind in our fruit consumption. It has to be a concious effort for both of us to reach for a fruit, peel, wash and eat it. Somehow, it seems like too much work or we sometimes forget about it since we haven’t formed that habit yet. One work-around I’ve tried is using fruits to make muffins or bread. My first attempt wasn’t so successful and we have yet to find a favourite fruit recipe.

A good outcome of this project is that we’re eating healthily, enjoying our food more, discovering new tastes and textures and with rising food prices, save some money on produce that are in season. If you’re wondering, I still haven’t lost a lot of weight (only about a kilo) but hubby has lost 2 kilos without doing anything different than his normal routine!

So, does anyone have some tips on how to creatively incorporate fruits and vegies in everyday life without too much hassle?

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Published in: on May 6, 2008 at 7:37 am  Comments (3)  

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m not a big fan of fruit myself, but when mixed in with yogurt, I can’t stop eating.

  2. @alma, thanks for the suggestion. I may just try that 🙂

  3. i dont like apples that much but i found a way to have them: Apple Crumble. It is easy to prepare and for a healthier one, I just reduce the sugar.


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