I didn’t appreciate the numerous lovable qualities of dried beans until my college years, when I was living on my own in a house with several other women, all of us strapped for cash. As soon as we discovered beans are a tasty, economical and nutrient-rich alternative to animal-based protein, they began turning up at the center of our plates with real regularity.
Madame Gabillet was hosting me for my college semester abroad in France, and she welcomed me pretty much right off the plane into her chilly, dark home. Dinner was waiting, so we sat right down and began the meal. That’s when I saw a vegetable I didn’t recognize.
Eating a salad a day is a habit I adopted a while back to help me automate the eating of raw veggies. Either my lunch or my dinner usually is built around some sort of salad. And I try to stay true to the spirit of healthier eating when I do so. Meaning fried chicken tenders propped on top of a bed of greens doesn’t quite cut it.
Remember the days when you knew spring was coming by the arrival of asparagus at the grocer? These days, fresh asparagus is available almost all year. But still, my heart leaps with joy the first moment I see asparagus for less than $3 a pound. Then it is officially spring!
Brussels sprouts are the tiniest member of the cabbage family. And I’ll confess that I used to hate them. In the old days, they were not only boiled, but boiled to death, which generated a truly unfortunate aroma. Happily, intrepid chefs in recent years have managed to reinvent (not to say redeem) these little stinkers in any number of ways.
Celery root is a good source of filling fiber and vitamin C, but the big nutritional selling point is the amount of vitamin K packed into this ugly little veggie, with just one serving giving us about half our daily requirement, an important role in blood and bone health.
Oatmeal is the vanilla ice cream of the breakfast world. Some of us like it plain and straight up, appreciating its clean, oaty flavor, its firm yet giving texture, the way it cloyingly stays in your mouth just a second longer than you think it should.
The trick to making a nutritious breakfast a daily habit is never being more than 60 seconds away from something healthy. Because in the morning rush, it’s too easy to grab something unhealthy.
1 sleeve Ritz crackers
My comfort food of choice? Fried udon noodles with red peppers and shrimp, all slathered in a spicy peanut sauce. It’s simple. It’s filling. It’s addictive and satisfying.