THERE’S NO LOGIC BEHIND THE MODERN DAY PHILOSOPHY OF “eating healthy is hard to do”. It’s not hard, but it does take willpower and a few adjustments and by making those minor changes, you can actually make a huge difference in your health.
Let’s take one of America’s favorite dishes for example, good ole spaghetti. Why do we like it so much? Well, it’s pretty much the easiest meal to make. Most of us go right into the supermarket, buy the cheapest pack of spaghetti noodles (usually the generic brand), our favorite sauce (which is why we got generic spaghetti noodles – to afford the sauce) and the cheapest ground meat we can find (again, we really want to make sure the sauce tastes the best). We then rush home to prepare it and in about 25-30 minutes – BAM – we are instant chefs.
Now let’s go back to the supermarket and take it a little slower. We grab the spaghetti noodles, but instead of grabbing the cheapest brand, let’s just look at some other options. Most of the cheaper brands are made with enriched white flour. The problem with the word “enriched” is that you think it means something good— in the tricky food industry, not so much. Enriched flour is flour in which most of the natural vitamins and minerals have been extracted. This is done in order to give it a finer texture, increase shelf life and prevent bugs from eating it. The crazy thing is that even bugs will die if they attempt to live off it.
You read that right, bugs will die if they attempt to live off of it, yet the Food and Drug Administration says it’s perfectly fine for us. It makes absolutely no sense, but we do have options. Let your eyes wander over to whole-wheat noodles. Whole wheat is better for your body and your overall health – just read the ingredients label as some wheat is enriched as well. Okay, so maybe you’re not a fan of those noodles, there are still other healthier options. You can find some pretty inexpensive vegetable based noodles in most grocery stores. These are made from a variety of vegetables ranging from zucchini to tomatoes, and in some cases even both. Personally, I like the zucchini based pasta noodles with my spaghetti because it heightens the flavor of the sauce.
Now, if you have selected one of the better pasta choices then you have already upped the health ante on your easy spaghetti. Let’s just move on to your
favorite sauce. This is actually the easier part because most spaghetti sauces aren’t that bad for you health wise.
Again, look at the ingredients label to make sure you can pronounce al the ingredients and to ensure that it’s not loaded with added sugars or meat. The preloaded meat sauce just isn’t a good thing. I mean think about it, would you eat meat that has been sitting on a shelf in a jar for who knows how long? If you want to add a little health kick to your sauce, then get the ones with more chunky vegetables. The added veggies will be good for you. Spend a little money too, the more expensive the sauce, the better the quality of ingredients and the better the taste.
It’s finally time to select the meat for your spaghetti! I’m going to make this pretty simple, if you pinch a penny to save on anything, let it be so you can save to afford a better quality of meat. The truth is, the more expensive the meat, the better it is for you. Select a ground chuck over a ground beef. Yes, it will cost a little more, but the quality will be a lot healthier for you. Ground chuck will contain less fat and more nutrients and protein than ground beef. You can also look at ground turkey as an option. The average price of ground turkey is 35 cents lower than ground beef, and you can also get ground turkey in a fat free option for the same low price. Or why not try veggie style spaghetti, forgoing all the meat content for extra zucchini, or chunks of fresh cut tomatoes or even a few broccoli trees added for an extra protein kick. Why not try all three?
All in all, these simple things may only end up adding a couple of dollars to your spaghetti if you incorporate all three – maybe a few cents just trying one or two of the options. Either way, you’ll win by making a choice that will benefit you in the long-term commitment of health. Aren’t you worth those few extra dollars? I think you are. I think you’ve worked hard enough that it’s time you reward yourself with a simple and decent healthy meal. It’s time to treat yourself right – you deserve it!
By Alvin Temple
Alvin A. Temple is a wellness coach, owner of Pure Yoga.