It’s Your Health: Trimming down after holidays — part 2

We’re a finicky lot when it comes to food. Many equate healthy with unappetizing. If we omit butter and heavy sauces, it will be bland. Or we get in a rut eating the same things and never try something different. Last week I suggested nutritious alternatives to help you drop a few holiday pounds without sacrificing flavor. This week I’ll include some of my favorite easy, delicious, better-for-you edibles.

If a doughnut or Danish is your idea of breakfast, think what it’s doing to your body. That sugar rush won’t carry you through the day. Fruit, yogurt, and cereal are better choices.

Instead of buying granola, make your own. At least you’ll know exactly what’s in it. Put some in a snack size baggie for an afternoon energy boost wherever you are.


5 cups rolled oats

Wheat germ (flax, etc)

Small splash of canola or vegetable oil (less than ¼ cup)

Water to slightly moisten

Nutmeg and cinnamon

Stir and spread on 2 cookie sheets. Bake 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Remove, stir, return to oven for 20 or more minutes depending on how crisp you like it. Remove from oven and add any or all of the following: Raisins, cranberries, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds. Stir, cool, and store in large zip-lock bags, plastic or glass container.

If you crave something sweet mid-morning, spread peanut butter on a few pitted dates (fiber and protein). I don’t understand why people buy the jar kind when it’s so simple to make your own. If that’s too labor-intensive, Publix has freshly ground peanut butter in the deli section.

We love our pizza but unless homemade, it’s often artery clogging. Make the dough in your bread machine but replace one cup of white flour with whole wheat and add wheat germ. Toss in fresh rosemary or other favorite herbs. I always add additional extra virgin olive oil. The crust turns out perfectly. Top with a small can of tomato sauce, more herbs, onions and garlic, a small amount of shredded cheese or goat cheese, mushrooms and spinach. A delicious, healthy meal. Make an extra pie to cut in pieces and freeze. Wrap separately and place in a large freezer bag.

A note about mushrooms. This fungus is the best source of ergothioneine, an antioxidant that wards off diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Oyster, crimini, portobello, and even button mushrooms are high in selenium too, which protects cells from air pollution and UV rays.

Key lime pie is a Florida standard and so simple to make. Reduce the fat and calories without losing the rich tangy taste with the following recipe:

One low fat 9 inch graham cracker pie shell (or make your own)

One 14 oz can non-fat condensed milk

2 or 3 egg yolks

½ cup or more Nellie and Joe’s Key West lime juice

Combine and blend until smooth. Pour into pie shell and bake 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes at room temperature and then refrigerate. Garnish with lime slices before serving.

Note: I like a tart pie so I fill the milk can half full of Key lime juice instead of measuring half cup.

Trimming fat and calories is not difficult. Experiment and expand your culinary world. Adopt a regular exercise program. You’ll feel and look vibrant.


Kay Sager is a certified fitness and aquatic specialist living at Port of the Islands. She is a personal trainer using land and water fitness and teaches swimming. She also has written articles for Physician and Sports Medicine among other publications. Kay can be reached by e-mail:

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