You may be happy to learn that my family survived the Daniel Fast we participated in last month — even my Chinese exchange student, who had a momentary worry about it.
However, after eating all fruits and vegetables and healthy food items, I realized how good I felt.
Wanting to keep up the momentum, I decided to continue some of the healthy habits.
In the past, the most difficult thing for me, in trying to adhere to a healthier eating plan, was in the preparation for healthy meals — and perhaps my occasional closet indulgence of cake or cookies, or those dreadful, yet delightful little Girl Scout Cookies.
Ever notice how those boxes of sugared evil happen to circulate right around the time that people fall off the diet wagon? It’s no wonder, because there are very few people who can resist the temptation of the tasty little morsels being sold by the cutest doe-eyed little girls.
Another difficulty in staying on the healthy eating path was preparing something healthy only for me while everyone else continued eating their normal junk. I felt guilty for spending so much money on vegetables, fruits and lean meats.
So, there were a few things that I learned while on the Daniel Fast, plus some things I enjoyed in the past that I’d like to share.
My family happens to eat a lot of pasta, and it’s not just because we have a noodle-loving Italian under our roof.
We tend to all love the carb-loaded gems, but because I’m the kind of mom that really cares about serving up as much as the food groups as I can, I started serving salad with those heavier meals, and the kids took to it, better than I thought they would.
I found that buying a bag of a prepared salad blend wasn’t too expensive and was easy to package in the square-shaped snack-sized baggies sold at Wal-Mart.
I can get about 10 individual bags out of a package of the prepared salad. Adding a small container of ranch, the kids, or my husband and I, can grab-and-go and enjoy a healthy dose of vegetables for lunch.
Another healthy lunch, or even breakfast item, that I used to prepare a couple of years ago, is another new fave on the shelf of my refrigerator: a yogurt parfait.
First, I choose my frozen fruit. I prefer frozen strawberries and blueberries. I toss the strawberries into my food processor to chop into smaller chunks, and then combine them with the blueberries.
Using H-E-B’s 8 oz. snack-sized containers, place about ¼ to 1/3 of a cup of the fruit mixture in the bottom of the cup and drizzle with about a teaspoon of honey.
Next, I add about ¾ cup of vanilla flavored Greek yogurt. When it’s time to eat them, I recommend crumbling an oat and honey crunchy granola bar and adding it to the top of the yogurt. When you stir, the fruit incorporates into the yogurt, giving you a taste of the sweet berry in every bite, and the granola gives it a fun crunch. They keep in the refrigerator for about a week.
Another favorite, and delicious treat is mixing some peanut butter, quick oats, milk powder, honey and semi-sweet chocolate chips together, then rolling into small, bite-sized balls.
Refrigerate, and then indulge in the treats. They taste like a candy married a cookie and had a delicious little baby, and the best part is that they’re healthy!
Taking a few moments on Sunday night can set you and your family up for healthy eating all week long, without breaking the bank, or your back.
Jennifer Watson is a Herald correspondent.