Monday, July 01, 2013


How do you eat when no one is watching?

Last week, my husband confessed to me that when I am working on a weekend and he has to fend for himself, a friend provides him with the fixings for a peanut butter and grape jelly on white bread sandwich (“none of that all-natural stuff”). Then he washes it down with a diet cola.

I felt a little faint hearing that, but I figure if that’s his worst crime, I have it pretty lucky.  But I am not deterred. I will still continue on my quest to provide healthy, yet tasty meals for the family.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has created an easy to navigate its website, It is chock full of ideas, recipes and advice on nutrition and food preparation. 

The basis of the food guidance system is the “My Plate” program.  This is an updated, easy-to-follow replacement of the previous “My Pyramid” system, which I could never understand anyway.  “My Plate” illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet using a familiar image — a place setting for a meal.

One of the links, “Ten Tips Nutrition Education Series,” provides a wealth of information on all types of topics.  One of my favorites is “Ten Tips to Liven Up Your Meals With Vegetables and Fruits.” I thought Tip #1 might appeal to my husband, especially when I am not home to prepare the meal:
Fire up the grill

•  Use the grill to cook vegetables and fruits
•  Try grilling mushrooms, carrots, peppers, or potatoes on a kabob skewer
•  Brush with oil to keep them from drying out
•  Grilled fruits like peaches, pineapple, or mangos add great flavor to a cookout.

We all know it’s important to eat tasty and nutritious meals for good health and vitality...most of the time.  But it’s also important to occasionally treat ourselves to favorite “forbidden” foods like grape jelly, white bread and cola.

My secret treat is chocolate-covered macaroons, but I am not quite ready to confess that one to my husband.

Alice Facente is a community education nurse for the Backus Health System. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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