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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: A Healthy, Happy New Year Begins Now

By Sherrie Norris

Countless individuals, myself included, plan to improve our way of life in this New Year. Many of us begin the same way — year after year – with a resolution to lose weight and put in more time on the treadmill or track. For most of us, too, it must be more than simply a January 1 plan that’s too easy to break.

Many of us could write a book on healthy eating, and most would agree it would be much easier to write it than to practice it, but let’s look at a few ideas that will help us kick-start this “new beginning!”

I hope you will join me on the journey, again. And most of all, I wish you a very happy and prosperous new year.

  • Eat five fruits and vegetables daily: When planning meals, take meat off center stage. Think of meat, poultry and seafood as complements to fruits, vegetables and grains.
  • Broil, bake, grill or steam food rather than fry it.
  • Sauté food in a nonstick skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  • De-fat dairy foods: Buy skim or one-percent fat milk; nonfat or low-fat yogurt; low-fat or fat-free ice cream or frozen yogurt, reduced-fat, fat-free, or part-skim milk cheeses, low-fat or fat-free sour cream and cream cheese.
  • Restock your pantry: Reduce dependence on fat and sodium to enhance flavor. Have a ready supply of onions, fresh garlic, ginger root, Dijon mustard, fresh lemons and limes, flavored vinegars, sherry or other cooking wines, evaporated skim milk, cornstarch, vegetable cooking spray and plenty of herbs and spices.
  • Snack smart: When you reach for a snack, it’s often a food’s characteristic — crunch, creamy or cold — that appeals to you, rather than the food itself. Once you’ve identified what you’re looking for, choose a healthy food that can satisfy your craving. Examples: crunchy: reduced-fat or fat-free crackers, chips, air-popped popcorn, raw vegetables, rice cakes, frozen grapes. Creamy or cold: nonfat frozen yogurt, fat-free ice cream, sorbet or fruit-sweetened juice bars.


“Miracle Soup”

Back by popular request and recommended for short-term use only to jump-start your weight-loss.

1 (46 oz.) can V8 juice (regular or low-sodium)

1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes

1 cup chopped celery

½ medium cabbage, red or green, chopped (approx. 6 cups)

1 cup chopped onions

1½ cups chopped carrots

2 medium red, green and/or yellow peppers, chopped

(approx. 2 cups)

The above ingredients are suggested for best results. The following are optional but will improve the taste of your soup:

1 envelope of onion soup mix

1 can lower sodium beef or chicken broth

1 beef bouillon cube or package

1 tsp. garlic powder

Black pepper to taste

Add any other seasonings, such as curry, parsley or other spices/herbs to suit your taste. Before adding salt, be sure to taste it since many items are already salty enough.

Chop and dice veggies. Add ingredients to a large pot. Add water if necessary to bring liquids to almost twice the depth of the veggies in the pot. Bring to a boil, and stir as needed. Cook on low heat for about 1½ to 2 hours or until veggies are soft.


Five Can Soup

(1 Weight Watcher’s point per serving)        

1 can Progresso Minestrone soup

1 can corn

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can mixed veggies

1 can red, black or white beans (your choice)

Mix well in large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a while to blend flavors.


Morning Power Smoothie

4 large strawberries

½ cup low-fat plain yogurt

1 cup fresh orange juice

1 medium size banana

½ tsp vanilla

1 Tbs. honey

Remove stems from strawberries and wash. Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth.

Makes two 8 oz. servings