5 healthy eating habits to adopt this year

Whip up this wholesome dish this weekend.

It’s easy to take for granted the root of a New Year’s resolution — to be resolute. According to Janet Helm, registered dietician and author of “Cooking Light: The Food Lover’s Healthy Habits Cookbook,” getting healthy — and staying healthy all year — is about starting small. “Your goal should be attainable. If you have success, that fuels greater success and then you can celebrate the little victories.”

1. Cook more often
Firing up the stove — say, three times a week —  is the foundation of healthy eating. Eating out generally means you’ll consume at least 50 percent more calories, and cooking is truly the only way to control what you eat.

2. Eat a healthy breakfast
“When you start your day on the right foot, it leads to better habits throughout the day,” Helm says. Eating breakfast helps curb temptations for the rest of the day. Helm’s recipes point toward a breakfast with whole grains, fruits or vegetables (or both), lean protein and low-fat dairy.

3. Be a mindful eater
Mindful eating isn’t about saying “namaste” every time you chow down — it’s about recognizing when you’re hungry and when you’re full, Helm says. Diets that demonize certain foods make it hard to enjoy them at all, so Helm suggests eating all kinds of foods and focusing on controlling portions instead of restrictions.

4. Eat more fish
Follow the lead of Japan and Iceland — where the average life expectancy is 81 years — and incorporate more fish into your diet. Fish is lean protein that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, which protect against heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Eating fish two times a week is a reasonable and attainable goal.

5. Be a part-time vegetarian
With recipes like pasta with black kale, caramelized onions and parsnips (pictured) or veggie pizza, Helm suggests going veg once a week, for all three meals. The bonus is that vegetarian recipes encourage experimentation — so reach for the spice rack.

Weekend recipe

Pasta with Black Kale, Caramelized Onions, and Parsnips
 
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cups (1⁄3-inch) diagonally cut parsnip (about 1 pound)
21⁄2 cups sliced onion (about 1 large)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
8 cups trimmed chopped black kale (about 3 bunches)
1⁄2 cup organic vegetable broth
8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
1⁄2 cup (2 ounces) shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 

 
1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add parsnip; cook 12 minutes or until tender and browned, stir occasionally. Place in a bowl; keep warm.
 
2. Heat remaining oil in pan on medium-low heat. Add onion to pan; cook 20 minutes or until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in thyme and garlic; add wine; cook until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in kale and broth; cook, covered, until kale is tender; uncover; cook 4 minutes or until kale is very tender.
 
3. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a sieve over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Add drained pasta to kale mixture. Stir in parsnip, 1⁄2 cup reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup cheese, salt and pepper; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Add remaining 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid if needed to moisten. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.


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