Simple substitutions to make healthy eating easy

With the school year in full swing and the kids going in all different directions with after school activities, getting the family to eat healthy food isn't always easy. The ultimate goal for parents is to not rely on the drive-thru, but when people are hungry and there's no time to spare, eating unhealthy happens.

Dr. Diana Bitner, a nationally recognized menopause specialist from Spectrum Health, says eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive or take an excessive amount of time. She, along with nurse practitioner Julie Ondersma, stopped by the studio to show viewers simple substitutions and solutions to eating better.

Dr. Bitner's rule of thumb when it comes to healthy eating is to think about the plate like an artist’s palette, and put lots of colors on it. White carbs or starch is not as healthy as colored carbs, so sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat tortillas, quinoa, brown rice pasta, or whole wheat or brown rice crackers are better options. These choices are yummy and give good energy without going straight to fat.

Julie also shared one of her favorite recipes called “Greenwell Salad” from the Greenwell restaurant in Grand Rapids.

Greenwell Salad

  • 1 LB mixed greens
  • 2 onions thinly sliced
  • I T butter
  • 2 sliced pears
  • 2 cups red grapes
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cut walnut
  • 4 oz crumbled goat cheese

Maple vinaigrette

  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 T Dijon
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. First, caramelize the onions. Cook for 45 minutes in the butter over low heat and then cool. Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a jar, and toss all together.
  2. This salad can be mixed with cooked chicken for a healthy supper, and then also the chicken served with the salad and roasted sweet potatoes for the rest of the family. Leftovers can be packed for lunch with a whole wheat wrap. Easy chicken with incredible flavor is to roast the chicken breasts in a bit of olive oil, salt, and previously roasted garlic for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. The sweet potatoes take about an hour, so these can be prepared earlier, even on the weekend and stored in the fridge in a big baggie.

To set up an appointment with Dr. Bitner or her staff, call (616)267-8520. Their office is located at 3800 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Suite A., Grand Rapids. Make sure to visit her blog at healthbeat.spectrumhealth.org/blogs.

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