Once again, a week after the New Year, it is time to reckon with broken resolutions. Eating more healthfully has always appeared on my annual list of well-intended commitments. Last year, I had reasonable success with two ways to accomplish this, so I want to share them.

My first resolution was to eat more fresh fruit. When I made it, I put a bowl of apples on a table near the front door. Every day, on the way out, I took one and ate it on the way to where I was going.

With this apple, plus the fruit I have at breakfast, in a smoothie or on cereal, and as a snack before bed, I was eating at least three servings of fruit a day. This lasted until sometime in February, a record for my keeping a New Year's resolution. You may do even better.

To your bowl of apples, you can add other seasonal fruits easy to eat on the move, like grapes, cherries and berries, already packed in a bag and ready to go.

The second resolution, to eat more vegetables, has been more successful. I found quick ways to include them in meals, relying on one-dish cooking, particularly stir-frys. This strategy has produced a permanent increase in my vegetable consumption. So have a few creative discoveries.

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I've found that stir-fry and soy sauce need not be synonymous. Sometimes I use Mediterranean ingredients and seasonings, as in this week's Italian stir-fry. Other times, I toss bite-size pieces of boneless chicken, canned black beans, chopped onion and garlic, corn and jalapenos into the wok, with a dollop of salsa at the end. After cleaning what was becoming a permanent oil-slick on the stove, I tried using a skillet, especially for stir-frys with non-Asian ingredients. As long as your stove can be turned up to super-hot, this produces a perfect stir-fry, with less mess than cooking in a wok.

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Italian Stir-Fry

Makes 4 servings.

  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut in 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut in 1- inch pieces
  • 1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise, cut in 3/4-inch slices
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 large (about 3/4 lb.) portobello mushrooms, stemmed, cut in 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice

Directions

  1. Place a large skillet over high heat. Add oil, swirl to coat the pan and heat oil until very hot. Add chicken and stir-fry until it loses its pink color. With a slotted spoon, remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  2. Add red peppers, zucchini and garlic to the pan. Stir-fry until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms. Stir-fry until they release their liquid, about 2 minutes.
  3. Return chicken to the pan. Add basil, oregano, red pepper and chicken broth. Stir-fry until chicken is opaque all the way through, about 4 minutes. Add cheese and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve immediately over brown rice, including juices from the pan.

Nutritional Info Per Serving:
272 calories,
6 g. total fat (1 g. saturated fat),
28 g. carbohydrate,
25 g. protein,
3 g. dietary fiber,
179 mg. sodium

Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Bread/Starch, 3 Vegetable, 3 Low-Fat Meat


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