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Fresh Thinking, Fresh Eating

Fresh Thinking, Fresh Eating


The arrival of spring and summer can motivate us to take on a fresh attitude about many things. Take advantage of this feeling to make an inventory of your diet and exercise routine and add something new. With a wider variety of fruits and vegetables showing up in markets across the country, use this time of fresh thinking to try something new in your diet. For a jolt of antioxidants choose colorful items like strawberries or cantaloupe. If you are concerned about your body's ability to deal with carbohydrates, try any of the variety of apples or pears that have a mild blood-sugar response. Here are a couple of simple snack recipes: Apple Snack 1 cup unsweetened applesauce 1 cup creamed nonfat or low-fat cottage cheese 1 teaspoon vanilla Mix applesauce with vanilla. Place applesauce and cottage cheese side by side in a bowl and gently draw a spoon through from side to side in an s shape to swirl the two together without fully mixing. Optional: Top with a small sprinkle of cinnamon or a swirl of caramel ice cream topping. Italian Pears 3'4 canned pear halves, drained (get the ones canned in juice or poach your own) 1/4 cup walnut pieces 2 tablespoons honey 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, shredded Place the drained or poached pear halves on a salad plate. Sprinkle with walnut pieces and shredded parmesan cheese. Drizzle with honey. Optional: Place the pears, walnuts, and cheese on a bed of lettuce or mixed greens to make a salad. Most vegetables are starting to look more enticing as well at this time of year. Heavy-duty, nutrient-dense veggies include things like asparagus, tomatoes, and dark green leafy items. Try your favorite recipes or take a look at these two suggestions: Bruschetta 1 tablespoon diced olives (small can of diced or dice your favorite type of olive) 1 Italian pear tomato, diced 1/4 teaspoon of garlic salt or 1 clove of crushed garlic 1/4 cup olive oil 4 slices of french baguette bread, sliced on an angle and lightly toasted Mix together the olives, tomato, and garlic and set aside. Arrange the toasted baguette slices on a small plate. Brush the top of the slices with olive oil. Spoon the olive-tomato mixture on top of the slices. Optional: Use flavored olive oils; add shredded cheese; broil the assembled bruschetta lightly before serving; add fresh ground pepper on top. Asparagus Salad 4 stalks asparagus, lightly steamed or microwaved to preference (or canned) 1 cup baby spinach leaves 10 grape tomatoes, halved 2'3 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing 1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese Place the well-cleaned and dried spinach leaves on a salad plate. Thinly slice the asparagus the long way (for steamed or microwaved asparagus, you can use a potato peeler to slice) and curl the slices artistically on top of the spinach. Place the halved grape tomatoes, sliced side up, around the top of the salad. Sprinkle with balsamic vinaigrette (or other salad dressing) and top with shredded cheese. Optional: Serve with a buttered roll. Finally, on the exercise front, it may be a good time to add a brisk walk in the fresh air. If you are a morning person, take a one- or two-mile jaunt. This may take up 20 to 40 minutes of your morning, but it should set you up for an energetic day. If you are not a morning person'and especially if you have a desk job'try trimming the time you spend eating lunch a bit to take a quick one-mile jaunt before heading back to work. For you nighttime people, a stop for club soda with a twist before a quick couple of dances after work will help to keep you feeling fit as well as keep you out of rush hour traffic before heading home to a later and maybe lighter dinner. Fields-Gardner is the director of services for The Cutting Edge, an HIV nutrition company in the Chicago area. She is a member of the International AIDS Society and the American Dietetic Association's Dietetic Practice Group on HIV and AIDS. She has written a book on HIV medications and a guide to nutritional management of HIV for clinicians.

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Cade Fields-Gardner