As I've touched on before, I don't believe in dietary restrictions. I hated the way I felt when I sat down for dinner while on a diet, filled with anxiety. "I can have two spoon fulls of that pasta and only one-third of that parmesean crusted steak." The dieter's mind is always calculating, constantly negotiating, and never full. Now, I only believe in eating seasonal, eating organic, eating local, and eating balanced. The first three we stick to as much as we can (afford) but the last one we live by. I refuse to say, "no carbs," "no fat," "no calories," "no sugar." I want my children to always have a positive attitude towards food. I want it to be a celebration. I want them to appreciate good nutrition and full bellies.
The way I tend to manage our nutrition? Balance. If we have a heavy pasta dish, it will be the only one in a seven day span. If I just have to try a new pork tenderloin recipe, we won't see another piece of heavy meat for days. We try to eat fish at least two nights a week because it lightens up a meal (without removing the protein completely) and I want to encourage my kids to like seafood (yes, I have very strange parenting priorities.) Along with these meat-centric dinners we also have vegetarian meals twice a week.
I don't do diets. To me, diets are like rules, so restricting and uncomfortable. I have tried them before, many times, and it has never looked good on me. I grew up in a LOW-FAT household. All of our dairy products were low-fat or fat-free, even cheese. Our snacks were always of the diet variety and there was never a stick of real butter to be found. Those days are gone. If you eat in balance, I believe you can have everything you want and you certainly don't need to torture yourself with the dry, waxy unnatural-ness that is NONFAT CHEDDAR, bleh. If you are trying to live a more healthful life (be it a New Year's resolution, or a post-Valentine's Day slim-down), I implore you - eat in balance. Here's a lovely light meal that my family enjoys on a regular basis, when we're (I'm) feeling a little... heavier.
Cod with Leeks & Cherry Tomatoes - Martha Stewart: Every Day Food
I have used tilapia and cod, both were good. The flavor that really stands out in this dinner is the lemon. The zest and juice mingle with the leeks and tomatoes and create a bright and citrusy broth. The vegetables are like a built-in side item, all there in that one baking dish. And, it's a nice fresh and light change in the midst of heavy braises and winter stews. Of course we can't ever be overly healthful so mama broiled a few baguette rounds, rubbed them with garlic and then sprinkled them with fresh grated parmesean and sea salt. They sopped up the broth beautifully.
Need some help prepping leeks?
1) Slice the leeks into 1/2 inch rounds, or whatever is suggested by the recipe.
2) Place rounds in your largest mixing bowl. Shoosh them around with your fingertips for a minute or so, being careful to separate the rounds.
3) Wait a few minutes while the sand and dirt settles to the bottom of the bowl. Using a strainer, or your hands, pull the leeks off the water's surface and place them on a paper towel to drain.
4) If you find there is a lot of grit in the bottom of your bowl, you may want to rinse out the bowl and repeat the process.