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Chef Stacy believes that cooking from scratch and using the best ingredients are the secrets to preparing delicious and memorable meals. She has created dozens of classes for the home chef and teaches students how to master culinary techniques and recipes in just one session. Read on to see what she's dishing up for The Oakland Press today....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Healthy Indulgence

Fall is in full swing, and the tempting aromas of comfort food fill the house as many of us head to the kitchen to make our favorite recipes. As we approach the holidays (they really are just around the corner), parties and get-together's give us ample avenues to pack on the pounds. With the kids back to school, and a hectic holiday schedule, there's less time for the gym. If you plan ahead and add a few tricks to your arsenal, January doesn't have to be a waistline wake-up call, if you head into the holidays with a plan.

Many dietitians, doctors, and gurus agree - the key to maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle is to set a reasonable framework wherein you can enjoy things in moderation, instead of depriving yourself until your willpower gives way to the fatigue of resisting all of your favorite seasonal foods.

One of the most important ways to fend off the "fat pants" is to make sure you eat foods high in fiber, protein, and packed with nutrients. A good strategy is to stock the fridge and pantry with some of your favorite seasonal, healthier foods like cashews, whole grain crackers, apples, pears, sharp cheeses (lots of flavor, so you tend to be satisfied with a smaller portion), chicken breasts, pre-cut vegetables (a no-excuse way to get the veggies into the rotation), etc.

In addition to those, consider another healthy treat - sushi. Sushi is a terrific combination of protein, carbohydrate, and vegetables. It's light, low calorie (avoid the tempura fried, and mayo-garnished types if you're going to be indulging elsewhere during the day), fresh, and filling. Be sure to get your sushi from a reputable source, where you know that the rolls are made fresh daily, and the highest quality ingredients are used. Some places carry sushi rolls prepared with brown rice, which is an even better way to enjoy this healthy snack or light meal.

Using these foods as snacks during the day is a great way to fight hunger, so that you don't over-do it at your next meal. Adopting this strategy will not only help you to avoid the holiday pounds, but also increase your energy all day, all year.

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