My Healthy Life

From p. 32 of the April/May 2008 Issue of Healthy Cooking

Heather Byers

Heather Byers

Learn this reader's secrets to eating right and staying fit.

We featured Heather Byers from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in the April/May issue of Healthy Cooking. Here are some of her tried-and-true tips on staying healthy, as well as the grocery list you can use to make her fabulous meal.

Make pretty plates. To keep her family eating right, Heather thinks about color and presentation when planning meals. "Colorful plates of food tend to include a variety of vitamins and minerals and also look more appealing," she says.

Buy fresh. "Throughout the growing seasons, I get almost all of my produce from local farmers' markets," explains Heather. "Farm-fresh produce tastes so unbelievable that I don't need to do much more than grill or steam it, if I cook it at all. This keeps me from heating up the house by cooking veggies."

Switch over. Heather suggests switching from chicken thighs to chicken breasts and from whole milk to 2 percent or fat-free milk. The easy changes result in calories and fat saved, and if you make the switch gradually, your family will hardly notice the difference.

Have healthy snacks on hand. "Snack on fruits and veggies," says Heather. "Make it easy by keeping carrots, celery, peppers or the veggies you like cut up and ready, so when that snack attack hits, they're convenient."

Keep flavor in mind. "We're big garlic fans and I always have a bottle of minced garlic or a head of garlic in the fridge. It adds a lot of flavor to nearly everything," writes Heather.

Have the right cooking tools. "Nonstick skillets and grill pans are a favorite healthy cooking tool, hands down," Heather says. "They've helped me cut my use of oil and butter to almost zero. It's the best money we've ever spent."

Treat yourself. "Whip up instant pudding using fat-free milk. We're particularly fond of any and all chocolate varieties. This low-cal dessert takes little time or effort," suggests Heather.

Grocery List:

Print a copy of this list before you head out to the supermarket. It offers all of the ingredients you need to prepare the three recipes noted above.

Kitchen Staples
garlic powder
cayenne pepper
olive oil

2 medium tomatoes
4 medium potatoes
1/2 cup torn curly endive
1 small bunch celery
1 small head curly endive
1 small bunch carrots
1 small head romaine lettuce

1 pound extra-lean ground turkey

1 jar (16 ounces) salsa
1 package (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 container (8 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream
1 package hamburger buns
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn
1 can (15 ounces) black beans
1 bottle (8 ounces) prepared reduced-fat ranch salad dressing