Beth Aldrich has a passion for healthy living and nutritious eating and believes that such a lifestyle trickles down to the little ones at home. Strict diets that eliminate foods you love are hard to follow and hard to develop into permanent habits. As a mother of three, she realizes that in the real world, there has to be a balance — one that makes you want to eat food that is good for you and is practical in today's fast-paced world.
In her new book, "Real Moms Love to Eat: How to Conduct a Love Affair with Food, Lose Weight, and Feel Fabulous," written with co-author Eve Adamson, Aldrich lays out the tools for busy parents to take on a lifestyle makeover that doesn't require you to ditch your favorite foods. With a 10-week plan, readers can take baby steps toward living a healthier life while still finding pleasure at mealtime.
With little exercises of writing down food habits, tips on spicing up bland foods and instruction on using foods that may be new to you, (What the heck do you do with a pomegranate, anyway?) it's like it's a little nudge from a girlfriend rather than a dry, intimidating self-help book with hard-core expert ultimatums.
After a life-changing car accident, Beth Aldrich re-evaluated her life and began studies to become a certified holistic health counselor, training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City, with such gurus in the field as Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr Andrew Weil, Dr Barry Sears, Dr. Walter Willet, Dr. Marion Nestle, Geneen Roth and Deepak Chopra.
Besides offering a 10-week process to overhauling habits in and out of the kitchen, the book contains a 21-day meal planning guide that covers all meals and snacks, along with recipes, to help moms put that new eating lifestyle into action.
Her advice for the top three things moms can do to be healthier: "Drink enough water daily. Watch portions — two fist-sized portions at each meal. And greens are key. They have loads of fiber, nutrients and they can be detoxifying," Aldrich said.
Q: How would you describe this book? At first glance it seems like part diet book/part cookbook/part wellness guide?
A: This book is an overall healthy lifestyle book with a side effect of weight loss (if you need to lose weight). It offers funny stories that inspire moms to get back in touch with their relationship and memories with food and develop healthy, life-long habits that will serve them throughout their life.
Q: What is it about this food planning that makes it doable for busy moms?
A: When moms take the time once a week to make a weekly plan, it ends up saving them time throughout the week. They can implement cooking once, eating twice, thrice concepts, they can plan ahead with pre-packaged snacks and they can balance out the meat/vegetable ratios. Family systems and schedules make everything run smoothly, including mealtimes.
Q: What are some of the most important lifestyle alterations that you think moms must make to keep healthy?
A: One of the most important lifestyle alterations moms can make is to eat smaller portions and always consume water daily. Often, moms actually under-eat, which then leads to overeating unhealthy, quick-fix options later in the day. With planned out, balanced meals that include healthy fats, protein and fiber, moms can eat foods they love while still maintaining optimum healthy. Each person's body, shape and frame varies so I don't like to go with goal weights, rather, I ask moms, "At what weight do you have a good amount of energy and rarely get sick?" This weight is one they can maintain while eating a balanced diet, daily exercise and can sustain throughout the day without feeling low drops in energy.
Here are some recipes from "Real Moms Love to Eat: How to Conduct a Love Affair with Food, Lose Weight, and Feel Fabulous."
Superfast Pureed White Bean Soup with Leeks and Carrots
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 whole leek stalks, sliced into thin rounds
Sea salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 whole carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cans (19 ounces each) organic cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Juice from 1 whole lemon
3 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Pacific Natural Foods)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
DIRECTIONS: Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large soup pot. Add the leeks and sauté, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they just begin to soften. Season leeks with salt and white pepper to taste. Add the garlic and carrots; cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beans, lemon juice and vegetable broth. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the parsley. Use a handheld immersion blender to process soup into a creamy puree (or puree a little bit at a time in a regular blender, but be careful blending hot soup!). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, as a side to the salmon. (Save a serving leftover soup for tomorrow's lunch.)
Makes 4 servings.
Lime-Crusted Spiced Salmon
Extra virgin olive oil (to grease the pan)
1-1/2 pounds wild salmon fillets
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon Jamaican curry powder (optional)
2 teaspoon lime zest (grated from a fresh organic lime)
1/2 cup whole-wheat panko crumbs (such as Ian's Natural Foods)
1 tablespoon cold organic grass-fed butter, sliced thin
Juice from 1 whole lime
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-by-11 baking dish with EVOO. Place salmon in the baking dish. Sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning, fried basil, curry powder and lime zest. Sprinkle panko crumbs on top. Dot the butter on top of salmon. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove salmon from oven. Squeeze lime juice on top. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes before serving. Serve warm. (Save one piece of salmon for tomorrow. It tastes great cold on top of a salad!)
Makes 4 servings.