Anniston couple Lynetta and Nathaniel Owens made brownies Wednesday as they discussed tips for portion control and grocery shopping with a nutrition instructor from the Calhoun County Extension Service. The Owens family recently won a Meal Makeover contest sponsored by The Star, a six-week program designed to help the family learn how to make healthier meals — quickly and cheaply.
Cocoa-peanut butter brownies may not seem “healthy” or “cheap” — and really, they’re not.
But nutrition instructor Sheree Russell said this lesson was not about resisting temptation — it was about managing it.
“Some people think if you’re trying to eat healthy, you can’t have nothing sweet … yes, you can,” Russell said as the brownies went into the preheated oven. “What’s not healthy is if I eat that whole pan by myself.”
Eating sweets and other less nutritious “temptation” foods is all about moderation and speed. Russell advised the Owens to indulge in their cravings every once in a while, but to eat smaller portions — slowly.
You can also change “unhealthy” recipes to better suit your nutrition needs. For example, use egg substitute instead of eggs, whole-wheat flour instead of regular, and water instead of milk.
That way, Russell said, you can avoid ingredients and binges that add on the pounds.
Nathaniel said he was brought up to savor his food and eat deliberately.
“I eat slowly: it’s an adventure,” he said. “I eat as an adventure.”
Shopping at the grocery store, on the other hand, should be done with efficiency and speed, Russell said. Having a definitive list of what you need helps you to get in and out of the store while sidestepping the lure of buying items you don’t need.
“Also, make sure you read the fine print on supermarket ads,” Russell said. “Because it might not necessarily be a bargain.”
As part of their discussion, Russell handed out grocery checklists that Nathaniel and Lynetta can use each week while they shop.
“This is really going to be good for my parents’ home,” said Lynetta, who cares for her elderly mother. “I need to buying for a set menu each week.”
Healthy Cocoa Brownies
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
⅓ cup cocoa
1 ⅓ cup master mix (recipe follows)
½ cup chopped nuts
Beat eggs and water together until fluffy. Stir in vanilla, sugar and cocoa. Add master mix and blend well. Fold in nuts. Spread into an 8x8-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Makes about 15.
8 cups unsifted, enriched flour
¼ cup baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon iodized salt
1 ⅓ cups nonfat dry milk powder
¾ cup to 1 cup canola oil
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and dry milk powder. Drizzle the oil over the dry mixture; cut with a pastry blender or fingers until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Store in covered container in the refrigerator. The mix makes approximately 10 cups and keeps for about three months in the refrigerator.
NOTE: To measure out master mix for recipes, scoop into a measuring cup — do not shake — then use a utensil to level it off.
Star Staff Writer Cameron Steele at 256-235-3562. On Twitter @Csteele_star.
Meal Makeover Contest
Follow our contest winners through six weeks of healthy cooking classes taught by the Calhoun County Extension Service.
Read previous stories in the series online at AnnistonStar.com.
For more info on the “Centsible Nutrition” class, contact the extension service at 256-237-1621.