Happy 2015!  The party is not over yet; it’s just beginning.  The start of the New Year brings with it a chance to refresh and renew our lives.  With life’s journey always evolving and changing shape, the way we treat ourselves makes a difference to our health and happiness.  This year focus on making gradual, simple changes to evolve your eating for a healthy body weight, improved blood sugar, blood pressure and to prevent diseases for an overall better quality of life. My first rule of thumb is to keep it simple.  If you find change too challenging, you won’t stick with it.

Prioritize plant foods this year.  Not only have numerous studies shown that eating a plant-based diet can defend your cells against certain cancers, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and even aging, but plants have the power to transform any meal into a colorful, appetite-pleasing experience.


There are so many to choose from: fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.  An easy way to do this is to have a salad a day.  It could be a simple salad of mixed greens, tomatoes and cucumbers or one with grilled or roasted veggies, a bit of cheese and nuts.  {Watch out as the toppings and dressing can sabotage your salad and make it higher in calories and fat than you want.}

I am adding zucchini to my salad today.  I love it grilled, but in January that can be tough.  However, I was thrilled to use my new stove’s grill top – it was convenient and fast.  Just brush the zucchini slices with a olive oil and add a dash of salt and pepper and heat.

Zucchini-.jpgThis sleek squash is only 35 calories per cup and is jam-packed with nutrients like magnesium and potassium for blood pressure control and vitamin C, which can keep your arteries wide open and boost immunity and even decrease the intensity of little cold and flu-causing bugs.

As far as the beets for this salad, I get “ready-to-eat” beets at my local Trader Joe’s.  They are vacuum packed, steamed and peeled – all you have to do is take them out of the package and dice, slice or just bite into the ruby red beauties.  Their colorful compounds called betacyanins offer your body a whole plethora of health benefits.


 Serves 1


2 cups Romaine hearts, shredded and washed

1 small zucchini, sliced

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

A pinch of salt and black pepper

2 small red beets, diced

1 heaping tablespoon feta cheese

1 teaspoon Hot Giardiniera  (optional)


Heat griddle or grill pan over medium high heat.  Place sliced zucchini in it and brush both sides lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill until marks appear and zucchini softens.  Remove from grill, let cool and dice.

Place Romaine, beets and zucchini in a salad bowl and sprinkle with feta cheese and giardiniera to spice it up, if desired.   No dressing needed, as the zucchini and giardiniera add oil and flavor to this salad.  Enjoy with a slice of crusty whole grain bread or grilled lean meat or tofu.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 252, Total Fat: 17 g, Saturated Fat: 4 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 12 mg, Sodium: 342 mg, Carbohydrates: 21 g, Dietary Fiber: 7 g, Sugars: 14 g, Protein: 6 g

Happy evolving your eating this year!

Enjoy eating simply,