Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Small Food Changes

Since it is Nutrition Month, I figured a post on small food changes would be appropriate. Over the past few months, I have been trying to replace certain not-so-good-for-you foods with some better alternatives and I thought it would be perfect timing to share them with you.

The first change we made was popcorn. We love popcorn and in the past we have bought boxes of microwave popcorn, sometimes even in bulk. So good and buttery!

One of the reasons why we loved this popcorn was how easy it was to make. You just pop a bag in the microwave, punch in 3 minutes and voila, popcorn ready to devour! But, it's not that good for you. I mean really, popcorn kernels soaked in butter and then vacuum sealed into a bag to sit on a shelf for months on end? A little more unappetizing. We were lazy though and so we kept eating this popcorn.

That is, until one day while searching Pinterest, I discovered such an easy way to make your own! It looked simple enough so I thought I would give it a try. Here's what you do: put 1/4 c. of popcorn kernels in a brown paper sandwich bag, fold over 2-3 times and stand up in the  microwave. Pop for approximatly 2 1/2 minutes (or until the popping stops) and then remove. Dump into a bowl and drizzle melted butter over top with a sprinkling of salt. Easy right? (We tend to do two batches since we love popcorn but we discovered that popping it in 1/4 c. portions works better. We tried doing a 1/2 c. at a time but found that there were too many unpopped kernels left over and the bag got too full of popcorn it sometimes burst).

It is so good and still really easy! Plus, you can control how much butter and salt you put on your popcorn and can make it as healthy (or as unhealthy) as you want.

The next change I made was to stop using margarine or shortening...

...and to only use butter or olive oil!

So far it's been pretty easy to do and I'm feeling good about cutting out the not as good for you fats. Plus, who doesn't like butter?

My latest food change is still in progress. I'm trying to switch from white rice to brown rice but Dan isn't too keen on that idea. So to compromise, we are mixing them!

It's really quite simple to do and tastes really good, at least that's my opinion. I've been mixing basmati brown and white rice. If I want to make 1 cup of rice, I put 2 cups of water in a pot, bring to a boil, add my 1/2 cup of brown rice and then set the timer for 30 minutes. Once it beeps, I add in my 1/2 cup of white rice, give it a stir and set the timer for another 20 minutes. That's it!

Yes, it takes a bit longer but it's still easy to do and I love the results.

I'm pretty pleased with the small changes I have made so far and am still planning on doing more in the coming months. I'm just taking it one step at a time and feeling comfortable with each change before trying to start a new one. I don't want to get overwhelmed and give up, the plan is to make a habit out of these changes so that I don't go back to my old ways!

Have you been making any changes lately? They don't have to be food related, it can be anything. Forming a new good habit is never a bad thing.


  1. My mom is always on some sort of diet and the house was full of healthy foods growing up- but we always used butter and not margarine! I enjoy cooking a recipe and knowing everything in it was as natural as possible

    I like brown rice! It does take some time to get used to, though. I keep both in the house because sometimes a recipe just tastes better with white :)

  2. Casey, we always had butter in the house too but used margarine in the occasional recipe. But like you said, it's nice to know what's going into our food. And I'm totally enjoying the flavour of brown rice, I just wish it didn't take quite so long to cook.

  3. Sugar, I've been buying raw/unrefined or less refined sugar. It's more expensive and so making me think a little more before using so much of it so frequently.

  4. Good for you guys!

    I too am a popcorn junky, and an admitted popcorn snob. I gave up microwave popcorn years ago and forced my husband to give it up too. Now he thinks air popped tastes so much better. We have a wonderful popcorn maker at home and a backup one in case it goes on the fritz. Great snack change! And I had no idea that you could just throw kernels in a bag and microwave. Genius!

    We're going to make the switch to butter too, but we have a recently opened tub of margarine that we have to use up. I hate wasting food.

    I don't buy anything but brown rice. Well . . . that's not entirely true. I buy brown wild rice, and black rice too.

  5. Erin, I know. :P

    Jackie, sugar is next on my list of changes. I think that it's good that buying the more expensive stuff makes you second guess how often to use it. Cutting back on sugar is never a bad thing.

    artistmouse, I was so excited when I saw that you can still make easy microwave popcorn, you should totally try it! I love popcorn. :) And I'm with you on not wasting food either, I finished my margarine and shortening instead of tossing it. Just make the change next time you need to replace it!

  6. I'm going to do this popcorn thing like you don't even know! Thanks for sharing the tip!

  7. Weaslewam, I'm glad I could inform you of the easiest way to make homemade popcorn! Enjoy it. :D

  8. I must impose my professional opinion here! (Sorry, I just really can't help it!) Butter is more natural, but more saturated as well. And saturated fat, when it come from animal sources, is not healthy. In fact, it increases your chances of heart disease!
    So, when using butter, use it sparingly!
    Enjoy olive oil and other vegetable oil (canola, soya, camelina, sunflower) as much as possible. :)

    On an another note, I can't wait to try the popcorn in a brown paper bag tip, thanks Jennie!

  9. Cora, I may just stop posting anything about food if you keep correcting me! :P And I know that butter isn't healthy for you and you should use it in limited quantities but still, I think it's better than shortening. I do use olive oil a lot more though, if that makes you feel any better.

    And let me know how the popcorn works!