About a month ago I was encouraging a client to add more fruit to her diet. Pushing fruit in February is like selling pork in an Orthodox neighborhood. It isn’t easy. At the time I was loving Cara Cara oranges and suggested them to my client. “Oranges are too much work,” she said. “What do you mean an orange is work?” I asked. “The peel, the juice, the mess, I don’t have the time.” I let it go and I think we settled on apples (less work). It got me thinking though, this “work” my client referred to is a good thing when it comes to food. “Activity Foods” as I call them are foods that take time to eat. This slows us down and may just lead to eating less. Convenience isn't always a good thing when it comes to food. Here are my favorite activity foods:
My first memory of eating nuts was in my Grandparents den. There was always a bowl of nuts on the table. The nuts were whole and a silver nutcracker rested next to them. As a child I remember many failed attempts at nut cracking. I probably consumed 1 nut per day back then. I don’t even know that my kids would know nutcrackers are used for eating nuts. I vote for a nutcracker revival.
Edamame are a great source of protein and the ultimate activity food. Buy edamame in the shell, non-GMO. Enjoy them as a snack with some sea salt and a little cayenne.
Attending college in New Orleans, some of my favorite memories are chowing down on crawfish or peel and eat shrimp. You really work for your food when eating these. Other shellfish options are mussels and lobster.
One of my favorite spring vegetables is artichokes. Artichokes take a little work to prepare and time to eat. Watch what you “dip” into. Artichokes are low calorie and high fiber, creamy sauces aren’t.
As much as I love a dirty martini, I love olives on their own too. Olives are high in fat (good fat) but fairly low in calories. Make sure to buy olives with their pits. Again, the pitting (and spitting) takes time.
People are scared of whole fish (or grossed out) and I think that’s a mistake. Cooking fish whole renders a delicious end product and is a very healthy method of preparation. Furthermore, find me someone who can race through eating whole fish, you can’t.
If you’re not up for nutcracking, try pistachios. Pistachios are great as they lower LDL cholesterol and also because you can eat more (for same calories) than other nuts. Removing the shells is sort of fun…unless you had a manicure recently.
If you’re a speedy eater, activity foods will slow you down leaving time to savor the food that you’re eating and realize when you’re full (or tired of “working”).
Do you like activity foods? Any good ones I left off this list? Do you think oranges are a lot of work?