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Nutrition pro shows how to make eating healthy a family affair

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Updated: April 14, 2014 4:49PM

“Justin Timberlake brought sexy back, I want to bring sanity back — to the table,” said nutrition expert Tina Ruggiero.

Ruggiero’s new book The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook (Page Street Publishing Co., $22.99), is a testament to her mission of educating and inspiring people to eat healthier.

The soft-cover book features a helpful “Tina’s” tip for each recipe. “It’s like I’m there walking readers through each recipe,” Ruggiero said during a recent interview.

The registered dietitian’s philosophy is simple: “Eating healthy leads to a healthier life.”

Let’s face it, creating a meal involves more planning and decision-making than popping a frozen entree into the microwave, but the benefits are bountiful, according to Ruggiero: enhanced quality of life, less stress and reduced chances of developing chronic diseases.

Ruggiero’s must-use list of ingredients — not all necessarily in a single dish — for preparing healthy dishes include: fat (butter/olive oil/walnut oil/coconut oil); grains (any and all); deep green vegetables (kale, collards, broccolini); eggs (conventional or otherwise) and cheese (her favorites: French or Italian varieties).

When it’s all said and done, making a change that modifies your life isn’t easy, Ruggiero is the first to admit. “It’s hard. We live in an instant-gratification, quick-fix world, which has taken practices like the family dinner in a different direction and we have to turn it around.”

Ruggiero suggests easing into the transition by making dinner a family affair. “One of my best moments in the kitchen was watching my teen son’s excitement over the fish en papillote he made.”

Visually attractive meals are a must, according to the author. “We eat with our eyes first,” Ruggiero says, “colorful food with different textures is very appealing.”

In addition to living healthier, eating well can help bring balance and symmetry to chaotic lifestyles.

“In this quick, fast-paced, in an instant computer-tweeting world, cooking can still bring simple pleasure, quality family time and sensibility back into lives,” Ruggiero said.


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