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Personal food rules should be sensible

By Margie Mansure (

Article Published: Jan. 17, 2013 | Modified: Jan. 17, 2013

It seems that people have more rules about eating than ever before.

“I don’t eat anything that has feet” is one of the most amusing I’ve heard.

Of course, the most popular food rule for 2012 was no gluten. People who have celiac disease or are truly gluten-sensitive benefit from the gluten-free craze, while others may not.

Instead of just going with the latest trend, take a close look at what you eat and drink to consider a rule or two that would make the biggest difference in your health.

After analyzing thousands of diets in my career, I can say that these 10 simple food rules would benefit most people:

1. Eat as close to nature as possible.
2. No processed food that contains artificial colors and lots of preservatives.
3. No foods that you can eat forever and never be satisfied.
4. No fried food.
5. No sodas.
6. Only sweets of the highest quality, not every day.
7. Only whole grain cereal, bread, pasta, rice and other grains unless not available.
8. Add vegetables to most everything you cook.
9. Eat at least two vegetarian evening meals a week.
10. No skipping meals.

You will be able to make sensible food rules a lifelong commitment by figuring out satisfying alternatives to foods you may crave. For example, instead purchasing deep fried foods at the drive-thru, learn how to prepare a healthier version at home.

Foods that oven fry or pan fry well:

Chicken, boneless breasts or thighs
Summer and zucchini squash
Potatoes, which do not need breading

The Method:

Cut chicken and fish into desired size. The smaller the pieces, the less time it takes to cook. Squash and eggplant are best cut into coins. Cut potatoes in half and then slice.
Coating sticks to some foods better if they have been dipped in milk first. After dipping into milk, dredge food in crushed up corn flakes or seasoned flour. Italian seasoning or other herb blends are great.

To oven fry, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Place breaded food on cookie sheet and then lightly spray the top. After 15 minutes, check the bottom of the food to see if it is brown and needs turning. Bake until it looks brown and crisp on both sides. Serve immediately.

To pan fry, add a small amount of vegetable oil to a skillet and place over low to medium low heat. Make sure skillet is hot and add breaded food, cooking each side until brown. If you are cooking chicken this way, you may need to add a lid to the skillet after it is browned to cook all the way through.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. For more information, email or call (828) 264-3061.

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