The Dinner Diva: Change eating habits one meal at a time

Published: Thursday, May 11 2006 12:00 a.m. MDT

It's hard to believe, but we're already just about midway through the year. I've been thinking about my life and some of the changes I've made. In the last year or so, I've lost more than 50 pounds, gotten married and had my son go away to school.

I added two children to my Christmas list and like most married women, will be changing my name (not professionally). Change is a good thing, but change always requires a little struggle, too — even if it is a welcome change, like marrying the man of your dreams. But the man of my dreams is new and different and does things differently than I do. I am waking up to a talk radio now — that's new and different!

That's how it is with food, too. Changing what you eat requires a shift in thinking — for example, viewing food as nutritional fuel and not as entertainment or medication. Eating healthier may require a little reading (education) a little more cooking (hands on nutrition) and adjusting to new tastes (new veggies, different herbs and spices). The bottom line is that in order to eat healthier, it will definitely mean change. The question is how do you do this successfully and not give up two days after you start?

Your first baby step in eating healthier is starting with one meal. Leave the rest of your food alone — start with a meal, once a day and start this week. An easy meal to begin with is breakfast. Make sure you include eggs, whole grain bread, whole grain cereals (hot and cold), milk, yogurt (with active cultures) and some fresh fruit and orange juice on this week's grocery list.

As you're enjoying your new and healthier breakfast, remember to keep portions in mind (4 ounces of orange juice is a good amount, for example) and watch how much better you feel eating one nutritionally balanced meal once a day. Breakfast is your "shiny sink" for starting your healthy eating routine.

Don't wait to start! Eating healthy may require some changes, but these types of changes will bless you, your body and your family for the rest of your lives!

Here's a healthy breakfast recipe that's easy to make and your family will love:

Muffin-size breakfast quiches

(Makes a dozen) OK, bear with me on this recipe. Measurements are approximate — this is something I made up as I went and I didn't do it with recipe development in mind — it was a personal recipe so nothing is exact. Still it's an easy recipe of sorts, so trust me — just try it and don't fret over the approximate measurements.

About 9 eggs, cracked in a bowl and beaten as if making scrambled eggs

Salt and pepper to taste (you add to the beaten eggs, stir well)

1 bag baby spinach (about 10 oz., you won't use the whole thing)

1 onion, chopped and sauteed till translucent (in a skillet with about 1 tablespoon of oil)

Shredded low-fat cheddar cheese (from an 8-ounce bag, you won't use the whole thing)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In the meantime, lightly grease your muffin pan with either a spray or a little oil on a paper towel.

Into the greased muffin cups, add about 3 or 4 leaves of spinach. Top the spinach with about a teaspoon of sauteed onions. Top the onions with about 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese. Then using a soup ladle, add enough egg mixture to fill the muffin tin, about 2/3 full.

Bake your little breakfast quiches for about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of your muffin tin cups. They should browned nicely on the top, but be careful not to overcook. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick in the middle of one of the muffin cups. If the toothpick comes out clean, then your quiches are done! Let them cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan. Using a dinner knife, carefully run the blade around the perimeter of each little quiche and plop them carefully onto a plate to finish cooling.


Leanne Ely, a k a Dinner Diva, is the author of the best-selling "Saving Dinner" and "Saving Dinner the Low Carb Way" (Ballantine). What's for dinner? Go to www.savingdinner.com and find the solution!