Every February Hanover Street Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware celebrates Black History month, nourishing the mind, body and spirit. In sermons and special classes the congregation honors African Americans for their contributions to America’s history, and its own history. The month culminates with a soul food dinner and a Gospel Vespers concert (this Sunday, Feb. 24, 4:00 pm, at 1801 N. Jefferson St., Wilmington, DE. Call 302-658-5114 for details).
Last week, at the soul food dinner, hungry eaters dug into biscuits and grits, cabbage and collard greens, sweet potatoes, ham and turkey, and lots more. It was a most appropriate occasion for the dinner’s organizer, Cherise Alexander, to share ten pointers for a healthy diet. Cherise, a track enthusiast and personal trainer, knows her subject well. Here are her ten commandments for healthy eating:
1. Know what you’re eating. Read the labels!
2. Limit your intake of fats, sugars, and sodium.
3. Avoid processed foods, because they have more fats, sugars, and sodium than unprocessed ones.
4. Avoid sodium nitrates. (Used to preserve luncheon meats and hot dogs, sodium nitrates cause cancers in laboratory animals.). Also avoid high fructose corn syrup (a frequent ingredient in processed foods).
5. Monitor your caloric intake. (2,500 calories equals one pound of body fat).
6. Shop mostly around the perimeter of your grocery store. This is where fresh fruits and vegetables are typically arrayed, and those foods are the healthiest ones.
7. Go easy on sodas and fruit juices. These often have huge amounts of calories!
8. Check menus before you visit a restaurant.
9. Cook using “good oils,” such as canola oil, olive oil, and sunflower oil.
10. Make homemade meals at least four times a week. (When you eat a homemade meal around the table and enjoy conversation, you and the whole family stay healthier!)