Teneika Eve *Photo supplied
Teneika Eve *Photo supplied

Recently we launched this series in which staff and lecturers at Bermuda College share their expertise. The newspaper columns — this is the fourth in the series — are augmented by video clips. Click here for all the columns and videos.

At a time when finances and health are at the forefront of our daily journey, managing these assets has become a challenge to so many, but with a bit of ingenuity it can be done!

As a culinary lecturer, the two most common questions that I get on a regular basis is ‘how can I stretch my dollar and how can I modify my diet so that I can better manage my hypertension and diabetes’? As these are so “called hot topics” in our society, I will attempt to answer these questions with real life examples that you can relate to, directly. 

So, let’s say that you are that single mom with two kids and you want your kids to have a healthy balanced diet on a modest or an already strained budget.  The key to this is cross utilization of a product or using the same item in various ways. Our grandparents and restaurants have been doing this from the beginning of time.  For example, if you have a whole roasted chicken at Sunday’s dinner with your choice of sides, either a starch and a vegetable; for Monday’s dinner that left over chicken can become a chicken quesadilla with shredded cheddar, whole wheat tortilla, some cheese, sliced onion, seasonings and a green salad on the side.  Finally, on Tuesday that same chicken rack can be boiled and with the addition of vegetables, noodles and seasonings can become a chicken noodle soup. With a piece of whole wheat buttered toast on the side, you have managed to create another balanced and satisfying meal with the same protein. Three meals, three days and one chicken, I’d say mission accomplished.  Cross utilization does require a bit of creativity, but it can be done!

Let’s touch on eating for Weight Loss, Hypertension and Diabetes. For most of my life weight has been a concern for me and I have dabbled in my share of diets… But to no avail. It is only recently that I am really making the attempt to eat clean, and I can tell you it works. So, for those with the above mentioned health challenges, eating “clean” or from nature’s garden would be my suggestion.  To be more specific, I started eating more fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy more regularly. Our bodies need to be fueled and we should eat every 2 to 3 hours which equates to 3 balanced meals and 3 snacks daily. This enables our bodies to jump start our somewhat sluggish metabolism, especially if you are guilty of waiting to the end of the day to have a huge, high calorie meal because you waited to eat all day. Now by no means am I dietician but as a professional dieter/ “carbaholic” I feel that I can encourage you. 

Now, let’s talk about the sugars and salts. I suggest food swapping, so that sugary bowl of cereal for breakfast gets replaced with 1 cup of raisin bran or corn flakes, a piece of fruit and a cup of coffee or tea with no sugar. That daily snack of barbeque chips gets replaced with a crisp piece of fruit or 100 calorie snack. Don’t get me wrong, the transition might not be the easiest but after a couple of days of withdrawals, you’ll get used to it. I suggest you choose one meal a week to treat yourself; maybe have a lean burger and a small fry, but don’t overdo it. It’s not about dieting, it’s about creating genuine lifestyle changes.  For those of you with hypertension, hidden salt tends to be your greatest threat. With that in mind, I recommend you get to know your numbers. Your systolic and diastolic pressure should read 120 over 80. If elevated, cut out the salt and substitute with natural herbs or cook your meats and veggies in a low sodium broth. It adds the flavor without all the salt. Diabetics should avoid refined sugars, and substitute them with fresh fruits, sugar substitutes moderately. If you do suffer from any of these diseases or conditions, make sure to consult your physician before making any significant changes to your diet.

Ultimately stretching your dollar and eating healthier will take some imagination and work, but if you put your mind to it, you can do it! Eat well, stay well. 

Find out more about Bermuda College by emailing tdill@college.bm or calling 239-4099.