chef jess

Summer is finally in sight and the extra pounds you packed on during the winter are still in residence. But if you’re like the rest of us, then the hardest part of committing to a new diet probably comes when you have to imagine all the delicious food you’ll be giving up.

After all, following a strict diet can be comparable to depriving yourself, or at least feels like it. But don’t worry, we’ve got the necessary tips to make it easier to eat healthy, courtesy of Chef Jessica Swift.

Following her feature in Essence and appearance on The Food Network, GlobalGrind spoke to Chef Jess and she shared tips on how to make dieting more enjoyable. She also touched on the dangerous correlation between our eating habits and common diseases, and offered up her favorite nutritional recipe.

Check out what Chef Jess had to say below.

Is there a way for us to be our best selves, without cutting out our favorite foods? 

As a Registered Dietitian, I know how much push back comes from suggesting that clients totally cut out everything they love. I always have my clients pick a few of their favorites and save them as rewards, enjoying them from time to time, but not on a everyday basis. Here, moderation is key. Besides, a chocolate chip cookie loses a little bit of its luster if eaten everyday.

What should we know about the relationship between common eating habits and diseases? 

There is a big correlation with increased consumption of fried foods and refined sugars, and diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Making sure that you are getting adequate water, lots of fresh produce, and being mindful of cooking methods can help improve health. Choose to grill or bake foods over frying! Also, make sure that you are getting in some physical activity.

chef jess

What tips do you have for women to make dieting more enjoyable? 

Having a partner always helps! It also helps with accountability and support. Having a friend to exercise with and dine with definitely make this usually daunting task more enjoyable. If you don’t have a partner, then frequenting a local exercise class, set goals by starting a food journal, or blogging can also be a way to add a twist to dieting.

Can you share one of your favorite nutritional recipes?

Yes! I have a great recipe for those with a summer sweet tooth. It is both refreshing and satisfying!

Watermelon Basil Granita 

Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups watermelon, seeds removed and cubed  
  • 2 T. fresh basil leaves
  • Drizzle of agave 
  • The zest and juice from ½ lime 

Method:  

1. Blend all ingredients in a blender and pour into a shallow dish.  

2. Freeze for at least an hour. Gently scrape the top of the granita with a spoon or fork and return to the freezer. Repeat this every hour until it’s all solid and has been scraped (2-3 hours, depending on the depth of the pan). 

2. When hardened, scrape top layer off and place shavings into dishes to serve. Enjoy! 

What are some nutritional tips you have for women who are looking to lose weight before the summer? 

Embrace all of the seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables! Take advantage of the warm weather, grill meats and vegetables, try new salad combinations and increase your outdoor physical activities. Go on more walks, swim and bike. And most importantly, do not forget to drink your water!

PHOTO CREDIT: Chef Jess

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