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Zone tips spring to life

By Sue Knorr

Spring is here in full bloom. Whether you're at the ball game, sprucing up the yard a little bit or already out relaxing on the beach, here are some tips to help you keep your Zone diet on track during the busy days ahead.

    Nuts have something in common with those famous potato chips. You can't eat just one (or 3)! I've found a solution that prevents getting out of control and downing handfuls of nuts at a time. Buy them in the shell and crack them open yourself. It's both time-consuming and labor-intensive to remove the shells from peanuts and almonds and, well, you get the idea. Another plus, it's a good way to avoid the added oils and salt found in roasted nuts.
  • No guacamole on hand? It can be made in just a few minutes. Simply mash together with a fork one ripe avocado, the juice of 1 lime, a little garlic powder and some sea salt to taste. Top cottage cheese with tomato wedges and guacamole, and you've got an impromptu balanced meal.
  • That state-of-the-art, BPA-free water bottle you've been carrying around wherever you go, are you really making the best use of it? Remember to fill it as soon as it's empty and drink generously from it all day long.
  • Egg whites are at the top of the list of best foods for the Zone. When you have a few minutes free, hard boil one dozen eggs. After cooking, remove the shells, cut the eggs in half and remove and discard the yolks. Four egg white halves equal 1 Zone block of protein. Keep them in a covered container in the fridge for those times when you need a little extra protein in a meal. You can also stuff them with your favorite hummus for a quick snack.
  • On those days when you don't have enough time to make it to the gym, stop at that walking trail you drive past every day on your way home. A 15 or 20-minute walk is better than no activity at all. No walking trail? Then just start walking wherever you might be. Fifteen minutes later turn back, retrace your steps, and voila, you've taken a 30-minute walk.
  • Try a green chocolate shake or a chocolate peanut butter shake. For the green shake add 1 cup of 2% milk, 1 or 2 handfuls of baby spinach and the contents of 1 chocolate Zone Nutrition Shake packet to a blender. Give it a whirl and enjoy. For the chocolate peanut butter shake, replace the baby spinach with 1 1/2 teaspoons of natural peanut butter.
  • Cauliflower tater tots seem to be all over the Internet these days and for good reason. They're easy to make and they're delicious. Here's the basic recipe. In a food processor, chop up 1 head of cauliflower until it resembles grains of rice. To remove excess moisture, spread on a few layers of paper towel, leave it for about 15 minutes and then pat it dry. In a bowl, mix together the cauliflower pieces, 2 beaten egg whites, 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon of a mixture of your favorite spices, such as onion powder, garlic powder and chili power. Using your hands, form into tater-tot shapes and place them on a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet. The parchment paper is a must, otherwise you'll never get them off the pan. Bake in a 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the edges are crispy and brown.

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you owe it to yourself to choose a balanced anti-inflammatory meal. You'll be glad you did. Until next time, happy zoning!