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Ditch the diets and eat healthier for 2014 with this chicken soup recipe

Eat more this year -- more vegetables and fruits.
Eat more this year -- more vegetables and fruits.
Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

If you want to skip the diets this year, you will not be alone. Fewer Americans are dieting today than in years past, according to the Huffington Post, but health foods and better eating seem to be at the forefront of everyone's minds thanks to the efforts of First Lady Michelle Obama and shows like "The Doctors."

Start cooking and eating healthier this year without spending a lot. You don't have to shop at expensive stores around Houston like Whole Foods. Most of the regular grocery stores, and even Walmarts, have organic food options, but even if you choose conventionally grown lettuce or potatoes over a packet of frozen French fries you have made a start.

The first step to healthier eating is to stop comparing yourself to everyone out there. Make changes to your lifestyle and cooking that are significant to you, though they may not be to someone else. If all you do is pack your own homemade lunches to take to work instead of going out to eat at a restaurant every day, that's a good start. You may decide that you will have only one or two Shipley's doughnuts for breakfast instead of three, which is a good beginning, too.

How about making healthy foods like fruit fun? The Christmas tree made of apples and grapes in this article is one way to do that, and it's something your kids can help make. When you get your kids helping in the kitchen, it gets them into the habit of being self-sufficient and more mindful of what goes into their food.

Here's a quick way to make something hot to ward off the chill from the recent cold weather while sneaking some veggies into your diet:

Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 1 quart chicken broth (low-sodium, if available)
  • ½ rotisserie chicken (or ½ raw chicken, cooked thoroughly) skin removed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ pound carrots, diced
  • ½ pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut (or any other fresh green vegetable)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bag egg noodles (No-yolk/Cholesterol-free egg noodles, if available)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients into a large soup pot, except noodles, and heat to a boil.
  2. Boil for 10 minutes, or until the veggies are slightly tender.
  3. Add the noodles and cook for 7 to 9 minutes or until the noodles and veggies are tender.
  4. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Note: Save even more time on this recipe by using one can each of cut green beans and carrots. Drain and rinse the canned veggies well before adding to pot at the same time as the noodles.