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Eating Healthier the Canyon Ranch Spa Way

The top chef for the world-famous Canyon Ranch chain of spas offers tips for eating and living well.

The Canyon Ranch Way: Meal by Meal continued...

Snacks and Beverages

If you have to wait a long time between lunch and dinner, you will likely need a snack. Nuts and fresh fruit are the best options, according to Uehlein, but have no more than one ounce of nuts. (Uehlein himself prefers almonds because they "give you a full sensation.") Avoid visits to the vending machine for sugary soft drinks and highly-processed snacks. "I won't tell you to never drink a soda. That's a diet," Uhelein said. "But drink fewer of them."

Dinner

At dinnertime, try to eat at home as often as possible, recommends Uhelein. Cook well-balanced meals that fall within the Canyon Ranch guidelines. Uhelein acknowledges that most folks can't eat like they are at Canyon Ranch every day. "We are much more about fine dining; that's why we are a utopia," he observes.

But that doesn't mean that home cooking can't reflect the Canyon Ranch approach to flavor. "When I'm developing a recipe, I always incorporate sweet, sour, bitter and salty," Uhelein said. "There will be a little bit of fat, for mouth feel, but the focus is on flavor."

Uhelein says home cooks need to concentrate on dishes that satisfy with flavor and meet their family's individual likes and dislikes. "If you like crunchy, then add some crunch. If you don't like tofu today, then don't cook tofu."

Cooking ahead can help. "If we cook brown rice on Sunday, we'll have some to use for the next few days. If we roast some vegetables, then we can toss some on a frozen pizza later in the week," he said.

And with three daughters, ages 2, 11, and 13, Uhelein knows from experience that sometimes there simply isn't time to cook dinner. But even on busy nights, the chef tries to eat at home, relying on carefully chosen convenience foods. He keeps pizzas with whole-grain crusts in the freezer along with a selection of healthy frozen entrees. (Uhelein is a big fan of Trader Joe's and Whole Foods markets for both fresh and convenience items.)

Canyon Ranch Recipes

Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple, and Pecan Salad

Delicious, dense-textured, vitamin-packed butternut squash is the tastiest of all the winter squash. To peel, use a sharp cleaver or large knife and hack off the stem and then cut the long part off the bulbous base before you start peeling. It's easier to attack the two shapes separately.

2 pounds peeled butternut squash, deseeded and cubed

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice mix

3/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup maple syrup

5 Granny Smith apples, cored and cubed

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix squash with oil in a bowl. Sprinkle in the spice mix and toss to coat. Spread squash on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.

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