PORTLAND, Ore. — We're a few weeks into the new year, and around this time a lot of people start to waver a little on their resolutions, particularly if it has to do with maintaining a healthier lifestyle.

As part of our Journey to Wellness series, we're going to try to help. We spent some time in the kitchen with Deanna Bascom, Sous Chef at the Multnomah Athletic Club to give you a couple easy and healthy go-to meal options.

Take one look at Bascom in her element and it's clear she knows what she's doing. As you’d expect of a chef, she describes herself as a foodie.

“I've always loved food. I come from an Italian family,” said Bascom.

So what she describes as her kryptonite -- pasta -- comes as no surprise. The love of it required Bascom to drastically change her diet three years ago when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

“It came as a shock,” she said.

Bascom axed sugar, simple carbs, and processed foods. Then she replaced them with nutrient-dense, whole-grain carbs, vegetables, fish, and lean meat.

“It's a lot to adjust to,” she said.

While it’s not easy, it can be done. Bascom showed us some tasty, easy, and healthy options.

On the menu is a chickpea pasta dish and a red lentil pasta. If you want the recipes, they’ll be at the bottom of this article. Bascom chose chickpea and lentil pasta because of the health benefits.

“They've got more fiber and they're made just with beans,” explained Bascom.

We started with the red lentil pasta, beginning with the sauce prep. Bascom decided to pair the red lentil penne with hazelnut parsley pesto.

To a mixing bowl, she added chopped parsley, crushed toasted hazelnuts, lemon zest, crushed garlic, and red chili flake. She said the sauce might take 10-15 minutes to mix. Next, she sautéed the mixture with olive oil and the red lentil pasta. Plate it, add a little cheese, and voila: a delicious dish.

Red lentil penne pasta with hazelnut pesto
Red lentil penne pasta with hazelnut pesto
Christine Pitawanich/KGW

Next, Bascom showed us how to make a tasty chickpea pasta with olive tapenade. It sounds fancy, but it's easy to make and tastes amazing if you like olives.

“I just love olives in general and they're just a really good healthy fat,” said Bascom.

To make the olive tapenade, she mixed together some garlic, oregano, parsley, a little bit of lemon zest, and capers.

As for the olives, she said it’s easy to just grab some mixed pitted olives from the store, chop them up or put them in your food processor. After that they'll be ready to add to the mixture.

Next, she combined the olive tapenade with the cooked chickpea pasta in a sauté pan.

Chickpea shell pasta with olive tapenade
Chickpea shell pasta with olive tapenade
Christine Pitawanich/KGW

It's simple recipes like these that have helped Bascom navigate her type 1 diabetes diagnoses.

“Being able to cook meals at home and not going out all the time is how I stay on top of it,” Bascom said.

She said eating healthier in 2020 just takes a bit of commitment, and of course moderation.

“Do I still eat a dessert once in a while? You betcha. Because you know, it's dessert right,” laughed Bascom.

Recipes

Hazelnut Parsley Pesto recipe
Hazelnut Parsley Pesto recipe
Deanna Bascom
Olive Tapenade recipe
Olive Tapenade recipe
Deanna Bascom
Almond & Ricotta Pesto recipe
Almond & Ricotta Pesto recipe
Deanna Bascom

A note about our KGW Journey To Wellness series

Our Journey to Wellness series encompasses a broad range of topics. These stories can deal with anything from fitness, to mental health, to drug addiction. 

If you're on a journey to wellness and want to tell us about it, we'd love to hear from you. Just e-mail Christine Pitawanich at cpitawanich@kgw.com or contact her through her Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts.

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