I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and are getting ready to ring in the New Year! It was a quiet Christmas for us, but we enjoyed getting to share the Holiday with good friends and as always cherished the moments with our little ones. For me, it was a lot of hard work in the kitchen, but well worth it in the end. Since we missed cooking Thanksgiving this year, I decided to make the full traditional spread- herb roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, sage gravy, stuffing, green beans with shallots and pies! And that doesn’t include Christmas Eve! Overall it was a success, but I’m already planning something a little simpler for next year.
As usual, the Holidays have come and gone in the blink of an eye. Luckily (or not so luckily) for us, we had my daughter’s 2nd birthday to celebrate two days after Christmas and now we await our New Year’s celebration….we have a party to attend! By the way, I am taking this goat cheese and wanted to let you know I edited the post so now you can find the recipe on my site.
Since 2011 is approaching quickly, we need to think about our resolutions (if you’re in to that sort of thing) and what we want to accomplish in the upcoming year. Can anyone guess one of the top New Year’s Resolutions? You guessed it: to lose weight! I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve counseled over the years whose resolution was “to work out more” or “to lose weight”. Although technically those are goals, they are not the specific, realistic, short-terms goals that you need to get you moving in the right direction. I want to help you set some for the upcoming year that will improve your health and set you on the track to weight loss (if needed)…..and let me remind you that even if you don’t need to lose weight, there is always room for improvement in our diet. In fact, a new study just came out that linked eating a healthy diet to living longer (published in the Jan. 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association). The study found that the leading cause of death has shifted from infectious disease to chronic disease, such as cancer and heart disease, illnesses that may be affected by diet. Those who follow a dietary pattern consistent with current guidelines to consume relatively high amounts of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry and fish, may have a lower risk of mortality, per the study. So back to those resolutions!
Let’s look at a few examples of short-term, realistic goals:
- I will train for a 5 k in March and a 10 K in June.
- I will eat at least one serving of vegetables with lunch and dinner everyday.
- I will switch from regular to low fat dairy products.
- I will limit eating out to 3 times a week.
- I will sign up for an exercise or sports class (i.e. dance, yoga, soccer, zumba).
- I will exercise 3-4 days a week and reward myself with a new work-out outfit after successfully tracking 3 months of workouts.
- I will try a new healthy recipe once a week.
- I will schedule a recurring weekly date with a friend to go on a 3 mile walk- rain or shine!
- I will cook a vegetarian entree’ once a week.
Ok, you get my point? The above sentences are doable, short-term goals……not “I want to lose 40 pounds” or “I want to get to the gym more”. So please, if you are setting New Year’s Resolutions this year, give it some serious thought. What do you want to do or change to make 2011 a healthier one? Every little goal matters and it’s never too late to change your eating habits.
Speaking of goals, since the typical American diet is low in fruits and vegetables, I’d like to focus on that for a minute and encourage you to think about whether or not you are meeting your goal for veggie/fruit consumption. To me, fruit doesn’t get much better than in it’s natural state. I make a big fruit salad at the start of the week and between the four of us, it is usually gone mid-week. If you dislike fruit or have trouble fitting it into your diet, start by making a list of your favorites and making sure they are on the grocery list every week. Then clean and chop your fruit as soon as you get home (although berries will last longer if you hold off on washing until you’re ready to use them) and you will be more likely to eat it. I pack a tupperware bowl of fruit for my husband and son’s lunch everyday. Period.
Please remember that increasing vegetables in your diet doesn’t have to be eating a side of plain steamed broccoli everyday, although if that’s what you want to do, knock yourself out! Think about how you can incorporate them into your recipes. Here is a great example of how to boost the veggies in a simple dip. This is 7 layer hummus dip (I am sure you’re all familiar with 7 layer Mexican dip). This is similar in that it has seven layers, but otherwise totally different! It is a great throw-together appetizer or snack that elevates hummus not just with flavor, but nutrition.
This is one of those “no recipe” recipes. I listed measurements for you based on what I did, but it will depend on what size serving dish you’re using. If you are just making some for yourself for lunch, just toss it all together on a plate. It’s tasty and healthy. Makes a great appetizer or snack!