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Lauren Antonucci, MS, RDN, CSSD, CDE, CDN
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Nutrition Energy Holiday Challenge!
How and Why To Begin your "New Years Resolutions" in December
It seems like such a short time ago when we wrote our January 2017 newsletter, but alas another year is about to come to an end. As we enter this season of celebrations, we at Nutrition Energy wish you and your families a happy holidays season. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years' Eve...or all of them, one thing is for sure; there will be plenty of seasonal food and treats to make and enjoy. As we are getting to the end of this year, many of us will reflect on the past year, re-visit our personal goals from 2017 make plans for the things we want to change during the upcoming year. An overwhelming percentage of Americans start off their new year goals list with plans to be healthier and/or lose weight. As this is one of the most popular new years resolution made, it is unfortunately also one of the most failed resolutions. As many of you know all too well, it is common for people to give up on health goals after a few weeks or months. So why is this the case? One reason is that because we all start off the new year with high impulse, excitement, and the motivation to be better, we often forget to be realistic with ourselves and our goals. So the 10 million dollar question is...how can we increase our chances of New Year's Resolution success?
The key to long term success is to make our goals
attainable, measurable, and specific enough to follow! These are things we work with our clients on all year long. "I want to loose weight", or "I'd like to fit into my skinny jeans again" are statements we often hear in our office. By helping our clients make measurable, realistic and permanent changes these goals become reality over time. In the spirit of making healthier decisions starting in the new year, here are a few tools to help you along the way.
- Be honest with yourself: you know yourself better than anyone else, so make plans that are specific to you rather than what everyone else is doing. A great example on this is exercise. Treating yourself to an expensive pack of classes at the new boutique gym near you is a great idea...IF you will actually enjoy going to that class. If not, save yourself the money for some fun new clothing instead, and head outside at a pre-planned time each day for a beautiful, brisk walk.
- Write out your goals and plan step by step. It doesn't matter whether you record them in a journal, app, phone, or anywhere else you will be able to refer back to-the important part is that you write them down, commit to them, and can go back to review them later. In writing down your goals, you are in a way signing a contract with yourself and promising yourself that you will work on this plan.
- Make your goals specific, measurable, attainable, and periodically challenging: In following these limitations, you will make the best plan for you. Again, "I will lower my cholesterol" is obviously not a specific goal. "I will buy and eat each oats, beans and fish 3x/week is specific...and might be attainable". As long as you are specific and write them down, you can go back and evaluation them again in 2-4 weeks, and adjust as needed.
- Find an accountability partner! Recruit a friend, partner, co-worker, Facebook friend or significant other to keep you accountable to your goals. Share your goals with each other as ask for each other's help along your journey. *Bonus if you can find a partner to cook/eat and or exercise at least 1 or more times each week.
- Listen to your body and be easy on yourself! Listen to your body needs when it comes to exercise and nutrition. When am I just making excuses and really need to get myself out the door to workout? When am I truly hungry and absolutely need to eat a meal or snack even if I am busy or no one else is eating? When am I eating something when I am not hungry, or something I don't even really like? Reminding yourself to really listen to your needs will help you know when to push and when to rest. When to eat and when to say no thank you.
One common misconception is that this health plan must start on the first day of the year. Choosing the first day of the year to begin health changes can be stressful, and adding pressure to an already difficult life change can and decrease likeliness of success. We challenge you to begin implementing some of these health and nutrition goals and strategies now! During the last week of the year. During Holiday time! You can set the intention to begin now, see what happens, and then gradually "up the ante" as we get into the new year.
Immunity and Nutrition, a Win-Win Situation
A great way to jump start a healthier eating and exercise plan is with the intent to eat immune boosting foods, to help decrease your chances of catching the many cold and flu viruses circulation at this time of year. Once great way to boost your immunity, is to eat plenty of anti-oxidant, fiber and vitamin rich foods- and making quick and easy soup recipes to keep you warm, will make it easier to make healthier choices during the holiday season and throughout the winter months.
❖ Eat immune boosting foods
Though winter has not yet officially started, the past few weeks have been cold!, resulting in first snowfalls and a desire for heartier dishes. As we are suddenly thrusted into the cold season, most of us would love to avoid as many to cold and flu symptoms as possible. to that end, it is important that we eat as many immune boosting foods as we can. Great immune boosting foods include: citrus fruits, leafy greens (kale, spinach..etc), broccoli, carrots (and all orange veggies), ginger, cinnamon, onions, bell peppers, garlic, turmeric, nuts, and seeds. For best protection, as well as overall health benefits, choose different combinations of these foods in your daily meals to help you combat the cold and flu season.
❖ Stay warm with quick and easy soups
here is nothing better to warm the body and soul, than to enjoy a hot bowl of (homemade!) soup while wrapped up in your favorite blanket on a cold snowy night. Making soups from scratch can seem like a daunting task-but fear not, many soup are extremely easy to throw together, and well worth the effort. If you are like me and enjoy soups but are not particularly excited to spend an entire weekday day making them yourself, try this quick and easy recipe that your entire family can enjoy.
Italian Vegetable Soup
Recipe adapted from the following: h
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey or bison meat *
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 Tbs cooking oil
- 6 medium size carrots, thinly sliced (2 cups)
- 6 stalks celery, thinly sliced (2 cups)
- 5 cups water
- 1 10.5 oz. can low sodium chicken or beef broth**
- 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with juices
- 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 15.5 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons beef base or beef bouillon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1/4 head green cabbage, roughly chopped (2 cups)
- Shredded Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley for serving (optional)
- Add 2 Tbs oil to a large pot and heat on medium-high heat
- Chop the onion, then sauté in the pot for 5 to 7 minutes, until fully cooked
- Crumble the turkey or bison meat into the pot and cook until browned
- While the meat is cooking, prep the carrots and celery.
- Add the carrots, celery, water and broth to the pot with the meat and onions. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil as you add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans, beef base/bouillon, salt, basil, parsley, oregano, garlic, and pepper.
- Cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
- Once soup is boiling, stir and reduce the heat slightly to avoid splattering; simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until the carrots are tender (or the longer the better, time permitting).
- Add the corn to the soup, taste the broth and add salt if desired. Stir in the cabbage. Cover and simmer for a few minutes more, until the corn is warm, and the cabbage has wilted.
- Scoop into bowls and, if desired, sprinkle with the cheese and parsley just before serving.
*Note: feel free to substitute the meat ground meat of your preference, or tofu for a vegetarian option, or omit all together.
This soup takes 5-10 mins to prep and 20-30 mins cook-time, so you can have a hearty soup to warm you up in 30-45 mins.
❖ Holiday treats!
A big part of the holidays season is the variety of sweet treats that we have come to expect and enjoy
parties and as part of many family meals. Since these treats are holiday staples, and some are foods we only eat during the holiday season, we do not need to eliminate them to follow a new health plan. What we can do, is continue to include healthy foods, (such as the bean and veg soup above), and make healthier versions of some of the treats. A great alternative for the classic chocolate chip cookie is the following:
Cranberry-Oat-Nut Chocolate Chip Cookie
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup regular oats
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
- 2 1/2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate mini-chips
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- Cooking spray
- Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife, then pour into mixing bowl
- Combine flours, oats, baking powder, + the next 5 ingredients (through chips) in a large bowl.
- Combine sugar + butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light & fluffy.
- Add honey, vanilla, egg, and egg white; beat well.
- Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed until well blended.
- Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350° & drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
- Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.
- Cool 2 minutes on pans.
- Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
With the additions of whole wheat flour, oats, cranberries, and nuts to the classic chocolate chip cookie recipe, you increase the fiber and healthy fats (omega 3 & 6 from walnuts).
, it is important that you listen to your body when making choices, and changes. Again, new changes do not need to begin on the first day of the year-so why wait? Start now with small changes that are specific and attainable and then can gradually add new goals/healthy habits, once you have master the first.
We wish you all a
great, happy, and healthy holiday season, and hope you remember to practice making your new habits stick as you celebrate with your loved ones and spread cheer around you.
A Note from Lauren...
ENJOY the last weeks of 2017 and surround yourself with the people in your life who make these days special. Parties of family and friends, celebrating events and traditions, are wonderful ways to end the year. Focus on foods you enjoy that are SPECIAL - maybe you only eat them during this time of year - so savor them and don't feel guilty about (but don't go overboard either!).
Never say "the hell with it!" and just close you eyes until January. There's nothing wrong with indulging a little bit, but also make healthy choices because it makes you feel good and stay active because it makes you feel good (and improves your mood - especially in the weeks ahead when the days can be cold and gloomy!).
What's your favorite family or holiday tradition? Do you make a treasured recipe every year? Tweet us
or let us know on
! We'd love to see pictures of your holiday parties!
Lauren Antonucci, Director