Treasure the Moments This Holiday Season…

22 12 2016

Are you enjoying the hustle and bustle of the holiday season? Or are social gatherings and christmas-tree-grape-and-cheese-trayholiday treats creating anxiety and worry about maintaining your healthy habits? Navigating the holiday season can certainly be a challenge, but don’t let stress take away your joy or treasured time spent with family and friends.

Savoring the holidays doesn’t mean that you have to overindulge in anything and everything that comes along. Remember that our holiday season, no matter what holiday you may celebrate, is a time to reflect and ponder the gifts we have been given in our lives, and a time to share joy and peace with others. Of course traditional foods are often part of this reflection (our house would not be the same without my grandmother’s pizzelles and her Italian wedding soup!), and it is a perfect time to share these traditions with those around us. But what you choose to share and savor is completely up to you!  I have heard people say that they are avoiding holiday gatherings, or are worried that there will be no “good” foods to choose from. To this I say, if food is bringing about feelings of fear and guilt, then we have some work to do! Here are some tips to help reduce your anxiety about holiday gatherings, and enjoy the taste of the season:

 

  1. Realize that this time of year is a little different. Foods are different, schedules are different, feelings are different. Be aware of your own needs. This can be as simple as eating regularly, staying hydrated, and getting some rest. If you tend to get stressed out over the holidays, find a way to relax for a few minutes daily. Try a hot bath, a stroll outside in the fresh air, a power nap (no more than 20 minutes!), or even meditation/deep breathing. Gather your thoughts and remember what the holidays are really about.

 

  1. Before you head out to socialize, remember to take the edge off. Never go to a party famished! Have a small snack before you leave the house to help control hunger. An apple and a small handful of nuts can do the trick.

 

  1. Before you eat, make sure you check out everything that is available. Be mindful. Make a conscious decision to choose only the foods that you really want to try, and make one plate to nosh from for the evening. This way you can savor what you really want, and you won’t have to worry about trying everything (and inevitably feel guilty later).

 

  1. Socialize! That’s what you’re there for, right? Conversation is calorie free! Choose to socialize away from the food table, catch up with old friends, and make new ones. Chances are, if you are talking, you aren’t eating (well, because talking with your mouth full is NOT good party manners!).

 

  1. Go easy on the alcohol. Calories from wine, beer, and cocktails can really rack up, so be mindful. If you do drink, do so in moderation (approximately 1 drink for women and 2 drinks for men), and realize that the more you drink, the less you may be able to resist overeating.

 

  1. Bring something wonderful! Everyone is always worried that there will be no “healthy” food for them to eat. Simple solution: bring your own! A festive salad, a healthy appetizer, a pretty dessert. Most people love when guests bring gifts or things to share, so “wow” them with something healthy, pretty, and delicious! Here are some great ideas:

Kale Salad with Cranberry Almond Vinaigrette:

http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/kale-salad-warm-cranberry-vinaigrette-recipe/

Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/roasted-asparagus-wrapped-in-prosciutto-recipe.html

Grapes, Goat Cheese, and Nuts: 

http://inspiredrd.com/2014/11/easy-party-appetizer-nuts-with-goat-cheese-and-grapes/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+inspiredrd/EjAy+(Inspired+RD)

Spiced Hot Fruit Bake:

http://www.cottercrunch.com/gluten-free-spiced-hot-fruit-bake/

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pecans:

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/pumpkin-pie-spiced-pecans

  1. Be realistic. If you are on a weight loss journey, realize that losing weight over the holiday season may be a lofty goal. Focusing on weight maintenance, as well as mindfulness when it comes to food, may be better options. No one should feel anxious or guilty for enjoying time spent sharing holiday traditions with family and friends. Ditch the negative self-talk, cherish your time together, and know that your journey will continue well into the New Year.

 

Wishing you peace, love, and joy this season and always…

Cathy head shot     Cathy Shaw is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

for the WV PEIA Weight Management Program

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Back to School Meal Planning Blues? Never fear, We Are Here!

26 08 2016

Back to school means back to reality for every teacher, child and parent. The days become Cathy head shotpacked with bus schedules, homework, and after school sports. Our lives have changed a bit this year with our oldest going off to college. Now I don’t have to prepare his meals, I just worry about what he is choosing to eat away from home! I found myself in my kitchen last night doing another evening of meal prep for this week thinking, “Yep, school starts tomorrow! The fun has just begun!” This week has brought the challenge of my crazy “back to school” life front and center! I have had to change my meal planning routine to accommodate the needs of my family, and making sure everyone has nourishing, tasty meals that fit our schedule is a big part of the challenge.

Planning healthy meals and snacks for three people seems a little less daunting since we no longer have to worry about 2 children playing sports, but it can still be like choreographing a Broadway show. My daughter has thankfully learned how to pack her own lunch, so that helps a lot. She is very active in sports,  so packs healthy, energizing snacks as well. Depending on work and evening events, my husband and I figure out some way get a healthy meal on the table, or pack food to take with us to sporting events. Among all of this, he and I pack our own lunches and snacks for our work day, and squeeze in some exercise for ourselves.

It sounds like a big job, but being organized and planning ahead can take the pressure off having to make spontaneous and often unwise decisions. Relying on fast food and take out can be unhealthy and expensive. So instead, have a solid plan of quick and easy healthy meals and snacks ready to tackle the week.

6 Tips to Tackle Your Week:

  • Check your family’s schedule! Start with plotting where family members need to be and when, so that you can decide how to tackle meals and snacks for the week. Think about how many meals you need to plan for, and how much time you will have each day. Are you a working parent? Do your children have after school activities? Do you travel for work? All of these factor in.
  • Plan the basics:

Breakfast: Many people eat the same breakfast most days of the week. Are the choices you are making healthy ones? What small change could you make to improve them? Make sure you plan to keep breakfast staples on hand at all times. Are you in a hurry? Try prepping grab and go items like a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat, or a make ahead smoothie in a to-go cup.

Lunch: If you work, do you pack a lunch or succumb to take out because you didn’t have time to pack? Do your kids or spouse need to pack? Plan to keep lunch staples on hand, or to take leftovers from dinner. That is a great way to use up the healthy foods you have taken the time to make. When packing lunches, do it the night before to save you from the morning rush. If you are taking leftovers, put them into to-go containers as you are putting foods away to save time.

Snacks: Plan ahead for healthy snacks for your kids AND yourself. In a slump at 4pm and starving when you get home? A healthy snack with some protein and carbohydrate can bridge the gap. Kids will always need after school, pre-game/pre-practice snacks, so plan what you need to keep on hand (think apples and peanut butter, string cheese and whole grain crackers, low sugar whole grain cereal and low fat milk or yogurt, etc.)

Dinner: Keep a running list of family staple recipes. Store them however you like, but keep the ones you are using for the week at arms-length (Pinterest is a great way to search, organize and access recipes). Are they made from healthy ingredients, or are there easy ways to make 1 or 2 of them more nutritious this week? Try to choose a new recipe at least every couple of weeks to keep variety in your diet. Pick recipes with ingredients that may overlap to keep your shopping list concise. Don’t let recipes overwhelm you with too many ingredients. Plan on making enough to have some leftovers for lunch, or to create another meal. For example, prepare extra chicken and vegetables that can be used for a stir fry or soup on another night! Use My Plate http://goo.gl/MPJsw to help you focus on planning a balanced meal. Can you check off at least 4 food groups for your meal? Using the premise that half of your plate should be vegetables and fruit will start you off on the right foot.

  • Check your pantry! Keeping a well-stocked pantry is key to successful meal planning for busy families. Get some great ideas here for some basic kitchen staples and kid friendly pantry items: The Good Pantry  A Kid Friendly Pantry Make sure you have what you need for meals and snacks you have planned. What you don’t have on hand, write on your grocery list for the week. Remember to write down the quantities of things you need, otherwise you may come up empty handed. Also, keep a running list of things you need during the week, so you don’t forget anything when you go to the store.
  • Time to shop! Plan adequate time to shop for what you need. Shop from your list to keep impulse spending down. If there are specialty items you need, make sure your grocer carries them, or you may need to find a substitute.
  • Prep it up! It always helps to prep up some of your foods ahead of time to make things flow smoothly during the week. Check your meal plan and figure out what you are going to need for the at least next few days. Some great ways to get started….

*Wash and chop/cut veggies and fruit for recipes and snacks as needed

*Precook meat for things like tacos, casseroles and soups, and drain and rinse beans.      These can be used any meal.

*Get out food prep items you might need like the slow cooker, pots/pans the night before.

  • Get cooking! If you have planned things out pretty well, evening meal prep should be a breeze! Use some great tools to your advantage like the crock pot, pressure cooker, grill, and microwave. Remember to keep it simple, healthy and tasty, and the stress of meal prep will be kept to a minimum

To hit the ground running start out with some healthy breakfast ideas for busy mornings! Check out the great ideas here from http://www.Eatright.org:

http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/snack-and-meal-ideas/breakfast-on-the-go

Want to pack your own 5 Star lunch box? Get some great tips here:

https://healthperformance.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/who-said-lunchboxes-are-just-for-kids/

http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2015/01/over-50-healthy-work-lunchbox-ideas.html

Eatright.org also has some great tips for planning healthy family dinners! Check out these ideas, and this great summer recipe!

http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/cooking-tips-and-trends/delicious-family-dinners-for-weeknights

Mexican Zucchini Burrito Boats: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AYlxcm643jTc6HlvNYvXux5aHqM3FRhaCDRVYxrXt3vZj8rQ1WdNxLg/





Beautiful Blueberries!

19 07 2016

July is National Blueberry Month, and what a perfect time to find out how amazing these Cathy head shotsweet little berries are!

Blueberries rank only second to strawberries as the nation’s most popular berry. There are more species of blueberries native to North America than any other continent. Ripe and plentiful this in the summer months, you will find the locals flocking to blueberry farms for some “you-pick-em” fun! We are fortunate enough to have an organic blueberry farm nearby (where we can eat while we pick!), so we have enough blueberries to eat (like candy!) and freeze for the fall and winter months.

Health benefits of blueberries:

Blueberries are low in calories (about 80 calories per cup) and have one of the highest antioxidant values of all fruits. These phytochemical properties help the body combat free radicals that damage cell structures and DNA, thus potentially helping protect the body from a variety of cancers as well as the effects of aging and degenerative diseases. Regular consumption of blueberries (1-2 cups per day for 1-3 months) is also linked to improved cardiovascular health as well, particularly in the arena of improving lipid balances in the body, protecting the lining of blood vessel walls, and supporting healthy blood pressure. For all you have ever wanted to know, and much more visit The World’s Healthiest Foods at  http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=8 .

When looking for fresh blueberries, look for ones that are firm, plump, smooth, and have a silver/gray surface sheen. The color should be deep purple-blue or blue-black. Store your blueberries in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator, preferably in a drawer with high relative humidity. They should keep there for up to a week.

To freeze your berries, wash and pat dry and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer until frozen solid, then transfer to a freezer bag and force out the excess air before sealing. They can be stored frozen for up to a 6 months in a conventional freezer and up to a year in a stand alone freezer.

So this weekend, head out for some blueberry picking or visit your local farmer’s market, then discover some delicious new recipes like:

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal:  http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2015/01/blueberry-baked-oatmeal/  Nutrition facts for this recipe per serving: 201 calories, 4g fat, 1g saturated fat, 36g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 6g protein, 195mg sodium, 60mg potassium

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Bites: https://www.skinnymom.com/frozen-blueberry-yogurt-bites/  (Nutrition facts are included)

And a savory and delightful addition to your salad…Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette: http://www.liveeatlearn.com/blueberry-balsamic-vinaigrette/  Nutrition facts for each 2Tbsp serving: 107 calories, 9g fat, 1g saturated fat, 7g carbohydrate, 0g protein, 9mg sodium, 25mg potassium

Let us know your creative ways of using these little gems!

BlueberriesIMG_2332

 





This “Parrothead’s” View of Summertime Adventures

10 06 2016

Margaritaville

 

Greetings summer! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Summer is quite honestly my favorite season of the year. If I could live somewhere tropical year round, I would. I love the sunshine, warm temperatures, long days, and moon lit nights. My favorite seasonal foods (you guessed it, fruits and veggies!) are fresh and abundant, and travel is always on the agenda.

If you are like me, you love to travel, whether it be weekend road trips to popular cities and close by mountain getaways, or long trips to the coast to enjoy the sand, surf, and your own little version of “Margaritaville”. In my world a “license to chill” is readily accepted and cherished.

But, that license to chill can also put a damper on your healthy lifestyle goals if you are not mindful. Most people give in to the fact that they are destined to gain weight instead of lose weight on vacation, but that doesn’t have to be the case. As a matter of fact, I encourage my clients to set a goal for maintaining their weight while out on their adventures. This is much more achievable, and won’t leave them disappointed and frustrated with themselves after their trip.

Keeping these few things in mind can keep you sailing in the right direction, instead of getting “stranded on a sandbar”:

  1. Ditch the “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and pack a cooler for road trips. Fill it with healthy snacks or even a picnic lunch. Depending on your destination, there may not be many options other than fast food and convenience stores on the road less traveled. Try packing chopped veggies, plenty of fresh fruit, nuts, popcorn, and string cheese. For a relaxing roadside picnic, pack a good ol’ PBJ sandwich on whole wheat, some yogurt, sweet potato chips, and, don’t forget the water! If you must stop to buy something to eat, choose the healthiest possible items (think more vegetables and fruit) and keep portions small or share with a travel buddy.
  2. Beware of the “Boat Drinks”. Hot summer days and cool, starry nights make those legal beverages way more appealing! Yes, it’s five o’ clock somewhere, and cold beer and frozen margaritas seem to go hand in hand with summer vacation. But, be mindful. A 12oz beer, a 5oz glass of wine (that’s right, I said 5oz), and a 1 ½ oz shot of liquor have about 150 calories each! Some craft beers can push 250 calories, and that mixer you just added to your tequila just robbed the sugar and calorie bank (an 8oz margarita on the rocks clocks in at 455 calories, while a 12oz can set you back 680). Try to stick to one drink, and if you can’t, try to trim back by drinking light beer, making a spritzer by adding seltzer or diet Sprite/7 Up to your white wine, and using sugar free mixers for your liquor. And remember to drink plenty of water, especially on hot days when alcohol can exacerbate dehydration.

Try this “Skinny” Coconut Margarita recipe…but remember, just 1! http://withsaltandwit.com/skinny-coconut-margarita/

3. Get on the “Coconut Telegraph” (i.e. Google) and map out a plan to enjoy the local fare. Are there farm markets or costal roadside stands brimming with local fruits, vegetables, and even seafood? Plan on eating in and savoring healthy, flavorful foods with friends. There’s nothing like a simple meal of grilled vegetables, broiled seafood (or my favorite, a bushel of Maryland blue crab with lots of Old Bay), and slices of juicy watermelon after a long day in the sun. Save restaurant trips for a special night to help keep a lid on overindulgence.

Try this recipe for a fresh shrimp and avocado salad: https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fbuzzfeedtasty%2Fvideos%2F1748850728700902%2F&show_text=0&width=560

4. Use that “Tin Cup Chalice” for water…lots of it! If you are spending the day in the heat, whether in the city or along the coast, dehydration is a serious risk. Drink plenty of water and don’t wait until you are thirsty to do so. Carry a bottle of water on sightseeing adventures and pack a cooler to take to the beach. Try water infused with fresh fruit for a great tasting twist, or freeze 100% juice for a great frozen treat.

WATER RECIPES (COLOR HORIZONTAL)

Raspberry Greek Yogurt Popcicles: http://thelemonbowl.com/2015/07/raspberry-greek-yogurt-popsicles.html

 

  1. Get up and do the “Desperation Samba”. In other words, get moving! Now is your chance! Take advantage of beautiful weather and great outing opportunities to move and have fun. Take an early morning run on the beach, or a cool evening walk on the boardwalk with your sweetheart. Go hiking in the mountains or dance the night away to local music. Swim and snorkel with the fish and boogie board with your kids (didn’t know you could still do that, did you!). Fly kites, play wiffle ball, and do the limbo! That’s what vacation is for…you never know, you just might be a “Hula Girl at Heart”.

 

So remember, the next time you hit the road or fly the friendly skies, staying active, being mindful of choices and portions, and savoring fresh local flavors can be your ticket to a great holiday. Bon Voyage!

Family-at-the-beach_summer-fun

Cathy Shaw, RD, LD is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian for the WV PEIA Weight Management Program





Master the “Market Madness”

13 04 2016

webmd_photo_of_family_shopping_fresh_produce_aisle

 

Is the term “grocery shopping” considered profanity in your house? Believe me, I have plenty of clients that consider these dirty words! Grocery shopping can be overwhelming, exhausting, and expensive if you are not prepared with a few strategies. There are many tactics that supermarkets use to get you to buy things you don’t need which can be a burden on your wallet and your health. So, let’s get prepared with some hints to help you master the madness…

  1. Make a list. Plan what you intend to buy before you get there. Go through your pantry, take inventory, and decide what you need. If you know the layout of the store, list things according to the sections they are in so you can make one clean sweep.
  2. Don’t shop on an empty stomach! If you are hungry, you are more likely to buy things you don’t need (and things that may not be so healthy). Have a hearty snack or eat your meal before you go, and you will be less likely to indulge.
  3. Try shopping the perimeter of the store first for your fresh produce, meats/poultry/fish, and dairy. Then hit the center aisles for your whole grains, frozen, canned, and dried fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes, healthy oils, and dried herbs and spices.
  4. Beware the “end cap”. Aisle end caps are usually home to sale and seasonal items that just scream “buy me!”. They are often loaded with nutrient poor, processed foods (think s’mores fixings, cake mixes and frosting, mac and cheese, seasonal cookies, etc.) that are not on your original shopping list. Stick to your list, and walk on by.
  5. Check the shelves. Have you ever noticed the products at eye level? Manufacturers pay a pretty penny to put their products right where you can see them. Notice that the “kid” cereals loaded with sugar and marshmallows, and adorned with cartoon characters are right in front of their faces? That is no accident. Products found at eye level are there because you are more likely to buy them, and they are often more expensive. Remember to look high and low on the shelves for better prices and check labels for better nutritional values.
  6. Bye, bye, bakery. What’s that amazing smell? Why, the bakery of course. Store bakeries often fire up the ovens at the times stores are most crowded, enticing you to come their way. Unfortunately, bakeries can be sketchy to navigate. If you have a great bakery in your store that has a lot of fresh, whole great options, that’s great. If it is like most store bakeries in my town, it is full of sugary sweets and refined grains (i.e. lots of white bread products)—not the fuel my family needs. When in doubt, opt out.
  7. Avoid the lures of the check out aisle. Waiting to check out and can’t resist the candy bars? Keep a healthy snack, like a baggie of nuts and dried fruit, in your purse for just such occasions. Feel free to browse through magazines, check Facebook on your phone, or even use the self check out aisle instead.
  8. Do a final cart check. As you are standing in line, check out your cart. Do you have high octane nutritional fuel in that cart for you and your family? If so, you should see lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and heart healthy fats (think nuts, seeds, oils). If you see mostly soda, chips, cookies, and boxes of mac and cheese, it’s probably time to rethink your shopping strategy. Take a few minutes to balance out your cart—you can always put back what you don’t need!

Are you a shopping pro who is willing to share your expertise? Let us know your best shopping tips!

Cathy head shot

Cathy Shaw RD, LD is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian for the PEIA Weight Management Program

 





9 Hacks for Healthy Eating

21 03 2016


I'm Blogging National Nutrition Month

Are you tired of eating fast food and being unprepared? Want to eat healthier, but don’t know where to start? Well, lucky for you, March is National Nutrition Month! This is a great time to take a cold, hard look at what you are eating and try to make things a little better! We have come up with 9 keys to eating healthier (and feeling better!), so start with number one and work your way through the list.

  • Keep it simple! Instead of diving into a restrictive diet you won’t be able to live with, make it easy for yourself. “Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants”, says Michael Pollan. Make 1/2 of your plate colorful vegetables and fruit. Balance out your plate with high quality protein like lean poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, beans and legumes, as well as whole grains or starchy veggies such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, or sweet potatoes. Finish it off with heart healthy fats like avocado, nuts and olive oil.
  • Control your environment: If the Oreos call you from the cabinet, or you can’t keep your hands out of the chip bag, keep them out of the house! There is no doubt that the visible environment influences our food choices. Set yourself up for success by keeping the junk food out, and healthy snacks in plain view.
  • Stockpile healthy snacks: Make sure to keep healthy snacks on hand wherever you are. Fruit, nuts, and whole grain cereals are convenient grab and go’s. If you have a cooler bag, try single serve Greek yogurt or string cheese. Don’t run the tank too low and end up “hangry”!
  • Make the “swap”: Swap out calorie dense foods for nutrient rich ones that are high in nutrition and low in calories. Swap your Frosted Flakes for whole grain oats, your French fries for a baked sweet potato, your bacon cheeseburger for a turkey burger, and your creamy coleslaw for salad greens with vinaigrette. These swaps can save you calories and put high octane nutrition in your tank.
  • Plan your meals in advance (and don’t forget the leftovers!): Take time to make a game plan for your week. Plan out a few dinner meals, and make sure to plan at least 1 leftover night. Leftovers can be used to make completely new dishes, or simply eaten as is. Plan some basic foods to keep on hand for breakfast, lunch and snacks. These are more routine and can be simple. Doing some preparation ahead of time (like chopping veggies or browning meat), or using kitchen gadgets like your crock pot, save time and make meal prep a breeze.
  • Grocery shop: These are dirty words to some people, but, the fact is, we are not all farmers! Most of us have to shop for food if we want to eat, so make this part of your weekly routine. Plan your meals, write your list, and head to the market. Shop the perimeter of the store for most of your whole foods like fresh produce, meat, and dairy. Fill in with necessities from the middle like whole grains, frozen and canned produce, and healthy oils, herbs and spices.
  • Don’t skip meals: People who eat regularly have more energy and tend to manage their weight better than those who ignore their hunger and wait all day to eat. Allow yourself to get over-hungry and you will likely be eating anything that isn’t nailed down by dinner time.And, timing of meals does seem to matter. Research has shown that those who eat most of their calories earlier in the day have an easier time with weight management than those who eat most of their calories in the evening.
  • Get your sleep! You might think, “We are talking about food here, right?”. Yep. Sleep deprivation alters hunger and satiety hormones which can cause us to eat more. Being exhausted leaves us searching for energy, and often leads to poor choices (lots of sugar and caffeine). Being awake longer also gives us more time to be hungry and nosh when we should be sleeping.
  • De-stress: Find healthy ways to manage stress. Being stressed out increases cortisol (that nasty stress hormone) levels which in turn can make it more difficult to manage your weight. “Stress-eaters” are plentiful, meaning they go straight to comfort foods when the feel overwhelmed. Find other ways to cope. Take on less, get help with daily tasks, take breaks to decompress. If you can’t, try exercise, meditation, listen to music, take a bubble bath. There are plenty of ways to reduce stress without turning to unhealthy foods for relief.

Tell us your best hacks for eating healthier, and how you are planning to savor the flavor of eating right!

Cathy head shot Cathy Shaw is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian for the PEIA Weight Management Program





Instead of Resolutions, Let’s Make a Fresh New Start

15 01 2016

Well, we are 2 weeks into January 2016, and how many of you have already ditched your New Year’s resolutions? Or didn’t make any at all because you knew they would never last? January offers us a fresh new month in a fresh new year. Instead of harping on resolutions, why not focus on a fresh new start!

The last several weeks have been a whirlwind of parties, shopping, family gatherings, and often overindulgence. The new year offers us the chance to look at things in a different light; a chance to start anew. A chance to take a deep breath and move forward. So what can you do to make a fresh new start? Try some of these fresh ideas!

Make it a fresh healthy start every day by having a nourishing breakfast. Try a bowl of warm oats with sliced bananas, chopped pecans and a drizzle of honey, greek yogurt with whole grain granola, or cottage cheese with fresh fruit. It starts your day off on the right foot, and gives you the energy your body needs to tackle the day. Want something different to try? Check out a mango vanilla smoothie, or even rice pudding for breakfast!

Each week, pick out a fresh new recipe to make, made with as many whole, fresh foods as possible (think veggies, fruits, whole grains, beans, etc). This adds excitement and variety to your meal planning, and can be a lot of fun! Make it a game by putting recipe names on pieces of paper or popsicle sticks and place them in a jar. Have a family member draw out a new one every week. Have your kids help you shop for and prepare your new recipe for your family. Remember, every trip to the grocery and every meal made in your kitchen can be an opportunity to grow a healthy eater!

http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/eating-as-a-family/raise-healthy-eaters-in-the-new-year

Get some fresh air. Yes, winter has set in, but that doesn’t mean the air isn’t just as sweet! The crisp, cold winter air is invigorating, and getting some sunshine on a cold winter day does the body good. That sunshine can help your body make its own Vitamin D, something many people are deficient in during long winter months spent indoors. Don’t like the cold? That is what they make cold weather gear for. Layer up, butter cup! Get some great tips here!

http://www.activelynorthwest.com/fitness/dos-donts-layering-for-winter/

Take up a fresh new winter activity. Learning to do something new is always great no matter how old you are! I grew up ice skating on our neighbor’s pond and skiing in the Pocono Mountains with all of my friends. When I was able to take ice skating and skiing back up when my children were old enough to learn, it was so exciting! If these aren’t for you, try things like snow shoeing and hiking on the rail trails (be sure to wear insulated shoes with good tread, or get yourself some Yak Trax), cross country skiing (WV has some great trails!), or challenge yourself to a winter 5K. Play with your children and grandchildren outside. Try sledding, tubing, building snowmen, and making snow angels. Feel like a kid again!

BusyBeesBenefits_com Family Playing in the Snow
Try a fresh new way to focus on the “good stuff”. Start a Gratitude Jar. Every time you or someone in your family experiences something good, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in a big jar. Keep this up throughout the year, and on New Year’s Day, pull out and read all of the “good stuff”. What a great way to remember and reflect on all of our blessings!

gratitude jar

 

So instead of wasting time on resolutions that you know aren’t going to last, tell us, what will you do to make a fresh new start?

…Cathy Shaw, RD, LD is a registered and licensed dietitian with the PEIA Weight Management Program