Lisa Eaton Wright, wellness coordinator for Moraine Valley Community College and media spokesperson for the Illinois Dietetic Association, offers some suggestions on getting back on track after the holiday season. Wright says the new year is a great time to start the year off right, by setting specific, yet realistic goals.
“I like to focus on the positive, especially at the start of a new year," Wright said. "We so often hear negative messages such as, 'don’t eat this' or 'don’t do that.' It’s better to think of things we should do and things we should eat.”
So how do we start off right with healthy and ‘wellthy’ resolutions?
“It’s better and more realistic to start with small changes and gradually introduce new things once you’re comfortable with the change in order to lead to a healthier lifestyle that’s consistent, one that you can maintain in the long run," Wright said. "Skip the diet. Just eat healthy.”
Wright offers the following Healthy and "Wellthy" New Year's resolutions:
- Get moving. Remember, sitting is the new smoking! So incorporate more physical activity every day, outside of your regular workouts. Walk when possible, take the stairs, park farther away from the entrance, get up from your desk once or twice an hour.
- Eat in more than you eat out. Learn kitchen skills and find easy and healthy recipes which save money and lead to a greater appreciation for the food you prepared. Think quality over quantity.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Try a new activity or a new food.
- Eat breakfast – Start your day off right. There are many studies that link eating breakfast to better work performance and weight management. Don’t skip breakfast. Plan ahead and include some protein - at breakfast and every meal.
- Drink more water. Cut out the sugar sweetened beverages. Your main beverage should be water. Sometimes when we think we're hungry, we’re actually thirsty.
- Eat more foods from the earth. Translation: eat more fruits and vegetables and be sure to include whole grains, nuts and seeds. Limiting the consumption of processed foods will help you achieve this goal.
- Eat mindfully. Before putting something in your mouth, ask yourself, “Am I hungry?” Eat slowly to taste and enjoy your foods where eating is the only activity you are participating in at the time. More awareness with eating usually prevents overeating.
- Plan meals and snacks. We make better choices when healthy food is around. Make a schedule for the meals and snacks for the week and add the needed ingredients to your grocery shopping list. Then shop directly from the list.
- Stock your kitchen. Keep staples like dry goods, whole grains, frozen vegetables, fresh produce, low fat dairy, frozen proteins, and spices on hand. Having access to healthy foods make it easier to make healthy choices as part of your plan.
- Adequate sleep and stress management. These two aspects of wellness are an important part of the puzzle to start and stay healthy.
With winter in the air, the soup recipe below will provide an abundance of nutrients to start your year off right. Enjoy!
Vegetarian Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 (32 ounces) box low-sodium vegetable broth
4 cups packed chopped kale
1 (14.5 ounces) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounces) can no-salt-added cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 ounces) can sliced carrots, drained, or two large carrots, peeled and sliced
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes.
Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Add kale and cook until wilted.
Add broth and tomatoes (and fresh carrots, if using) and cover. Cook 5 minutes or until kale and fresh carrots are tender.
Add beans and canned carrots and heat thoroughly.
Serve hot and sprinkled with parmesan cheese and a slice of crusty whole grain bread.
PER SERVING: 284 calories (80 from fat), 8g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 460mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 9g protein. (Published on Whole Foods Market.)