Simple Tricks to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution
By Cristina Guccione
January has come and gone and the motivation for those healthy New Year’s resolutions have probably taken a back seat to your impending work load, kids activities, and Friday night happy hours. However, it’s still possible to get back on track with these simple tricks. My experience as a foodie does not make me an expert in nutrition however, I have found some simple tricks over the years to cut down my calorie intake after the holiday indulgence and into the New Year.
Trick #1 “Salad Dressing”
Most of us have heard that salad dressing is where the hidden sugars and fat live and can make a seemly healthy meal a caloric disaster. For the “can I please have a side of ranch” people, it can mean even more fat added to your pepperoni pizza. Well, since I am definitely one of those “can I please have a side of ranch” people, I’ve come up with a healthier solution: Mix one packet of ranch seasoning into a 16 oz. container of low-fat sour cream. It’s roughly only 20 calories per tablespoon. Not into pre-packaged products? Try this: One, 16 oz. container of fat-free Greek yogurt (organic if you like), half a peeled, minced, seeded cucumber, one chopped green onion, chopped cilantro, a little bit of garlic, and salt. Use either of these options as a salad dressing or dip and enjoy knowing it won’t all be going to your hips!
Trick #2 “Preparation”
Some of the poor food decisions we make are because we are in a hurry or too hungry to wait. This can be solved by taking the time to prepare your food ahead of time. When you get home from the grocery store, clean and cut your veggies and fruit and put them in Tupperware. Make “salad dressing.” And, if you buy meat in bulk, portion it out to your family size, clean and trim it, and wrap it in individual servings. Keep some in your refrigerator and put the rest in the freezer. This makes it much easier to make a healthy meal as the prep is done and bonus, buying in bulk saves money.
Trick #3 “Carb Intake”
I’ve tried to follow the, “don’t eat carbs after 3:00 p.m. rule” (read it online somewhere), and actually, it makes sense. Not because carbs are our archenemy, but because it forces you to think of alternatives to your normal cooking routine. Consider this idea – try and make a meal without bread, pasta or processed sugar. This means that most fast food is off the table, along with pizza, burgers, Chinese food, and pre-packaged/frozen food. You are left with a variety of proteins, dairy, vegetables, and fruit, the other 4/5ths of ChooseMyPlate.gov. For those who have hit a stumbling block, here are some dinner ideas (just type them in Google for specific recipes):
- Spinach salad with grilled chicken, grapefruit and orange wedges, dried cranberries, and goat cheese, with a lemon vinaigrette
- Tostada salad with ground beef, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, diced onions, and bell peppers, topped with a little cheddar cheese and hot sauce
- Roasted Chicken with winter vegetables
- Surf and Turf: grilled steak and prawns with steamed broccoli
- Turkey meatloaf with sautéed greens beans and oyster mushrooms
- Slow cooker pot roast with heirloom carrots, onions, and parsnips
Trick #4 “Fill up before you fill up”
This is a simple quick fix and it works. Drink two glasses of water prior to your meal (bubbly water is even better), and eat your veggies first. You will get full faster and also force yourself to drink more water!
Trick #5 “Dessert is still an option”
This is where most people get weak in the knees and will come up with any excuse to eat a box of chocolates. Maybe you ate a really healthy dinner, went to the gym, or are surfing the crimson wave. Regardless of trying to equal out of scales of justice, dessert is still an option. Mix your favorite fruit and Greek yogurt (any kind or flavor) in a blender. Pour into popsicle molds or ice trays with toothpicks (cover with foil so the toothpicks stay in place). Freeze and enjoy!
I try and stick to these simple tricks and like anything in life, you just have to create new, better habits. Try it for a month and you may notice that it’s now second nature and you don’t even miss “Ranch,” bread with dinner, or chocolate…well, let’s take the chocolate part out – that will always be missed.