Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I had a wonderful holiday season of special meals, toasts to friends and family, traditional goodies around the house, late hours and a general vacation lifestyle. I hope that you had a good holiday too! But here it is, January 2009 and back to work. Are you feeling a little bloated with the holiday foods and the celebratory lifestyle like I am? Where do we start to get back on the track? First of all, take inventory. Have you cleaned up the holiday decorations and put them away for next year? Do the same for your food inventory. Are there still lots of high fat and sugar temptations calling your name? Fancy cheeses and dips, cookies, boxes of candies, nut breads? All of these don’t need to be thrown away – I know that some of you have thrifty genes! Look at what you can freeze. Inspect leftovers carefully for signs of spoilage. If you see mold on cheeses, breads or cookies that have been kept for over two weeks at room temperature, toss these into the trash. Cheeses and breads can be frozen by wrapping tightly in freezer bags, plastic wrap or aluminum foil if they are still fresh. Avoid air pockets that will collect frost which will affect the taste and quality of the product. If leftover goodies are not worthy of freezing but still lingering, sort them into portions so they can be included into meals or snacks in reasonable amounts and not tempting you to eat just one more. Combine cheeses with fresh vegetables, whole grain bread and or low fat soups. All foods can fit into a healthy diet if eaten in proportion with other healthy foods. Refresh your pantry with lots of fruits and vegetables. Cut these into portions that can be packed into small bags so they can be available for snacks, car trips and lunches. Plan your dinner menus to include larger portions of colorful vegetables instead of large portions of meat and starchy foods. Studies have shown that this Mediterranean style of eating also assists in weight loss and healthier hearts. Get out of the house! Plan some form of exercise for each day that gets you away from the kitchen. If the weather keeps you inside but you can get to the mall, take several laps around the inside. With some of the larger grocery stores, you could even work off some calories making an extra trip up and down the aisles! Keeping busy away from food removes the temptation to snack. As we pack up the holiday, give yourself one more gift. Think about what you need to do to be healthy. Join an exercise class, start planning your menus, try some new recipes that are lower in calories, fat and salt or start a journal of healthy habits. Then share your plans with a friend who might join you in your efforts. I wish you a wonderful 2009 – and may this month include a step towards good health. I’m putting on my walking shoes. Those snickerdoodles will have to wait until lunch time. Good luck!

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