Can the holidays get any busier? Just when you make it through gift-wrapping and the Christmas cookies, there's the New Year and the inevitable resolutions. When we finally slow down, we realize we need to take a minute and just breathe. (It's interesting our watches have to actually remind us to do that, right?)
So this year, I'm challenging you to start small rather than make resolutions that won't last. Work on one change a week. For example, start with two workouts a week, or start with eating five fruits and vegetables in a day. Or maybe just start with eating a salad instead of a burger to boost your intake of leafy greens. And when that finally becomes a habit, you can add another small change. Just don't try to change everything all at once. That's what backfires, and we tend to give up when we fail.
I love the idea of just slowing down in the New Year so we can think about what's going well and what we need to work on to be better. And the meaning of "be better" is different for all of us. It could be about being more giving or more loving or more patient. Those are all part of healthy living that we don't often talk about.
I want to be better at a few things and not take so many other things on. So maybe, like me, you need to be better at saying no (and not just to a big helping of ice cream at night). Maybe you need to work on saying yes to foods that give your body energy and good fuel, and saying no to the others. And that may mean having just a half-cup of ice cream if that's what you're craving.
I think we need to make peace with food — and our bodies — and realize what we eat makes a huge difference in our outlook and longevity. Most of us know that. But it's also OK to indulge sometimes — just as long as we enjoy it — and then get right back on the healthy lifestyle journey.
Q and A
Q: Are mushrooms healthy?
A: Mushrooms are a great way to add B vitamins (helpful in providing energy by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates). Mushrooms are also fat-free, low-calorie, nutrient-dense and low in sodium. And mushrooms are the only source of vitamin D in the produce aisle. They are also a good source of selenium, a mineral that helps the immune system function properly. Add them to soup, meatloaf, salads and stir-fries.
Like many of you, we have multiple Christmas celebrations to accommodate family schedules. I fixed this Christmas Waldorf Salad at a recent family gathering, and we all loved it. Dried cranberries take the place of raisins, and Greek yogurt and mayonnaise make the salad creamy yet light. It's from Eating Well.
CHRISTMAS WALDORF SALAD
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large sweet apple, diced
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup red grapes, halved
1/3 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt and salt in a large bowl. Add apple, celery, grapes, walnuts and cranberries; toss to coat. Serves 6.
Per serving: 169 calories; 2.3 grams protein; 17.9 grams carbohydrates; 10.9 grams total fat; 2.1 grams fiber; 125 milligrams sodium.
Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee in Springfield, Illinois, and the media representative for the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For comments or questions, contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @NutritionRD. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com
Photo credit: alexbadulescu at Pixabay