Happy National Nutrition Month, this year’s theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right”! The biggest influence of what we eat, comes down to taste. If it doesn’t taste good, you know you won’t eat it. The good news is that there are so many healthy choices to be had that eating right is something everyone can do!
This month as we ease into spring (hopefully at some point soon!) ease into a healthier eating pattern. Take a look at your current eating patterns and pick a couple of small things you can change. It might be to add a vegetable to your day, or cut back your snack food habit by half (remember to make it doable!). Focus on really enjoying the vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy and protein sources you choose. By the end of the month you’ll have eased into some new habits and will be ready to enjoy the spring weather. Don’t forget physical activity as a way to stay healthy! Choose something that you really enjoy and make a point of incorporating that activity into your month more often!
Today I’m going to spread some love, not with chocolate like last year, but with some heart healthy nuts. Do we really need candy and big heavy meals to show our loved ones that we care? No, of course not! After finally getting some space and perspective between us and the last long holiday season (October 31st through January 1st), now is not time to blow it all on some foil covered heart shaped treats! Unless of course it is really really fabulous, and then I urge you to indulge in moderation!
Try treating your loved ones (friends, family, co-workers, employees, neighbors, postal worker, and whoever else you may love) to some nuts. You may have heard the news lately about this study (Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality) published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study showed an inverse association between nut consumption and total mortality among both women and men as well as inverse associations between nut consumption and deaths due to cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease. What does that mean? In a nutshell (sorry, couldn’t help it) it means that the people in the study who regularly ate nuts had lower rates of death.
Give the gift of nuts (and health) to those you love today and enjoy – in moderation of course! Happy Valentine’s Day!
I have had a love/hate relationship with dear old February for many years. It always seems to be the coldest and bleakest month of the year here in the Northeast, but on the other hand it is also the shortest! This year along with celebrating Valentines Day and National Heart Month, it is also time to honor athletes from around the world in the Winter Olympics! These three things alone are helping me to bear up even though we are suffering from sub-freezing temperatures.
As you may remember, I love the Olympics! I am so inspired by these elite athletes and the dedication they have shown in order to reach the pinnacle of their sport. As someone still working to recover from injury (plantar fasciitis takes forever to heal!) I am using this inspiration to help me keep focused on my own goals and ultimate success in recovery. Even though I will never be an olympian, it doesn’t mean that I should never attempt to reach my own personal potential! We can all eat and train like athletes to get the most out of life.
There is a great article from last year, about the Olympic Training Center and how the dietitians help athletes to perform their best. The advice given (such as to embrace whole foods, hydrate properly, and commit fully) can be put to good use by all of us. It is sometimes all too easy to give up in the face of uncertainty. We have all bargained with ourselves before: “It’s too cold outside for a run”, “a few doughnuts for breakfast aren’t the end of the world”, “I don’t really need to give 100% this time”; the problem comes when all of this bargaining keeps us from achieving our goals.
Next time you hear that inner voice talking you down, ask yourself what those olympians might have said to themselves during all of the years leading to this moment. Hopefully this will bring you a little inspiration as you work to achieve your own health goals.
Image from http://www.olympic.org
One of my favorite christmas gifts this past year, was a book from my son called Vegetable of the Day. I love this for so many reasons. He not only picked it out, he also told my husband that he would willingly try the new recipes in the book.
So when I opened this present, I got buy in from all three boys that they would try at least one new vegetable recipe every week this year. I know, I know, the book is vegetable of the day not the week, but I like to make my goals S.M.A.R.T. As you may recall, this means they should be Specific, Measurable Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. By setting the goal at just one per week, it will be much more attainable and takes some pressure off.
I’ve been very inspired by all of the new recipes in the book and they boys have been game (for the most part) to try some new foods. So far we have had Beet Gratin with Fontina & Walnuts, Butternut Squash & Pear with Rosemary, Farro with Caramelized Root Vegetables, Edamame Hummus with Grilled Naan, Spanish Tortilla with Leeks, and Quinoa Pilaf with Shiitakes Edamame & Ginger. That last one is from America’s Test Kitchen and not this new book. The recipe is free until April 30th so if you are interested you can check it out – it was really delicious!
You don’t need to buy a vegetable cookbook to try out a new vegetable dish each week like us. There are so many websites these days that can give you vegetable inspiration. Eating Well, Vegetarian Times, and Cooking Light, are just a few. Another technique I like is to go into the produce section of the grocery store and pick something you’ve never tried before. Once you get it home, spend a little time googling around to figure out how to cook it. This can be particularly fun for children. Having them say “what the heck is rutabaga?” and then taking one home, cooking it and putting it on the dinner table, is a fun experience; plus it’s really fun to say rutabaga!
Farro with Caramelized Root Vegetables