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By Terri Hahn
Journalist 

Resolving to eat healthy for 2022

 

January 6, 2022

Oregon State Extension; www.foodhero.org

Baked apples and cranberries

If I had been locked in a cave over the past few days with only Words With Friends on my phone to keep me occupied, I still would have known it was the New Year's holiday weekend.

Even without my calendar app, Facebook or the Internet (except for the WWF connection), I would have known it was Jan. 1, 2022.

How? Because all of a sudden every other ad that popped up between games was for NutriSystem or Weight Watchers. Marie Osmond and Oprah were working overtime. Because with the New Year comes resolutions and with resolutions comes the desire to eat healthy and/or lose weight. And with those resolutions come commercials. Lots and lots of commercials.

But what does it take to eat healthy in the new year? Are NS or WW the only way to go? Of course not, but what can you do?

While doing research for this column, I found no shortage of suggestions: Cook more at home (isn't that pretty much what we've been doing for the past two years?), eat more whole grains, eat more beans, go easy on carbs, eat more carbs, eat more fruits and vegetables (duh!), cut the fat, add more protein. The list is endless (and often contradictory). But does it have to be complicated?

The simple answer is "no." But ... there is no quick fix.

Despite all the variations of weight loss plans, says Cami Wells, an Extension Educator in Grand Island, the most effective way to lose weight and to permanently maintain weight loss over time is to moderate calorie and fat intake, follow a healthy balanced diet and stay active.

Here are a few strategies from Wells:

-- Set the right goals: Setting the right goals is an important first step. Most people trying to lose weight focus on just that one goal: weight loss. However, the most productive areas to focus on are the dietary and physical activity changes that will lead to long-term weight change. Successful weight managers are those who select two or three goals at a time that are manageable.

-- Reward success (but not with food): An effective reward is something that is desirable, timely, and dependent on meeting your goal. The rewards you choose may be material (e.g., a movie or music CD, or a payment toward buying a more costly item) or an act of self-kindness (e.g., an afternoon off from work or just an hour of quiet time away from family). Frequent small rewards, earned for meeting smaller goals, are more effective than bigger rewards that require a long, difficult effort.

-- Balance your food and physical activity checkbook: "Self-monitoring" refers to observing and recording some aspect of your behavior, such as calorie intake, servings of fruits and vegetables, amount of physical activity, etc., or an outcome of these behaviors, such as weight. Self-monitoring of a behavior can be used at times when you're not sure how you're doing, and at times when you want the behavior to improve.

-- Get the fullness message: Changing the way you go about eating can make it easier to eat less without feeling deprived. It takes 15 or more minutes for your brain to get the message that you've been fed. Eating slowly will help you feel satisfied. Eating lots of vegetables and fruits can make you feel fuller. Another trick is to use smaller plates so that moderate portions do not appear too small. Changing your eating schedule, or setting one, can be helpful, especially if you tend to skip, or delay, meals and overeat later.

Several years ago, the National Institutes of Health developed the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Wells says it focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins.

DASH is not a fad diet, but a healthy eating plan that supports long-term lifestyle changes. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods, and includes whole grains, poultry, fish, lean meats, beans and nuts. It is rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium, as well as protein and fiber.

However, it calls for a reduction in high fat red meat, sweets, and sugar-containing beverages.

Wells says the DASH eating plan requires no special foods and has no hard-to-follow recipes. It simply calls for a certain number of daily servings from various food groups. The DASH eating plan was designed for those with high blood pressure, but it is also a heart-healthy plan you can share with your family. Here are some of the basics:

- Eight to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day

- Two to three servings of low-fat dairy products every day

- Limit sodium intake

- Increase physical activity

- Try to cut down on the amount of fat you eat

DASH supporters advise starting gradually to eat the DASH way. Try to structure meals around vegetables and carbohydrates, instead of around foods high in protein. And remember, eight to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables are not as much as you think, since the recommended serving sizes are half the amount the average American considers to be a serving.

Here are some recipes to help add fruits and vegetables to your diet.

Baked Apple and Cranberries

1 baking apple (try Granny Smith, Jonathan or Braeburn)

Dash of cinnamon to taste

1 tablespoon dried cranberries

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon margarine

Wash apple and remove core, leaving the bottom to hold in the filling. Peel a small band of skin from around the top of the apple. Place the apple in a microwave safe container.

Sprinkle cinnamon around the top of the apple and into the hole. Fill the center of the apple with cranberries, pressing down if needed. Top the cranberries with the brown sugar and margarine.

Cover loosely with wax paper. Microwave on high for about 2-1/2 minutes or until apple is soft when poked through the center hole with a fork. Cool slightly.

Makes 1 serving.

Nutritional information per serving: 150 calories, 2 g fat, 25 mg sodium, 36 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber

Recipe from: Oregon State Extension; http://www.foodhero.org

Veggies with a Touch of Lemon

2 cups broccoli, cut into florets

1/2 small head cauliflower, cut into florets

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped

Steam broccoli and cauliflower until tender (about 10 minutes).

In a small saucepan, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic, and cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

Put the vegetables in a serving dish. Pour the lemon sauce over the vegetables. Garnish with parsley, and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 22 calories, 2 g fat, 7 mg sodium.

Recipe from: Cami Wells

Caribbean Bean Salad

4 cups romaine lettuce (chopped)

1/4 cup red onion (chopped)

1 cup canned black beans (drained and rinsed)

1 orange (peeled and chopped)

1 tomato (chopped)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (optional)

1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)

Black pepper (to taste)

Toss all ingredients together in large salad bowl. If using red wine vinegar and oregano, add that too.

Serve right away or refrigerate up to one hour and then serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 120 calories, 3 g fat, 70 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrate and 7 g fiber.

Recipe from: USDA Mixing Bowl

Here is an easy soup recipe to keep you warm on a cold January day.

30-Minute Minestrone

2 medium carrots, chopped

1 cups chopped cabbage

1 celery rib, thinly sliced

1 small onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 teaspoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)

3 cups water

1 can (14.5-ounce) stewed or diced tomatoes, undrained

3 beef bouillon cubes

1 cups cooked elbow macaroni

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook macaroni. In a 3-quart saucepan, sauté carrots, cabbage, celery, onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes. Add water, tomatoes and bouillon; bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in macaroni and pepper; heat through.

Makes 5 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 104 calories, 2.4 grams (g) fat and 17 g carbohydrate.

Recipe from: Cami Wells

Tuna Melt

2 cans (5 ounces) cans tuna in water, drained

1/4 cup light mayonnaise

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped onion

2 tablespoons dill pickle relish

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Black pepper, to taste

Salt, to taste

2 tablespoons margarine or butter

8 slices whole wheat bread

4 slices tomato (optional)

4 slices low-fat Cheddar cheese

Wash hands with soap and water. Wash vegetables with clean, running water.

In a medium bowl, combine drained tuna, mayonnaise, celery, onion and relish. Add parsley, red pepper flakes (if desired), black pepper and salt. Mix with a fork.

Spread margarine on one side of each bread slice.

Place margarine side of bread on the skillet.

Top plain side of bread with 1/2 cup of tuna salad. Top tuna salad with one slice of tomato, if desired, and one slice of cheese. Top with a second slice of bread, margarine side facing up. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Heat skillet over medium heat. (If your skillet is too hot, the bread will burn before the sandwich is heated through and the cheese is melted. Lower the temperature, if needed.)

Cook sandwiches until brown. Flip and repeat on the other side.

Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per sandwich: Calories 380, total fat 13g, sodium 790mg, total carbohydrates 42g, protein 27g.

Recipe from: UNL Extension

A healthy eating plan always includes breakfast. Here are two light (but tasty!) choices.

Stuffed French Toast Wraps

1 egg

1/4 cup skim milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 whole wheat tortillas

3/4 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt

1 cup fruit (fresh, canned or frozen, thawed)

Crack egg into a shallow dish. Add milk and cinnamon to egg and mix well.

Dip tortilla into egg mixture coating each side. Allow to soak for 1 minute. Cook tortilla in a skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes on each side or until browned.

Place 1/4 cup yogurt and 1/3 cup fruit in middle of tortilla and then roll.

Garnish with more yogurt and fruit and serve.

Makes 3 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 230 calories, 5 g fat, 11 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber and 105 mg sodium.

Recipe from: North Dakota State Extension

Banana Pancakes

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

2 eggs

1-1⁄2 cups nonfat or 1% milk

1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons oil

2 bananas, mashed

3⁄4 cup white whole wheat flour

3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Beat eggs in medium bowl. Add milk, sugar, oil and bananas and mix well. Add flours and baking powder. Mix gently.

Lightly spray a large skillet or griddle with non-stick cooking spray or lightly wipe with oil. Heat skillet or griddle over medium-high heat (350 degrees F in an electric skillet).

Spoon 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Cook until tops are bubbly and pancakes are dry around the edges. Flip and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown.

Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Top with applesauce, fresh fruit or yogurt.

Makes 16 pancakes, 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (two pancakes, no toppings): 180 calories, 6 g fat, 150 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate and 2 g dietary fiber.

Recipe from: Oregon State Extension

Terri Hahn of Osceola has worked in food media for more than 30 years and has won numerous state and national awards for her writing.

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