Well, we survived another Christmas season - this year with only the sniffles and sneezes. With New Year's Day just a few days away many are already thinking about 2012 and what it will bring. Many will resolve to exercise more (more on that subject later), to eat better, or work smarter, but ultimately we all just want to be the best self we can be.
With healthy habits in mind, today I set out to see if I could make an oatmeal cookie without refined sugar, flour, or butter - all the things the experts say are poison to our diets. I started with apples, oats, cane syrup, and about 13 other ingredients and ended up with about two hours gone and a big mess to clean up. The resounding answer was NO you cannot make a good cookie without butter, sugar, and flour! I did end up with something that resembled a cookie but it tasted just okay and left me wanting something else sweet to eat.
So here's the lesson learned: if you're craving something sweet, go ahead and indulge in something sweet just have some self control and don't over-indulge. Actually a little dark chocolate is good for your heart! The trick is to just eat ONE piece of the chocolate orange and not the whole thing. Have 10 M&Ms instead of eating the whole bag. As tempting as it may be around the holiday's opt for just one spoonful of the cake and push the rest away. If this is too much temptation for you and indulging in even one bite a day could lead to a train wreck of overindulgence then you need to take drastic measures and avoid having anything tempting anywhere in your house. It's ok to throw it away! Have a piece of sugarless gum when your temped to eat a box of Mentos. Most importantly, be conscious of what you eat. Too many people just nibble here and there and never realize what they have eaten over the course of the day. It's ok to indulge in one bite of sweets but only do it once a day or once a week - not once an hour all day long.
So that's my rant about treats. Look for ways to eat healthy all year. Try to always have something fresh at every meal. For example instead of just a bowl of processed grain cereal, add a banana. If you're a snacker, try replacing your pre-packaged snack for a piece of fresh fruit. This rule is a great way to help you remember to eat more fresh (raw, frozen, or steamed) fruits and veggies. Have 5 a day used to be the recommendation for fruits and veggies but now it's even more. The Choose My Plate challenge recommends filling half of your plate with fruits and veggies and the other half with grains and proteins with a serving of dairy of the side. If you find the ever changing government recommendations too confusing or overwhelming try thinking of it in this simple way - If God made it, its good. If man made it, beware. This should help get your thinking about eating more simply with healthy naturally made foods.
Wishing you a healthy and joyful New Year!