A Healthy New Behavior Each Month for 2010
We’re a few weeks into January now and you’ve had some time to think about those New Year’s resolutions. Sadly, most of them go by the wayside by February. Usually it’s because people start out like gangbusters, full of enthusiasm, trying to make too many changes too quickly. So here’s another thought: how about picking just one new thing each month you’re willing to do. Over the next 12 months, I’ll be suggesting nutrition, lifestyle, and activity tips for you to try out. Pick one every month and by the end of the year you’ll have added 12 healthy behaviors that will translate into huge improvements in your energy, weight management, and longevity!
If you’d like help improving your nutrition and diet, please click here to contact me for an appointment.
January's Health Tips:
Get Enough Sleep
This may surprise you, but people who struggle with their weight average almost an hour less sleep each night. And those who don’t get enough sleep are at a higher risk of developing diabetes. Not enough shut eye can impact important hormones that regulate blood sugar and tell us when to eat and when we’re full. So consider going to bed a little bit earlier each night to get at least 7.5 hours of sleep. And if someone has told you that you snore loudly or seem to be gasping for air, see your doctor to make sure you don’t have a sleep disorder (this is quite serious and needs to be treated). Check out http://www.umm.edu/sleep/sleep_hyg.htm for sleep hygiene tips and info on sleep disorders.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Yes, this might take some planning (like getting up 5-10 minutes earlier!) but a healthy breakfast kick starts your metabolic furnace, improves your ability to concentrate, and can tide you over until lunch so you don’t need that 10 o’clock pick-me-up of coffee or soda and a donut. In fact, people who regularly eat breakfast consume less overall calories for the whole day. The trick is eating a healthy breakfast! So here’s my prescription for a perfect breakfast:
- a serving of protein (think eggs, egg whites, egg substitute, cottage cheese, Canadian bacon, lox, low fat cheese, plain or Greek style yogurt, refried beans, leftover chicken, etc)
- a high fiber cereal like Kashi OR oatmeal OR whole grain toast with nut butter
- a serving of whole fruit (instead of drinking juice)
This might sound tough, but a bowl of shredded wheat with milk and berries works. Or how about a whole wheat tortilla spread with peanut butter and half a sliced banana, rolled up and taken with you to eat at work? (Although I do recommend oatmeal, I don’t like the “flavored” individual packets which are high in sodium and sugar…so look for the plain packets or cook it from scratch).
Other Quickie Breakfasts You Can Make in 10 Minutes of Less!
- Fruit smoothie: Combine 6-8 oz of your favorite yogurt (Greek style has the highest protein content), ½-1 scoop of 100% whey protein powder (if not using Greek style yogurt), ¼ cup orange juice, ½ banana, and ½ cup berries. Blend until smooth. (If you like it thick and frosty, add 2-3 ice cubes before blending or use frozen berries.)
- Toasted whole grain English muffin with peanut butter or ricotta cheese and sliced banana or sprinkled with dried fruit and/or cinnamon
- Your favorite ready-to-eat whole grain cereal topped with fresh fruit and a few walnuts served with skim or 1% milk
- Yogurt-berry-cereal parfait: Layer yogurt, fresh berries, and low-fat granola in a glass
- Make quick cooking steel cut oatmeal (available at Trader Joe’s) and serve with soymilk and raisins (or make a large batch of regular steel cut oatmeal on Sunday, store in refrigerator, and reheat a portion in the microwave throughout the week!) Click to see my website recipe Oatmeal for One.
- “Egg Muffin Sandwich:” Scramble 1 egg and cook in custard cup in microwave for 45-60 seconds. Place on a toasted whole wheat English muffin with a slice of cheese (optional: add some sliced tomatoes and/or a slice of Canadian bacon)
- Breakfast burrito: Heat a whole grain tortilla in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. Fill with a scrambled egg, grated cheese, and some salsa. Optional ingredients include vegetarian refried beans, chopped tomato, or sautéed bell peppers and onion which have been added to the egg.
Recipe of the Month: Cottage Cheese Pancakes
When I want a special treat for breakfast, I love to make these light delicious high protein pancakes. They are a family favorite!
3 organic eggs, separated
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
½ cup unbleached flour (these also work with whole wheat pastry flour although they won’t be quite as light)
1 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
Dash of cinnamon and vanilla
Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form (but don’t overbeat). In a separate bowl stir the yolks, cottage cheese, and vanilla. In another bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the yolk mixture and stir to combine. Gently fold in the egg whites. Heat skillet and add ~ 1 tbsp each of butter and canola oil. Drop batter by large spoonfuls into hot skillet. Cook a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Serve immediately with light sour cream or Greek style yogurt and berries. Serves 2-3. Delicious!