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Everyone is vowing to strive for a healthier life in the coming year, after indulging during the holidays. People typically have well-meaning aspirations when it comes to setting those New Year’s resolutions. Seeing those resolution through can be a bit more difficult. Here are a few tips for keeping 10 common health related resolutions.

  • Start Working Out. Make the action steps of your resolution more specific, like “I will walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes, three to four times a week” or “I will wear a pedometer to work, park farther from the door and take the stairs instead of the elevator to get in more steps per day.”
  • Lose Weight. Make your goal more achievable and timely, like”I will lose 5 pounds by the end of the month.” Then come up with action steps involving nutritional changes, exercise, etc.
  • Eat Better. Change your thinking from “I’m going on a diet” to “I’m making lifestyle changes to improve my eating habits.” Consider keeping a food journal to find specific areas you can change. Specific action steps to take might include “I will limit eating sweets to twice per week” or “I will reduce my consumption of fast food from three times per week to once per week” or “I will increase my servings of fruits and vegetables to five per day.”
  • Quit Smoking. Set a realistic quit date. Make sure you are not setting yourself up for failure by trying to quit during an especially stressful time. If you’re a heavy smoker, talk to your doctor and consider using nicotine replacement therapy such as nicotine patches, gum or medications. Clear your home of all smoking-related paraphernalia (cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays, etc.). Set action steps to reduce your tobacco intake slowly, like “I will cut back by one cigarette per day over the next week.” Also think about a plan to deal with cravings and challenging situations.
  • Reduce Stress. Identify and write down your stressors. Identify positive steps you can take when feeling stressed and what sources of support you have. A realistic action step might be something like “During times of stress, I will practice deep breathing techniques, write in a journal or go for a walk to clear my head.”
  • Give Up Fast Food. It is not always possible for some people to give up all fast food, so begin by familiarizing yourself with the healthier options on fast food menus. Try using restaurants’ websites to look up nutrition information, or pick up nutrition pamphlets inside restaurants. Work toward planning ahead and packing nutritious meals to take with you.Set a specific, achievable action step like “I will eat at fast food restaurants no more than once a week.”
  • Stop Drinking Soda. It may not be realistic to cut out all soda from your diet at once. Think about ways to decrease the amount of soda you are drinking. For example, try mixing diet soda into regular to cut the calories, or try substitutions like flavored water, unsweetened tea or green tea. An example of a measurable action step to set might be “I will decrease the number of sodas I drink from one per day to two per week.”
  • Drink More Water. Ask yourself how you can increase your water intake. Set realistic, specific steps you can take, like “I will get a refillable water bottle to carry with me” or “I will replace calorie-laden beverages with water or flavored water.”
  • Get More Sleep. Think about ways you can reach this goal. An example of an action step might be “I will go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual and avoid caffeine late in the day.”Set a specific bedtime, and stick to a consistent schedule to get your body adjusted. Families with children can especially benefit from having a consistent routine for getting to bed at the same time each night.
  • Cut Back on Alcohol. Quantify how much alcohol you are drinking now. Decide what might be a realistic amount to cut back to. For example, if you typically go out on the weekend and drink six or eight beers, limiting yourself to two beers might be your goal. If needed, devise a step-by-step plan with action steps like “I will remove alcohol from the home” or “I will avoid situations where alcohol will be served.”Identify supportive people (or join a support group) that can help you keep your resolution.

Week of December 21, 2008

With the holidays approaching, try these tips to make your family celebrations more a little less worry free.

  • Plan ahead. Prepare anything ahead of time that you can. Spread the preparation over several days instead of just one.
  • On your run to the grocery store, buy extra rolls, frozen vegetables and a frozen pie just in case something goes wrong with one of your dishes. (yes, it can happen to anyone)
  • Clear your refrigerator a few days ahead to hold groceries and dishes cooked ahead of time.
  • According to the National Turkey Federation, allow one pound of uncooked turkey per person for an eight to 12 pound bird. For a larger turkey, 3/4 pound is sufficient. These guidelines allow leftovers for the after-holiday turkey sandwich.

    Frozen turkey should be thawed in the refrigerator. Whole turkeys thaw at a rate of four to five pounds per 24 hours.

    For speed thawing, keep the bird in the original packing and place in a clean, sanitized sink. Submerge in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes. Allow 30 minutes per pound for thawing.

    The best way to determine if a turkey is done is by using a meat thermometer. Cook the meat until the breast reaches 170 degrees Farenheit or the thigh reaches 180 degrees Farenheit.
  • When cooking something on the stove that might boil over, keep a large balloon whisk nearby to release the bubbles and lower the temperature of the overflowing liquid. This will alleviate any big messes while cooking.
  • Lastly, enjoy your holidays.

Week of December 14, 2008

Pinwheels are always an easy and fun appetizer for the holidays. I love the taste of roasted red peppers so the follow treat is one of my favorites. See if you don't agree.

Roasted Red Pepper, Turkey and Scallion Pinwheel

4 large flour tortillas, assorted colors
1 (8-ounce) tub of fat free of low fat whipped cream cheese
6 roasted red peppers, sliced 1/3-inch thick
3/4 pound thinly sliced turkey breast
12 thin scallion greens

Thinly spread cream cheese on the tortilla. Top with a thin layer of red pepper strips, scallions and turkey, keeping the fillings a 1/2-inch from the edge of the tortilla.

Roll tightly, and press to seal. If it is not sealing, stick toothpicks in every inch along the border. Slice roll in to pieces 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick and serve.

Week of December 7, 2008

There is nothing like a hot spicy drink to get you in the mood for the holidays. If shopping has exhausted you, what better way to relax then a hot cup of wassail.

Wassail
Serves 36

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 slice fresh ginger root
4 cups orange juice
2 cups lemon juice
8 cups apple juice
8 whole allspice berries
1 tablespoon whole cloves

In a large saucepan, combine sugar and water. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and add cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, cloves, and ginger. Cover and let stand in warm place for 1 hour.

Strain liquid into a large pot. Just before serving, add juices and cider and quickly bring to boil. Remove from heat and serve.

Per Serving: 78 Calories; trace Fat (2.0% calories from fat); trace Saturated Fat; trace Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 2mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 0 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.


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