Monday, December 31, 2012

New's Year's Resolutions

2013 Winter has definitely set in. All of those food centered holidays are over. The time has come to turn the focus on the possibilities of the coming year. What's your New Year's Resolution?

What exactly is a resolution? A quick google search came up with the definition that many people know: "a firm decision to do or not to do something." Lose weight. Stop smoking. Sound familiar?

I used to make a resolution every year to lose weight. I'd spend days before New Year's indulging in whatever I thought I wouldn't be able to eat when my diet started (you know, the last supper type of thing.) With the 12th gong of the new year, I'd be "on" my diet. Yep, and that usually lasted until I found myself digging chips into the sour cream dip by 12:15 a.m. By all means, I was "OFF."  When I dove into the chips and dip, I failed. Both my diet and my resolution. And, over the years, I tried and failed repeatedly.

A better way to approach resolutions can be found in the 3rd definition of the free online dictionary, "a course of action determined or decided on." It's not the end result, but the action plan that's decided on.

Making a resolution to work on making healthier choices implies a process of action. It can also help skirt the sense of failure when you've slipped into the dip. Perhaps that wasn't the healthiest choice, but you're still in the game.  Focusing on the action creates the mindset that it's a working in progress, without inferring perfection is required to be successful. The process, the action, is what it's all about. Not simply the end result.

To improve your level of wellness, it's necessary to work through the process of making behavior changes in order to successfully change long term habits. It's this  process that provides time to learn, adjust thinking, and create wellness results that really last. There is no magic pill, at any price. Hard work and time are necessary to make real changes. 

This year make your New Year's Resolution a course of action to improve your health. Use this resolve to help guide you on your path toward greater wellness--- a leaner, stronger, happier, and healthier you! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Breakfast Casserole for Anytime

If you're looking for a delicious make-ahead brunch main dish or the perfect morning meal on a slow weekend morning, there's nothing like a good breakfast casserole. Denise asked me to find a good lightened-up recipe for her favorite sausage, egg and cheese breakfast casserole. The one I found for her is hands down better than the more caloric version I've had in the past. I've already made it twice!

This one, like most egg casseroles, requires prep a day ahead of time. It also reheats really well in the microwave, so simply plan to make it on the weekend, cut into individual portions, and refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave for about 2 minutes for a quick, warm, and healthy start to any day!

Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole--Cooking Light

---Yield: 12 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon canola oil
12 ounces turkey breakfast sausage
2 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 cups egg substitute
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
3 large eggs
16 (1-ounce) slices white bread
1 cup (4 ounces) finely shredded reduced-fat extra sharp cheddar cheese

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. 

Add sausage to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring and breaking sausage 
to crumble. Remove from heat; cool.
2. Combine milk and next 6 ingredients (through eggs) in a large bowl, stirring with
 a whisk.
3. Trim crusts from bread. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes. Add bread cubes, sausage, 
and cheddar cheese to milk mixture, stirring to combine. Pour bread mixture into
 a 13 x 9–inch baking or 3-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray, spreading 
egg mixture evenly in baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 350°
5. Remove casserole from refrigerator; let stand 30 minutes. Sprinkle casserole
 evenly with paprika. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until set and lightly browned.
 Let stand 10 minutes.

Nutrition data: 245 calories, 9.2 g fat, 18.5 g. protein, 20.4 g. carbohydrate, 0.8 g fiber,                           185 mg calcium, 609 mg sodium

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gifts of Food

Beautiful gifts of plated cookies, candy, or sweet breads, all wrapped up in clear plastic wrap and tied with a bow. Gifts from neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family. The plate enters your home, you unwrap it for a quick taste, and then it begins...

You start with one cookie. Then another and another and another. Or, as Shirley puts it: a sliver leads to a slice, a slice leads to a slab, and a slab leads to a slob. That innocent plate of cookies is the gift that keeps on giving with an inability to control food and weight gain. How should you deal with these gifts of food when you're trying to make healthier choices?

First, quit drooling after the sugary treat. Try to separate the food from the person. It's really not about the gift or the food itself. It's about the giving. A special person presented you a gift; they are showing you that they care about you, that you're special to them, or even that they love you. Take joy from the fact that someone cares enough about you to give you a gift. Bask in that warm feeling; your "warm fuzzy." The cookies, bread, or candy are just an aside.

Once you're properly focused, make a decision. Are you going to try a serving or would you prefer not to? If you decide you'd better not start with that treat, simply focus on the enjoyment you felt being given the gift. If you do want to eat it, make it a special event. Put a small serving on a nice small plate. Pour yourself a cup of low fat milk, ice water with citrus slices, coffee, or tea. Then, sit down and eat mindfully. Use your senses. Eat slowly. Be full-filled by the enjoyment of the entire process of gifting...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gifts for Health

If you're thinking about the perfect gifts for people you really care about, why not try something that really shows you care? A gift encouraging healthy living!

The Mind-full Motivator's Top Pick Gifts: 

  1. Gift certificate for a well deserved massage
  2. Good pedometer (the Ozeri 4X3 is on my wish list!)
  3. Gift certificate for local yoga classes
  4. Tea for You Basket: a variety of teas (including green,) a tea pot or cup, and perhaps a tea infuser or beautiful spoon
  5. Window sill herb garden
  6. Special vinegars
  7. Infused olive oils
  8. Pretty place mats and napkins to encourage mindful eating at home
  9. Pretty smaller plates (9 or 10") plates, bowls and narrow drinking glasses to help with portion control
  10. Steamer basket
  11. Homemade basket of beautiful fresh fruit and small packages of nuts
  12. BPA-free water bottle
  13. Sleep enhancing sound machine
  14. Exercise video
  15. Video games that encourage action: dancing, sports, fitness
  16. Stress reduction book or CD
  17. Gift certificate for the Mind-full Motivator's Coaching!!
What are your great healthy gift ideas for the season?