I had already decided that I would propose a “resolution” every month this year for myself and anyone who follows this blog when I came across Cooking Light’s 12 healthy habits. Cooking Light is one of my favorite magazines, so I’m going to take their idea and run with it!
It just makes sense to spend 30 days working on a single habit to change, rather than creating a long list of resolutions without an endpoint. If this idea works for you, take these habits (one at a time) and work on them for a month.
Here is January’s healthy habit:
Add at least 3 servings of vegetables and fruit to your daily diet
Here’s some suggestions for how to accomplish this goal. These are some of my ideas and other ideas compiled from suggestions on thedietchannel.com, nutrition.about.com, cancer.org, and health.harvard.edu
- Take fresh fruit or veggies with you to work to eat as a morning and afternoon snack. The best fruit for your pocket are apples, clementines carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes (in a Ziplock bag), and grapes (in a Ziplock bag).
- Cut-up celery, carrots, bell pepper, cucumber, etc and keep them front and center in your refrigerator for snacking. If you don’t like them plain, dip them in hummus or ranch dressing. They’ll be fresher if you do this yourself, but if you need to, buy them already cut up in the grocery store.
- Add fruit like berries, a banana or a cut up peach to your cereal in the morning.
- When you shop, buy the ingredients to make a mirepoix, chop them up and store them in the refrigerator. A classic mirepoix is carrots, celery and onion. The Cajun “trinity” is a variation – celery, onion and bell pepper. Pick anything that can be cooked (mushrooms, bell peppers, are a good addition), and chop them up when you get home. Grab a handful for stir-fries, salads, omelettes or soup.
- Steaming vegetables is really easy and very fast. If you don’t have fresh vegetables (or don’t want to take the time to steam them), make sure you keep steam and serve frozen vegetables in your freezer as an easy way to add vegetables to your meals at home.
- Keep frozen fruit in your freezer to throw in a blender with yogurt or milk to make smoothies.
- Dried fruit is a good occasional substitute for fresh fruit, but beware – it’s very caloric!
- If you are making a sandwich to take to work, pile on veggies – spinach, shredded carrots, cucumbers etc. Use avocado instead of mayonnaise.
- Fruit or vegetable juice is not a great substitute, but will do in a pinch. Most fruit juices are high in calories. It’s always better to eat the fruit if you can so you get the fiber and other nutrients, but if there are no other options, juice is better than nothing!
- Applesauce and canned fruit (in water) can be bought in single serving portions, or you can share larger portions!
- If you are buying food for lunch in a cafeteria or fast food restaurant, look for vegetable soup or a salad bar than lets you pile on the veggies.
- Sweet potatoes can be microwaved in 10-12 minutes and make a great meal when paired with a salad or some frozen veggies.
- Choose desserts that are fruit based – and have as much fruit as possible. Chocolate dipped strawberries or a berry cobbler are better than cheesecake!