By Carolyn Malcoun, December 23, 2010 - 9:36am
While we were out walking the dog last weekend, my husband, Dan, asked what my New Year’s resolutions were. Huh. Quite honestly, I hadn’t really thought about it! I feel like every year I make the same-old, same-old resolutions that I never keep (i.e., lose 20 pounds so I can wear my super-awesome Calvin Klein jeans again). Why set myself up to fail yet again?
I said something snarky and sarcastic but he didn’t back down. Instead he said, “Let’s make some resolutions we can actually keep.” I laughed. Isn’t failure part of the fun? (Plus I had finally donated those jeans to Goodwill this fall...) But as I thought about it more, it made perfect sense.
We both want to drop a few pounds—plus Dan wants to talk to his doctor about getting off his blood-pressure medication, so anything we could do to make him heart-healthier would be an added bonus. So why not attack the age-old “lose weight” and “eat healthier” resolutions from a different perspective and cut them into more manageable pieces? It could actually work. And if it did, I’d have a great excuse to buy a new pair of jeans. Here are our 5 do-able New Year’s resolutions.
Resolution 1: Eat more omega-3s.
Solution: Seek out seafood.
Getting more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids might just help you keep your blood pressure down. In the multinational INTERMAP study, researchers found that among 4,680 healthy adults, those who consumed the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in their diets had the lowest rates of hypertension. Research also suggests that omega-3s can help improve your mood, which I know I need a little help with in the short, dark days of winter. We both like fish so we’re aiming to get two servings a week, particularly fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines and some types of tuna, which are rich in omega-3s. Not everyone digs fish though. If you’re not a huge fan but you would like to expand your horizons, try this recipe for Curried Fish. Made with mild-flavored mahi-mahi and full of rich flavor, it may just change your mind about fish. Or opt for walnuts and flax, which are good nonfish sources of omega-3s.
Recipes to Try: Black Bean & Salmon Tostadas, Sesame-Orange Shrimp and more fish recipes ready in 30 minutes or less
Resolution 2: Pile on the veggies.
Solution: Get out the roasting pan.
Only 26.3% of adults ate the daily recommended 3 or more servings of vegetables in 2009. If you’re of the mindset that “vegetables don’t taste good,” but know you should eat more of them since they’re teeming with healthy nutrients and fiber (more about fiber below), get out your roasting pan. Roasting vegetable caramelizes their natural sugars so they taste fantastic. It’s my favorite way to cook veggies for dinner because I can pop a pan of them in the oven and make the rest of dinner while they roast.
Recipes to Try: How to roast 12 of our favorite winter vegetables.
Resolution 3: Up our fiber intake
Solution: Experiment with whole grains.
Getting enough fiber may help prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and a number of cancers. And eating more fiber may help you slim down.But the average American eats about 14 grams of day—the recommended daily intake is 21 to 38 grams. One of the easiest ways to up our fiber intake is to eat more whole grains. Quinoa, whole-wheat couscous, bulgur and polenta are all quick-cooking options we plan to add to our weeknight repertoire.
Recipes to Try: How to cook 7 whole grains and 9 simple ways to jazz them up.
Resolution 4: Eat less meat.
Solution: Learn to like tofu more.
We want to cut back on meat for environmental reasons, but we’ll be helping our hearts too. When you replace meat with soy, you’ll naturally eat less saturated fat—and research shows that saturated fat increases LDL. While tofu might not have a real “flavor,” that’s what makes it so versatile—it soaks up the flavors of a stir-fry sauce or marinade like a sponge, making it taste terrific!
Recipes to Try: Tofu Parmigiana, BBQ Tofu Sandwich and more terrific tofu recipes.
Resolution 5: Rein in Dan’s sugar addiction.
Solution: Make low-sugar treats to satisfy his sweet tooth.
Americans eat too much sugar. We consume 355 calories—or 22 teaspoons—of added sugars a day. The American Heart Association advises that we eat much, much less than that. Luckily, we can still make treats that satisfy Dan’s sweet tooth and cut back on his sugar intake at the same time.
Recipes to Try: Peanut Butter & Pretzel Truffles, Pomegranate Poached Pears and more sweet treats with 4 grams or less of added sugar.