By Charlyn Fargo
Sometimes it’s the smallest things that can help us reach our goals. Take breakfast, for example, if you struggle with making a quick, healthy breakfast, you may need to purchase a small skillet (for one or two, depending on your family size) to make a quick egg and veggie omelet or scramble in the morning. If you prefer a Smoothie in the morning, finding a place for your blender on the counter may be the solution for daily making a milk or yogurt-based healthy Smoothie (adding fruits and veggies) for a quick, grab-and-go, protein-rich breakfast.
Think about what you struggle with. If it’s daily exercise, start 2021 with a plan. My doctor recently shared with me that walking three times a week leaves too many options to “wait until tomorrow.” It’s better, he says, to just plan on walking every day, closing the door to the “tomorrow” excuse. Maybe you need to find a new place for the treadmill or hang a speaker nearby to be able to play your favorite music or podcast while you exercise.
It may be helpful to lay your workout clothes and tennis shoes the night before, so it’s easier to get started on your workout. Even a simple thing like having a cold bottle of water waiting in the refrigerator may be the little push you need to exercise.
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If you’ve tried any of the home meal services, such as Hello Fresh or Home Chef, you know they try to apply this idea of making it easier to cook at home. Taking the work out of making dinner – everything is in the bag ready to cook – helps you accomplish your goal of eating less take-out.
I’ve found this works in my own life, whether it’s healthier eating and consistent exercise, or crossing an item off my to-do list. A clean desk helps me stay on track and tackle the next project. It’s a simple thing, but if I don’t organize my desk, I can’t find the papers I need to guide me through the next assignment.
Challenge yourself to make a list of your goals – then find something to make it easier to accomplish. You’ll be on your way to accomplishing that goal.
Q and A
Q: What are the latest recommendations for exercise and physical activity?
A: The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, encourages adults to aim for at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Or, if you prefer, 75 minutes to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week. Some of that exercise should be muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week. The muscle strengthening can be using weights or simply exercises like a plank.
If you’re a regular reader, you know I love to put my slow cooker to work, so I have a meal ready when the family gathers for breakfast or dinner, or to make the holidays easier. Here’s a recipe, from Taste of Home’s Skinny Cookbook. (And using your slow cooker is another way to take the excuse out of eating a healthy breakfast.)
Overnight Vegetable & Egg Breakfast
4 pounds potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
1 medium green pepper, finely chopped
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, finely chopped
8 large eggs
1 cup water
1 cup 2% or 1% milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
In a greased 6-quart slow cooker, layer first five ingredients (potatoes through onions). In a large bowl, whisk eggs, water, milk, salt and pepper; pour over top of vegetables. Sprinkle with cheese. Cook covered on Low for 7-9 hours or until potatoes are tender and eggs are set. Makes 8 servings (11/2 cups each).
Per serving: 354 calories, 19 g protein, 37 g carbohydrate, 15 g fat, 217 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 668 mg sodium.
Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian with SIU Med School in Springfield, Illinois. For comments or questions, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @NutritionRD. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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