By Megan O'Connell, Student at UW-Platteville
The start of a new year always sparks thoughts of resolutions, better decisions and thoughts of a more healthy you. The start of a new year is also a difficult time to start thinking about becoming more active and getting healthier because a lot of us spent November and December in various stages of holiday food comas.
In all reality, though, right now is the best time to get a head start on a healthier diet for a healthier new year. It’s that beautiful transition period in between semesters where most of us are sitting around spending time with family, catching up on favorite TV shows or visiting hometown bars with high school friends you may or may not have missed.
Now that all the holiday hustle and bustle is settling down, a lot of us are left with that, “What am I supposed to do now?” feeling. Well, now is the perfect time to jot down some tips on having a healthier and happier 2013!
Plan out your meals
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to plan out your meals. It can seem like a drag, but taking 20 minutes out of your Sunday to make a list before you hit the grocery store will definitely benefit you in the long run. I know that if I don’t make lists and plan out meals, then I’m eating out a lot more than my body and my checking account approve of. Browse Pinterest for a little bit and find quick, healthy meal ideas. Below are a couple of my favorites!
Easy Italian Chicken and Veggies
- 4-6 raw chicken breasts
- 1 uncooked potato, chopped
- Any canned or fresh green veggie (I use fresh asparagus!)
- 1 packet of Italian dressing mix
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Arrange in a 9×13 pan. Place the green veggies down one side, the chicken breasts in the middle and the potatoes down the other end. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the packet of Italian dressing mix. Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Kitchenability Ridiculously Easy Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large tomatoes, diced, or 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
Pour the olive oil in soup pot over low heat. When the olive oil bubbles just a bit, add the diced tomatoes and garlic. Simmer for 10 minutes and serve over hot pasta or dish of your choice. Recipe courtesy of “Kitchenability 101: The College Student’s Guide to Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Food” by Nisa Burns.
A hard habit to kick can be instantly reaching for a bag of chips or a candy bar after a long day. Do yourself a favor and trade in the chips and candy for healthier alternatives.
Fresh fruit is a great snack. I have trouble buying fruits that go bad quickly, so I stick to oranges, tangerines, apples and bananas. Also, instead of snacking on chips, I like to experiment with making my own trail mixes. This is a snack that I can make healthy, it’s fun to make and experiment with different ingredients, and it always lasts a long time!
Buy local/in season
Find a farmer’s market or grocery store that sells foods locally grown and produced. These stores might be a little pricier, but the people who work there are very friendly and willing to cater to your dietary needs. They can probably tell you exactly what farms your food is coming from and that is a good feeling for your mind and body! If buying local just isn’t in your price range, be sure to make sure you are buying fruits and vegetables that are in season. Click here to see a great seasonal food guide. I keep a printed copy on the fridge!
Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach! A quick Google or Pinterest search will aid you in controlling your portion sizes. According to HealthyWaytoCook.com a healthy plate includes: 1 cup of vegetables, 3 ounces of protein and a ½ cup of starch. If your body is used to eating large portions, make them a little smaller each day to help cut back. Also, don’t forget that it takes your body 20 minutes to realize you're full, so if you still feel hungry after eating, wait at least 20 minutes and see how you feel before reaching for seconds.
Once the spring semester gets back in session and we go back to our normal routines of class and work, keeping up resolutions can get a little challenging. If you get a head start now, it will help you stay motivated during the spring semester! Make your 2013 a healthy and happy one!
Want to find ways to keep your New Year's resolutions? Check out our New Year, New Chic board on Pinterest.