New Year, New You! What a refreshing message, yet, we are all too familiar with the feelings of disappointment when we do not achieve all of the wonderful goals we set out too. Have you ever thought that it’s not your fault? And actually, we are just approaching this resolution thing all wrong? Are we making resolutions based on what others think? Or are we making goals that mean something to us, that motivate us to accomplish them?
As I was reflecting on 2016, the good bad and ugly…I was taken back to a conversation with my uncle who in 2016 suffered two major heart attacks, and survived! (yikes). As a proud, and nosy dietitian, I feel it is my duty to offer unsolicited advice to my family and friends…this information all the while uninvited. But, when someone actually asks me a question….I roll my eyes, Here we go again, I think to myself, another question about losing weight which involves them doing little – no exercise and minimal eating habit changes—ha, yeah right. Back to my uncle…his response to me reached me profoundly… In my “client-centered” way I asked him, “so what changes to your diet have you made since your two, near death experiences?” His answer…”None”. Fear of death is clearly not a motivator for him. “Haven’t you seen a dietitian Uncle S?” “Yeah, he says, I saw damn near 3 of them this whole year”. I inquired as to what they advised him, while thinking to myself I bet I’d straighten him out. After interrogating him, at last, I asked. “You must not have found them helpful if you never made any changes?” His response to me, the response that still lingers…. “I just got really good and telling them what they want to hear”.
The realization is cold….my clients do actually lie to me, and right to my face, daily. I may have a million health and wellness solutions but if they aren’t adapted to suite that person’s lifestyle, they will never work. So as I approach the New Year, I challenge myself, and my clients to be honest with themselves, and give me some push back…if my suggestions are complete useless to them.
So…I’ve thought hard, and dug deep to come up with 3, only 3, must do New Years health goals that will have huge positive implications on your well-being, period.
1. Eat Breakfast, and toast and coffee is not breakfast.
- Eating breakfast is crucial, and so is the time that we do it. Aim to eat breakfast within the first hour of waking up, the first hour of being physically up and out of bed. This will kick start your metabolism, and help to minimize cravings that may strike later in the day. Clients always challenge me on this….”I just can’t eat first thing in the morning.” Start small, maybe a piece of toast, or fruit, just to begin to break the habit of not eating, and start a new, better-for you habit. Eventually building a balanced breakfast with whole grains and protein. Try this recipe for a boosted oatmeal which has both whole grains and protein, also delicious.
Boosted Oatmeal: Serves 1
1 large Egg
⅓ cup 75 ml Milk, 1%
⅓ cup 75 ml Oats, quick cooking
¼ cup 60 ml Apple, skin on, finely chopped
1 tsp 5 ml Brown sugar
¼ tsp 1 ml Cinnamon
1. Beat the egg and milk in a 2 cup microwave safe bowl.
2. Stir in rest of ingredients and microwave for 1½ to 2 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the egg is set.
2. Drink Enough Water—water, not other drinks.
- Water hydrates the body to support all of the necessary bodily functions including digestion and
metabolism. In the cold winter months, it is far too easy to dry out and dehydrate, even by the
time we begin to feel thirsty, our body is mildly dehydrated. There is no magic number for how
much we should consume…as it can change greatly based on age, medical condition and gender.
But in the ballpark of 9-12cups (8oz per cup) is the best goal. The only way to make sure you are
drinking enough…. Check the color of your urine—really it works! Look for a light straw/hay
color…as this is a good indicator you are getting in enough fluid, and filling up on hydrating
liquid that is not full of sugar or fat! Get fancy with your water and make new flavor
combinations. My new favorite is smashed raspberries and lemon with a little bit of honey,
topped with half sparkling water and half tap water…delicious!
3. Get veggies and fruit at every meal
- Simple add some fruit to breakfast, take that boosted oatmeal recipe, it has apple in it, but feel
free to throw in a handful of berries. When it comes to lunch or supper, think half your plate is
great—fill half your plate with veggies, and a variety of color. It doesn’t matter if they are raw,
or cooked, boiled, baked, sautéed, just ideally, not deep fried! It is hard enough to get them, so
we don’t want to be too picky on how the veggies are prepared! Do what is easy, do what you
like. Try this amazing recipe for roasted brussels sprouts…you’ll fall in love!
Sprouts with Attitude: Serves 8
4 cups 1000 ml Brussels sprouts
2 tbsp 30 ml Canola oil
⅛ tsp ½ ml Salt
¼ tsp 1 ml Pepper
⅓ cup 75 ml Whole grain dijon mustard
⅓ cup 75 ml Maple syrup
1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment
paper and set aside.
2. Remove the stem from the Brussels sprouts and cut in half.
Toss the Brussels sprouts with oil, salt and pepper in a large
3. Place the Brussels sprouts on the baking sheet in a single
layer and bake until soft and browned, about 20-30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
4. Whisk the mustard and maple syrup together in a small
bowl. Pour over the Brussel sprouts and toss to coat.
So take these top-three picks, and challenge yourself, incorporate these into your lifestyle. It may not be
realistic to do it every day...maybe your goal is 3 days per week, or even 1 day, and you progress
forward from there. But most importantly make it work for you! I may be an expert in food and
nutrition, and though I would like to think I know a lot…. I am forever learning, and you are the only
expert in your life…you are the only one that can make this happen! These 3 simple steps will be a great
start to a new year of you!
Jessica Wylychenko is a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator in Winnipeg, Manitoba but her love for food and nutrition goes beyond her career. She is an adventurous foodie, who will try anything twice. She strives to make healthy food delicious but always enjoys a little gluttony on a special occasion, especially paired with a glass of merlot. Favorite Food: Peanut Butter or Pizza Quote to note: There is no love more sincere than the love of food!