I can tell you that every year at this time, in my adult past, my focus was on diet and losing weight — as it was with many friends and co-workers.
For those of you that don't have to worry about losing pounds, I ENVY YOU!
I'll add that sometimes my good intentions have lasted for only a couple of weeks into January, and only on occasion those good intentions made it to the end of the month.
But eating healthy does not have to only mean losing weight. It's a lot to do with eating less of the foods that contribute to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, fatigue, and more. Most all of us know that the worst culprits are fats, sodium, and sugar — all when in excess.
We also know to eat more of the foods that contribute to good all-around health like green vegetables, sweet potatoes, garlic and onion, fish, chicken, and of course, fruits.
I believe that in January we are more apt to be ready and willing to do this because we have just spent two months eating, perhaps gorging, on some pretty fantastic holiday foods, and we just want to lighten it up now.
So my four columns in January will focus on some lighter and healthy foods, recipes, and any tips that I might come across in my research on this subject. If you have any requests, suggestions, or looking for certain recipes please let me know.
This week, raise your glass to SMOOTHIES!
Triple-Fruit Yogurt Smoothie
Makes 2 servings of 1 cup each
1 serving IS 105 calories
1 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt (look for least amount of sugar)
1/2 cup fresh raspberries (or partially thawed frozen )
1/4 one-quarter cup orange juice
1/2 one-half medium banana, sliced
Place all ingredients in blender. Cover and blend on high speed about 30 seconds or until smooth. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings of 1 cup each
1 serving to 115 calories
1 cup seeded and cut into chunks watermelon
1 kiwi fruit, peeled and cut into chunks
2 ice cubes
1 small ripe banana, frozen-cut into chunks
1/4 cup chilled unsweetened apple juice
Place all ingredients in a blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Note: Keep a few small ripe bananas in the freezer, and you will always be ready for this refreshing shake.
Spinach Walnut Fruit Smoothie
Makes 3 servings
1 serving is 200 calories (approximate)
1/2 cups orange juice
1 cup baby spinach (blender chops into tiny pieces that can hardly be tasted)
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup walnuts
1/2 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup frozen mango pieces
Place all ingredients in a blender, in order.
Blend on low for 20 seconds, and then switch to high and blend until fruit is fully incorporated, about 20 to 30 seconds.
Pour into three glasses and serve.
Green Tea Honeydew Smoothie
Makes 2 servings
1 serving is 100 calories (approximate)
2 cups water steeped with 3 green tea bags for 10 minutes.
11/2 cups plain coconut water (NOT coconut milk)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup honeydew melon chunks
1 kiwi, peeled and cut into quarters
2 teaspoons frozen apple juice concentrate
After tea has steeped, remove bags and allow to cool. Pour tea into an ice cube tray and freeze for 30 to 45 minutes.
Once ice cubes are frozen, place coconut water in a blender followed by rest of ingredients and 5 or 6 of the tea ice cubes. Blend on low for about 20 seconds, then switch to high and continue blending until ice is fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Pour into 2 glasses and serve.
Note: Reserve remaining ice cubes for future smoothies.
Good To Hear From You
Thank you for the many Christmas and New Year wishes that I received. There is not room enough to thank each of you individually, but your written notes and e-mails are very much appreciated.
Several of you have reminded me you have followed my column for several years, and that some recipes have become an annual holiday tradition (the Cranberry Chutney and Beef Rib Roast were mentioned).
I couldn't ask for a nicer complement.
May this New Year of 2012 bring us good health and many good times.
• • •
Patricia Altomare invites feedback. Email her at email@example.com or write her at The Gloucester Times, 36 Whittemore St., Gloucester, MA 01930.