I mentioned last week that I was going to 'play' along with Cooking Lights 12 Healthy Habits for 2011 challenge.
One of the things I adore about Cooking Light is that they stress balance and moderation - I've tried looking at other healthy cooking magazines and put them back for fear that I'd have to eat the magazine itself to get the required nutrients.
I like the balance in their introduction:
Forget the grandiose, impossible New Year’s resolutions: the path to a healthier lifestyle begins one little habit at a time. Each month this year we’ll focus on one healthy practice that you’re probably already doing but want to do a bit more (usually food-related, but we’ve thrown in a couple that focus on exercise).
The plan challenges you to add a new habit each month, and by year-end, the accumulated effect will be a much healthier you. Here's what to expect, month by month:
January: Eat More Fruits and Vegetables—Add 3 more servings of fruits and vegetables to your diet each day.
Feb: Get Moving—Increase the amount of aerobic exercise you do.
March: Get Cooking—Cook at least 3 meals more per week than you are now, even if that means cooking breakfast or lunch (for freezing, maybe).
April: Go For More Grains—Add 3 servings of whole grains per day.
May: Eat Breakfast Daily—Eat a healthy breakfast every day.
June: Get Stronger—Add strength training to your fitness regimen: at least 2 sessions per week.
July: Ease Up on Salt—Cut back on salt/sodium and increase your sodium awareness.
August: Go Vegetarian at Least 1 Day a Week—Expand the number of all-vegetable dishes that you eat by making 1 dinner or main-meal-of-the-day vegetarian.
September: Go Fishing—Cook fish or seafood for dinner 2 times a week.
October: Focus on Healthy Fats—Swap healthy fats for unhealthy fats in your diet.
November: Be Portion Aware—Cut your portion size of less-healthy or higher-calorie foods at least once per meal.
December: Eat Mindfully—Be mindful of the Earth, be thankful, be giving, be happy this holiday season.
I was a bit surprised with January's selection - it seemed odd to try and get people to eat more fruit and veggies at a time with it is well near impossible to get ANY fresh fruit and vegetable that wasn't grown 1000 km away, picked before it was riped, and shipped in truck, plane, ship, or train to the market. As well said fruit and veggies are bloody expensive in january when people are still covering the Christmas bills.
So how have I done? Well, last week I ate a minimum of 7 servings of fruit and veggies a day. Saturday was touch and go given our dim sum feast at lunch (not sure a single veggie was in there) but I had extra fruit at breakfast, snack, and dinner and I made it.
In case you'e wondering what the Canada Food Guide says is a serving here you go:
- 125 mL (½ cup) fresh, frozen or canned
vegetable or fruit or 100% juice
- 250 mL (1 cup) leafy raw vegetables or
- 1 piece of fruit
Now I'm a wee bit skeptical of this - a pineapple is a piece of fruit and THAT is only one serving? HUH
The fine folk at CL provide more guidance:
How much is a serving? For most fruits and vegetables, 1/2 cup represents a serving (including fresh, frozen, and 100% juice). A few exceptions include leafy greens, in which the serving is a full cup, and dried fruit, in which the serving is 1/4 cup.
They also provide guidance for how you can reach the required allotment of fruits and veggies.
Pack in the veggies by starting one meal a day with a small salad. Get creative. One cup of leafy greens + 1/2 cup of fruit or veggie toppings = 2 servings. Alternate your greens from the normal Romaine or iceberg. The darker the greens the more nutrient-rich they are.
Add peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, or onions to your eggs for a delicious omelet, or pile the whole scramble on your favorite bread, tortilla, or bagel for a booster breakfast sandwich. Drink a 1/2 cup of 100% fruit juice with it for another fruit serving.
We've featured three vegetarian meals in the past week - it wasn't intentional but another thing we're trying to do is to decrease the amount of meat we eat. No, we're not eschewing meat - we love meat - but we are also conscious of the fact that we eat far more of it than we should.