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Start the new year with a healthy approach to eating

Health Nutrition

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After indulging during the holiday season, many people start the new year with the best intentions to eat well. But imposing a too-strict New Year's resolution diet can backfire and when you don't see immediate results, it's easy to slip into unhealthy eating habits.

If you're overweight and have been fighting a losing battle to manage your weight, perhaps you need to change your approach to weight loss and practice something called "mindful eating." Being a mindful eater means being aware of, consciously choosing and enjoying what you're eating. It's about preparing foods that have the right combination of fat and calories for healthy weight loss - weight loss that is gradual and sustainable.

"Treating yourself during the holidays and depriving yourself in January is obviously not healthy," says Anne M. Wolf, R.D, M.S, obesity specialist and instructor of research at the University of Virginia. "A better approach is to consider what you're eating and its effect on your well-being, no matter what time of year it is. By changing how you think about food, you can reach and maintain a healthy weight.

To start the year off right, Wolf recommends eating well-balanced meals instead of obsessively counting calories. She suggests stocking up on fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins such as roasted turkey, chicken and fish, healthy breakfast foods including oatmeal and lowfat yogurt, and better-for-you snacks like whole-grain crackers and part-skim cheeses.

She says this mindful approach to eating, which focuses on nutritious ingredients and moderate portions, can easily be carried out beyond the beginning of the year and become a way of life. It also means eating to fill a nutritional need and not an emotional need.

But practicing portion control and choosing healthy foods over high-fat ones isn't easy for everyone. For those who need some extra help, Wolf recommends FDA-approved alli to her patients. With the alli plan, you can lose weight gradually by learning the right way to use food. This healthier approach to food can stay with you for life, which could help keep the pounds off for good. "Because of the way it works, alli makes you more conscious of the fat in the foods you eat, which ultimately helps you lose weight," says Wolf. "It should be used as part of a comprehensive plan that teaches you to make healthy decisions."

Recipe for a healthful new year

Getting back on track after the overabundance of the holidays can be difficult. Instead of making a hard-to-keep resolution to lose weight fast, start your new year on the path to "mindful eating" with this recipe from The Alli Cookbook.

Creamy onion dip and homemade tortilla chips

Ingredients for the creamy onion dip

2 cups finely chopped onions
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup fat-free sour cream
1 teaspoon sweet paprika


In a large skillet, cook the onions in the oil over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until barely soft. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the sour cream and paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups - Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Per Serving: 2 grams fat - 72 Calories

Ingredients for homemade tortilla chips

1 package of soft corn tortillas


Cut soft corn tortillas into six wedges and set the wedges on a baking sheet that's lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake the wedges at 400 F for five minutes, turn them, and bake for five minutes more, or until brown and crispy.

Serving Size: 6 chips
Per Serving: 1 gram of fat - 80 calories
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