Welcome to 2023. Like millions of others, you may be embarking on a resolution for the New Year, perhaps with a goal of better health, finances or relationships. Good luck — it won’t be easy. As Maria Konnikova wrote in 2013 in the New Yorker magazine, academic studies confirm that New Year’s resolutions are hard to maintain, with many of us likely to fall short in the months ahead.
My recommendations? Forget about making a resolution that you’re going to forget in a month anyway. Instead, this year, think about one or two new healthy habits you can start. Choose just one of these and you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle — which is what really matters.
No. 1: Eat more vegetables. Plan two vegetables at a meal instead of one. Add spinach or lettuce and a slice of tomato to your sandwich. You don’t have to go vegetarian to get the benefits. Just be mindful of ways you can add veggies to your favorites. If you love a muffin in the morning, think about a healthier “morning glory” muffin with shredded carrots. Add carrots or sweet potatoes to your chili or spaghetti sauce. Don’t be afraid of frozen vegetables; they are just as nutritious as fresh and surprisingly lower in cost. Most produce retains vitamins and minerals when frozen, so it’s a smart buy. Stir frozen corn and beans into pot-pie fillings; add frozen asparagus or broccoli to pasta dishes.
No. 2: Eat more fiber. Fiber helps normalizes bowel movements, lowers cholesterol levels and helps control blood sugar levels. It also helps in achieving a healthy weight. More fiber can even help you live longer. Foods to add to boost your daily fiber include beans (add them to soups, stews and salads), whole grains, vegetables — especially broccoli, berries, avocados, popcorn, apples and dried fruits.
No. 3: Add movement. Any movement helps. Park farther away from your destination; take another lap around the grocery store while shopping; add a plank to your evening routine before climbing into bed; dance while you do dishes; take a new class.
My word for myself this year is “consistency” — being consistent in creating a habit of eating more vegetables and getting more fiber in my diet, and in exercising daily. It all starts with being mindful to do it daily. I’ve learned it doesn’t have to be much and that start leads to bigger habits. You know you’ve succeeded when suddenly you find yourself craving a vegetable or working out. You miss it if you don’t do it.
Here’s to a healthy 2023, filled with healthy habits.
Q and A
Q: What is good and bad cholesterol?
A: HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is sometimes referred to as “good” cholesterol, because it carries cholesterol to the liver where it’s eliminated from the body. Exercise can lead to higher levels of HDL cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) may be called “bad” cholesterol because it can build up in the body and restrict arteries, and higher levels are linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Foods such as meat, dairy and poultry naturally contain cholesterol, which can affect the amount in your body. Foods such as beans, vegetables, fruit and whole grains have soluble fiber, which binds to extra cholesterol and eliminates it from the body as waste.
Here’s a healthy meal to start the new year. I’ve long been a fan of pork tenderloin: it’s low in fat, high in protein and literally waste-free. And my favorite orange is the Sumo mandarin, which is sweet and easy to peel. This recipe for orange pork tenderloin combines both. It’s from Hy-Vee’s Seasons magazine.
ORANGE PORK TENDERLOIN WITH BROCCOLINI AND SWEET POTATOES
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons less sodium soy sauce
1 (1 to 1 1/2 pound) pork tenderloin
Nonstick cooking spray
2 (10-12 ounce) sweet potatoes
2 Sumo mandarin oranges
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 pounds broccolini, trimmed
Combine 1/3 cup orange juice concentrate and soy sauce in a large resealable plastic bag. Add pork tenderloin and seal bag. Turn bag to evenly coat pork with marinade. Refrigerate for 3 to 5 hours, turning bag occasionally. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 large, rimmed baking pans with nonstick spray; set aside. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise; cut each half lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place in a large bowl. Cut unpeeled Sumo mandarins into 1/4-inch-thick slices; add to sweet potatoes in bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, pepper, garlic and salt; toss to coat. Spread evenly on one prepared baking pan. Roast for 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes begin to soften, turning halfway through. Remove pork tenderloin from marinade, discard marinade. Pat tenderloin dry with paper towels. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork tenderloin to skillet. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown on all sides, turning frequently. Place tenderloin in baking pan with sweet potatoes and oranges. Roast for 15 to 18 minutes or until pork reaches 145 degrees in the center and sweet potatoes are tender. Brush pork with remaining 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate. Cover loosely with foil. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut large stalks of broccolini in half lengthwise. Toss broccolini with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium bowl. Place in other prepared baking pan. Roast for 9 to 11 minutes. To serve, slice pork. Arrange sweet potatoes and orange slices on a large platter. Top with broccolini and sliced pork. Serves 4.
Per serving: 570 calories; 34 grams protein; 71 grams carbohydrates; 17 grams fat (3 grams saturated); 65 milligrams cholesterol; 9 grams fiber; 34 grams sugar (0 grams added); 970 milligrams sodium.
Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian with SIU Med School in Springfield, Illinois. For comments or questions, contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @NutritionRD. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.