Healthy eating: Make it a New Year’s resolution

The Time Savor Gourmet shows you how

So here it is, the start of another new year and with it, those resolutions. Typically, we make the same resolutions over and over again. We stick with them for a few weeks or perhaps even days and then revert to our old habits. Adults aren’t the only ones who make resolutions, kids (especially teens) do as well. This year, many children will resolve to try to eat better, after hearing so much about importance a proper diet in both the media and at school. It’s a great idea, especially since surveys show that kids today might not grow up to live as long as their parents because of food related problems and overall health. If children are going to improve their eating habits, parents will need to help.

Take it easy
So what can you do to help you and your family to eat better under the constraints of today’s busy lifestyles? It’s no wonder so many of us resort to ready-made store brought meals, when we’re so tied up with work and shuttling the kids to their activities. Breathe easy. I’m here to show you that there’s an easy way to make quick, healthy and delicious meals, no matter what your ability is in the kitchen!

Let’s plan
There’s no better time to resolve to eat right than the new year. I honestly believe that most people don’t stick to a healthy food lifestyle because, well, a life of chicken and salad is boring. The news is, with some guidelines, good food can be delicious.

The first step to combat dinnertime insanity is to do some basic planning. Often, we make poor choices at the last minute, because we are starving. You get  home, don’t have anything ready and you grab whatever you can find fast. This is especially true when it comes to after school snacks. Kids will grab the first thing they can get their hands on.  Be prepared with healthy things at the ready (see inset box for ideas).  By taking a little time at the beginning of the week to come up with a plan, then reviewing that plan for 2 minutes every morning, you’ll save a lot of time and money in the process. What do I mean?

Let’s get organized
At the beginning of the week, review your schedule and what you have in the freezer/pantry/ fridge. Come up with 5 meals for the week. The level of detail is up to you. For example, if you want to go as far as to say “Monday is chicken night, Tuesday is pasta night, then go for it. I prefer to know that there are 5 meals I can make and decide each morning what we’ll be in the mood for. Before you leave the house to go grocery shopping, go over your inventory and make a grocery list.  By doing this, you’ll not only have a plan, but you’ll save money, because you’ll know what you have and actually use it. How many times have you thrown out veggies that have gone bad? With this plan, you should be able to go grocery shopping just once for the entire week.

Clear out clutter
The next step is to resolve to rid your kitchen of clutter. For many of us, the kitchen is command center of our house. It’s impossible to make a fast dinner in a place, where you can’t find the countertops. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but as the old saying goes, you should have “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Knowing where things are in your kitchen and being able to access them easily will help you get in and out in no time.

Food needs flavor
Next, have a great selection of recipes and seasonings to work with. You’ll be unstuck from your food rut in no time, if you learn to cook great meals with fun new recipes. Women come to me daily and say, “I’m so tired of eating the same things, over and over again. Help me!” Now, I’m sharing my solutions with you.

Get kids involved
Studies show, when kids shop for their own food, they’re more likely to eat it. So try to involve them in every step of the process, including the actual preparation of the food. By working together, families can resolve to make healthy food choices that are fast, fun and easy. Let’s establish healthy New Year’s resolutions that will last a lifetime!

Stacey Hawkins is a professional chef and owner of Hudson Valley based Time Savor Gourmet. Visit her site by clicking here. She will also be contributing as a blogger on

Check out some of her quick, healthy snacks:

Peanut Power Snacks

  • ½ cup nut butter (peanut, almond,soy,etc.) 
  • ½ cup high fiber cereal (I use All-Bran)
  • 1 scoop whey based protein powder
  • ½ tsp Time Savor Gourmet Sinful Cinnamon Blend (or regular cinnamon)
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped dark chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c toasted coconut

Combine nut butter, cereal, protein powder, cinnamon, brown sugar and chocolate chips in a mixing bowl.  Work the mixture with your hands to combine well.

Using a spoon, scoop out the mixture and form it into balls, the size of golf balls. Roll the balls in the toasted coconut. Store them in an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator for up to one week. Makes about 6 snack servings.

Nutrition Information (will vary somewhat depending on ingredients used): Calories 130, Fat 8g, Saturated Fat 3g, Protein 9g, Carbs. 11g, Fiber 3g

Healthy snack options

  • A good snack combines complex carbohydrates, fats and protein to keep you full longer. Here are some great ideas to have on hand:
  • Cracker Stackers: Whole grain (trans-fat free) crackers and an assortment of low fat protein choices (deli meats, cheeses, cream cheese, peanut butter, etc.) and produce (cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, peppers, apples, dry apricots, etc.) Stack ‘em up and nosh ‘em down!
  • Apples and Greek yogurt dip: Wash and slice apples (use a corer slicer to make it super easy!) Mix 8oz of vanilla Greek style yogurt (high in protein) with ¼ tsp of cinnamon and a drop of lemon juice. Dunk and enjoy!
  • Peanut Power Snacks: Make these ahead of time and store them until you need them. See recipe.
  • Veggie Snacks: Cut veggies and low fat dip or salad dressing. Always, always have a large plastic zipper bag of cut veggies in the fridge. Kids love foods that have crunch.
  • Mini breads & muffins: Make a batch of mini muffins from recipes that are healthy, i.e. banana nut, zucchini, carrot, etc. Freeze them until you need them. To serve, pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds and voila, a healthy snack!