Dr. Maggie: Kickstart a Healthy Lifestyle

  1. At the beginning of every year, men and women around the country begin their new year by solemnly making promises for a healthier lifestyle that ultimately lasts a few weeks before an obstacle is encountered that derails them from achieving their goal. I have lost count at how many times this has happened to me!!

We have so much going on in our lives that we often don’t take the necessary time to ensure that we are creating a healthier life for ourselves. As Oprah says, “When you know better, you do better.” As a working mom, I have recognized that I can’t do it all and that I have limited time for myself each day so I better make those minutes or hour count. My new attitude is to “SIMPLIFY” and “EXECUTE”. If you have already fallen off the wagon like I have in the past, I’m here to help you get that momentum of a healthier lifestyle going again. Let’s get ready for summer!

1) Breakfast is the Meal You Can’t Skip!

I have a difficult time following this one. We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it kick starts your metabolism. This meal doesn’t have to be a large one, but you should eat something. Start off with a piece of fruit such as a banana which contains potassium that is a crucial electrolyte. I like mixing strawberries and blueberries with Greek yogurt to supplement.

2017 is the year of the smoothie for me! My favorite kind involves peanut butter, unsweetened almond milk and a banana. Almond milk is a nutritious alternative to cow’s milk and contains multiple proteins, vitamins and minerals including omega fatty acids which help with lowering cholesterol and promoting anti-oxidant effects. It wins bonus points because of its lower calorie and saturated content compared to cow’s milk. Another alternative is my favorite smoothie made with a mix of strawberries, bananas, pineapple, blueberries, plain yogurt, skim milk and avocado! It’s a great treat to jump start my morning or a tasty snack for dessert at the end of a long day.

2) Branch Out With your Veggies! For as long as I can remember, I have used a mesclun mix or spinach for my salads. Well, there has been a growing trend for beets, kale, quinoa and brussel sprouts and the verdict is in. These veggies are a big hit!

I’m trying to expand my palate this year. Here are some creative ways of incorporating these veggies into your weekly meal plan. Check out these yummy recipes on the listed websites

  1. Asian Quinoa Meatballs
  2. Quinoa Taco Bowls
  3. Roasted Beet and Kale Salad
  4. Crispy brussel sprout fried rice
  5. Spicy Roasted Brussel sprouts

Here are my reasons for why I’m crazy for kale, beets and quinoa.. oh my!!

  • KALE: I can’t say enough good things about kale. It is an amazing green, leafy vegetable that is a good source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, K as well as other important minerals such as iron, potassium, copper and lutein which promotes good eye health. Kale also contains carotenoids and flavonoids (also found in red wine) which may be instrumental in cancer prevention and lowering cholesterol. Similar affects can be seen with brussel sprouts. Try these Easy Baked Kale Chips on the Sweat for Smiles “Fit Bites” page for a healthy snack.
  • BEETS: Beets are in!! I have grown to love and appreciate this tasty vegetable while dining out in NYC. Many restaurants now serve a variation of a beet salad which may include a small portion of goat cheese and carmelized onions for flavor. For a slightly calorie-friendly choice, I may choose to incorporate beets with juices and smoothies. Pregnant women will fall in love with this vegetable, which is rich in magnesium, iron, vitamin A, B,C, magnesium, and beta carotene since they need folic acid, iron and vitamin B to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Females may be happy to find that their iron stores are replenished! Beets also have beneficial effects on the heart since they contain betaine which can help decrease homocysteine levels in the blood that has been linked with heart disease. This doctor is LOVE STRUCK FOR BEETS for this reason!
  • QUINOA: Quinoa is a grain which appears to have super powers! In addition to being one of the most protein rich foods in our food pyramid, quinoa also contains an abundant amount of fiber which we will all need in our diet to help avoid constipation and lower cholesterol and sugar levels. All of these effects lead to a reduction of heart disease risk. It also contains manganese and B2 (riboflavin) which improve muscle and brain metabolism and exert antioxidant properties. So start substituting your portion of rice or pastas with this grain!

Consider these healthy snacks instead when you’re in the mood to indulge!!

  1. Edamame, mint/pear crostini
  2. Spinach artichoke dip with beans/ricotta cheese/sour cream/cannellini
  3. Avocado hummus
  4. Crispy quinoa fritters (similar to potato cakes)
  5. Roasted brussel sprouts with pepper, olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar. Add some cooked turkey bacon if you want to add a little more flavor.

3) Simplify your dessert Instead of dipping into that Haagen Daz ice cream or cheesecake, try a slice of apple with a teaspoon of peanut butter or indulge in vanilla frozen yogurt or greek yogurt with dark chocolate shavings as a topping.

4) Start drinking more water today!!! There are so many reasons why we need to learn to love drinking water for our health. You should be striving to drink at least 8-9 glasses of water a day!

We still have a few more weeks to go before the official summer season kicks in so for those who have encountered some bumps in your ”resolution road” like I have, let us get back on track. For those of you who have hung in there all year round, keep up the good work and bravo! We will all eventually get to the same place together.

Healthy mind, Healthy bod…Healthy life!!!

Until next time…….

Dr. Maggie

Disclaimer: This blog contains my personal opinion based on personal and clinical experience, tips from trainers, health coaches and research. You should always consult with a doctor, nutritionist, or other healthcare professional to discuss your own health, any health topics, lifestyle goals and food or exerecise regimen based on your medical history. Thank you for reading!

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