Have you eaten Brussels sprouts recently? Some of our 2012 Challenge
participants have! Earlier this week, they conquered a challenge to cook & eat some of these nutritious miniature cabbages. Brussels sprouts contain only 28 calories per half cup while still providing 2 grams of fiber, 81% of your daily Vitamin C needs, and 137% of your daily Vitamin K needs.
Check out some of these great photos from their nutritious conquest. John Mancini, president of AIIM International
, and otherwise known as my Uncle Brav, whipped up these delicious looking brussels sprouts!
Joseph Szafranski, a Buffalo cop who trains for Ride for Cancer 2020
(his cycling mission to raise money for a camp for children with cancer) added a side of brussels sprouts to his plate, meeting the recommendation to make half our plates full of fruits or veggies.
And Amy Collier, a friend who is tackling our 2012 challenges like a champ, cooked up this recipe which she shared with us. I think the combination of flavors in this recipe sounds great, so I look forward to trying it myself!
"Brussels Sprouts with Chickpeas and Grapes”
From "Power Foods Cookbook" from WeightWatchers PointsPlus.
1 pound brussels sprouts (trimmed and halved)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups halved seedless red grapes
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon dry sherry or white grape juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1.) Place brussels sprouts in steamer basket and set in large skillet over 1 inch of boiling water. Cover tightly and steam until tender, about 10 minutes.
2.) Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic, and thyme and cook, stirring constantly, until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Add grapes and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes.
3.) Add brussels sprouts, chickpeas, sherry and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until chickpeas are heated through, 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon zest.
**Haven't joined our 2012 Challenge yet?? Join today!
I thought I’d do a quick post on mangos tonight, since I’ve had two different people ask me about them in the past week! I love mangos, and was excited to write up this post because it meant I got to treat myself to a yummy snack after taking the pictures.
Mangos are very nutritious, containing only about 135 calories each, over 30% of your daily Vitamin A needs, and over 90% of your daily Vitamin C needs. You can eat them alone as a snack, make a fruit salsa to top some fish, throw frozen mango into a smoothie, or add some chopped mango to a curried chicken salad for sweet twist.
The most common question I get is how you eat the fruit. Although some people eat the skin of mangos, in the ripe fruit it is often thick and bitter tasting so it’s not typically consumed.
Here’s the easiest way I’ve found to cut up the fruit:
1. Slice down between the center and side of the mango. The inner part of the mango has a single large seed inside that is a bit odd (it kind of feels like a pumice stone). You’ll want to cut off the two sides, leaving only the seed and a little fruit on the inside. Start with one side to figure out which direction to cut.
2. Slice down the other side, so you have two sides with most of the fruit.
3. Cut a checkerboard pattern into the flesh, being careful not to cut thru to the skin. If you hold this in your hand while you cut, be careful not to cut thru the skin and cut your hand.
4. Flip the skin inside out.
5. Slide the knife along the skin, cutting off the pieces of fruit.
6. Cut off any more fruit that may still be in the middle, and enjoy your delicious snack!
I think support is an often overlooked concept when it comes to making behavior change – but it’s one that is quite important. If you don’t have the support of your spouse, friends, or family, it can be much more difficult to try to lose weight or exercise more. Ever go out with friends who inadvertently make comments that deter you from your eating plan? You know… “Come on, we’re out tonight! Have some ______ (insert unhealthy food or drink here).” Or maybe your children give you a hard time when you start making healthier dinner dishes.
If you’re struggling with these issues, stay strong and keep up your efforts. Remember that becoming healthier means you’ll only turn out a better mother/spouse/friend in the long run. And if you need more support, don’t be afraid to ask for it! Sometimes people don’t even realize when they are guilty of not supporting their friends and family (I know I’ve made these mistakes sometimes), so let them know you need their help in order to achieve your goals.
And if your spouse or friend is the one trying to make some changes, why not join in and help them out? Sign up to do a race together so you can motivate each other. Rather than your standard pub fare, try a new restaurant known for its healthy but delicious dishes. Give your spouse the time they need to go to the gym (or better yet, hit the gym together!).
I’m lucky that my fiancé and I both support each other in our health and wellness goals, and we both love trying new things. It makes for a fun (and healthy) relationship. The pictures below are great illustrations of supporting active pursuits – our Christmas gifts for each other!
He bought me a brand new running watch (my old one was lost in a fire that burned my apartment down over the summer), complete with GPS and heart rate monitor.
And I got him (and myself) some snowshoes, so we can get out on the trails this winter - provided it decides to snow at all in Massachusetts this winter!
Happy New Year everyone! If you are sitting down today striving to make New Year’s Resolutions, I want you to try to set SMART goals this year. What are SMART goals? Check it out: S
pecific – A specific goal tends to be much easier to stick to than a general goal. Rather than saying “I want to exercise more this year,” you could say “I will go to the gym and do 60 minutes on the elliptical on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in January.” M
easurable – When you set a goal, you want to have some way to measure your success. How will you know if you’ve achieved your goal? Will it be a number of pounds lost? Number of servings of veggies eaten each day? Minutes working out each week? A
ttainable – As you list your goals, think about the qualities, skills, and knowledge you need to achieve them. It may help if you list these out. The more you develop your plan of action, the more attainable your goal will seem and the more likely you are to be successful in achieving it. R
ealistic – A goal you choose should be something that is feasible for you to accomplish this year. You have to be mentally and physically able to do whatever you set your goal to be. You must also be willing to work towards it. There is no magic pill to make us lose weight, tone up, or prevent chronic diseases – it takes effort, but it can be fun (need proof? Check out our 2012 Challenge
imely – Set a time frame for your goal. Saying “I want to lose weight this year” is a very long time frame and non-specific. “I want to lose 4 pounds by February 15th by reducing takeout and cooking more low calorie meals” gives you a concrete date and plan for your goal. At each time point, you can evaluate how far you’ve come (i.e. the measurable part) and note that you’ve completed your goal, or you can modify it if needed.
What are your goals for this year? Feel free to share in the comments!