Valentine’s Day is coming up (if January ever ends)…
A gift that provokes anxiety or guilt (or both!) is not a good gift.
If your partner is reducing or eliminating junk food, buying chocolate, cookies, candies, etc. is not a thoughtful thing to do.
Likewise, if you’re reducing or eliminating junk food, don’t ask for or expect junk food. Unless this is a special occasion.
In any of these cases, perhaps have a conversation ahead of time about it so everyone is on the same page.
“I know that you’ve always gotten me this fabulous box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day, but I don’t want to have that much chocolate on hand any more. How about [a smaller portion/ something else/ we just go out] instead?”
Surely there are ways to show and receive love that aren’t filled with sugar? Maybe even aren’t edible at all?
This vegetable provides 21% of your daily potassium. Potassium is critical in our bodies, helping to regulate muscle contractions, nerve signals, and fluid balance. Potassium is an electrolyte—one of those things that people talk about needing to replenish when they exercise (though most people don’t really know what it means). Also keep in mind that your heart is a muscle, so “muscle contractions” is not just talking about arms and legs and such.
(For reference, an avocado provides 20%, a cup of white beans: 18%, a sweet potato or a cup of spinach: 12%, bananas: 9%.)
This vegetable is also weighing in at 45% of your daily vitamin C! That’s not as much as an orange or a cup of strawberries, but it’s still a solid serving.
You also get some fiber, some protein, and a little iron.
What package brings you all this goodness?
This package is for gold potatoes, but other types are similar. (The nutrition facts panel is for “one medium potato.”)
Potatoes get a bad rap, and they shouldn’t.
You’ll want to eat the whole potato (including the skin!) and eat potatoes together with a little more protein and some fat, for staying power and to avoid a blood sugar crash.
Some of the most-loved ways to eat potatoes aren’t ideal and would be best considered “sometimes (or less) foods” — like fries, home fries, hash browns, chips.
But a baked potato? Or some skin-on mashed potatoes? Nutritionally beneficial.
Dried mango and macadamia nuts.
These are my two current favorite snacks.
I can eat them together or separately, and I can eat them in significant quantity.
Costco sells both.
For a while, I stopped buying the mango altogether—it’s easier when it’s just not in the house—and I was just reintroduced to macadamia nuts a couple of weeks ago. They’re much more delicious than they were when I was a kid.
Earlier this week, I bought a bag of each at Costco. Yum!
But, in an effort not to exist solely on these two things, I measured out portions based on the nutrition facts panel. Put the nuts in little jars. Put the mango in repurposed tomato paste jars.
I have taught and written about portion control many times, and yet I was still astounded at how little there was in my servings.
It’s for the best. And most days, I’ve only had one jar of each.
Eating things like chips, popcorn, nuts, cereal out of the container is dicey for many people. Measure it out, put the bag away, and stick to the portion you measured.
The bonus to this is that the original container will last much longer. Fend off a little overindulgence, save a few pesos. Not an entirely bad deal.
For a long time, peanut brittle was one of my favorites. And it was an infrequent treat, which made it even more delightful.
It’s been years, maybe decades, since I had peanut brittle.
There was some at work the other day.
I took a piece. Or two…
And you know what? It wasn’t that delicious.
I relayed this story to a friend who reacted with sadness, but no! It’s not sad at all!
Peanut brittle is crap. It’s (formerly) tasty crap, but it’s still crap.
And now, if it shows up in the teachers’ lounge again, I won’t have to expend any energy to pass it by, because it’s not delicious.
It’s not the first time this has happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. The list of things that are no longer delicious just got one thing longer.
And yes, there have been a few things that I had for the first time in years and yes, they were still amazing. (A cream doughnut from McMillan’s Bakery immediately comes to mind. Only ate a couple of bites but YUM.)
But it’s OK to let your taste buds get pickier about junk food. Your body will thank you for it.
With most things, there’s a fine line between “not hardcore” and “too many excuses.”
Setting a reasonable, realistic goal is critical in walking this line.
For most people most of the time, “hardcore” is not the way to go. It’s not sustainable. If you’re in a situation where it’s critical to be all in and right now, then do it. But that’s not most of us (psychologically) most of the time.
For most people most of the time, setting small goals—goals that maybe even seem like not goals at all because they’re so small—is the way to go.
Set a small goal. One small goal.
Relentlessly stick to it. No outs. No excuses.
Once that’s a habit, repeat the process.
In time, you have a whole new set of habits. It takes time, but it’s doable and it’s worth it.
Imagine you started that process a year ago. You’d have three or four or six small changed habits. You’d be so grateful to yourself for starting.
Imagine yourself in a year. Do what you need to do to make one-year-from-now you as grateful as you would be now to one-year-ago you if you had started then.