The New Year is often accompanied by new resolutions and goals. January is a good time to lighten up the diet a little–just don’t make drastic changes that are bound to fail. Here are a couple of hints, each with a recipe to help you keep that resolution to eat healthier in 2014!

1.  Snacks
Who doesn’t like to snack? It’s especially easy to become a couch potato in January—Super Bowl, hockey games and new television shows, not to mention cold weather and dark evenings. You are more likely to consume more chips, nuts, or pretzels if you eat straight from the bag. Be a smart snacker by portioning out your serving size and putting the bag away before you indulge. Try making your own spiced snacks, like these yummy almonds.

Maple & Pumpkin Spiced Almonds-from Nummy for my Tummy

  • 1 ½ c. raw almonds
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup, preferably dark
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 300°F
2. Line baking sheet with foil and grease with a small amount of coconut oil (approx. 1/4 tsp) to avoid sticking
3. While oven is pre-heating, in a large bowl combine almonds, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and sea salt
4. Stir almonds mixture together until well coated with spices
5. Pour maple syrup and vanilla onto the almonds and continue to stir until evenly coated
6. Spread coated almonds onto lined baking sheet in a single layer
7. Cook 10 minutes then flip the almonds
8. Roast almonds another 5-10 minutes
9. Remove almonds from the oven and allow to cool before placing into a glass container

2.   Increase Vegetables
We all know we should eat more vegetables, it’s just a matter of doing it, right?  Well, you will be inclined to eat more vegetables if they are easy to grab and prepare.  The best way to insure they are ready to go is to wash them as soon as you get home from the supermarket.   Wash, cut, and put away.  When you are making lunches or preparing supper it will be a snap to do when your veggies are ready!  Here is a recipe for a tasty winter salad—lettuce washed, vegetables prepared and away you go.
Big Italian Salad
Serves 4 as a starter

Ingredients:

For the Dressing
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped (about one small bunch)
10 big leaves fresh basil
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup red wine vinegar, good quality
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil, good quality
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 ½ teaspoons honey

For the Salad
1 large (or 2 small) head(s) romaine lettuce, washed, patted dry and cut into large, bite-size pieces
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped cucumbers
1 large carrot, peeled into ribbons
Handful grape tomatoes, halved or whole
Handful pitted olives if desired

Directions:

1. Make the dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend.

2. Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Right before serving, add about half of the dressing and toss well. Add more dressing little by little as necessary; be sure to dress greens very generously, otherwise salad will be bland. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Reserve leftover dressing for another use.