Have you made a New Year’s resolution this year? Above all the typical ones like saving money, spending more time with your family, and quitting smoking, the resolution that consistently tops the list seems to be losing weight.
In terms of setting a goal, dietitians encourage people to focus on healthy behaviours instead of just on weight loss, ensuring that a person is as healthy as possible at any size. Consider the big difference between these two plans:
- A supplement-based or one-food diet program (e.g., Slim Fast, Herbal Magic, or the cabbage soup diet) that may provide short term weight loss results but will end with weight gain once you stop the program. This kind of weight cycling has negative outcomes for your physical or mental health.
- A lifestyle behaviour based approach which encourages healthy habits that improve many aspects of your life aside from the shape of your body. Starting a special program isn’t necessary but focusing on long-term changes to your habits is. By eating a variety of nutritious foods, drinking water, exercising, and adopting other healthy behaviours your body may respond with a huge number of benefits including increased energy, improved mood, lower blood cholesterol levels, and improved sleep!
Consider some of these tips for healthy changes in 2015:
- Eat breakfast everyday! Did you know that sumo wrestlers consciously skip breakfast in order to gain weight? Eating in the morning jumpstarts your metabolism, puts gas in your tank to fuel your day, and keeps you from being ravenous at the end of the day.
- Drink 2-3 litres of water per day! Water flushes your body of toxins, keeps your brain functioning well, hydrates and revitalizes your skin, and keeps your gut working optimally. Your urine should look pale yellow.
- Add more vegetables and fruit to meals and snacks! Add fruit to your oatmeal, sneak veggies into your sandwiches, soups, stews, and casseroles, keep frozen berries and bananas on hand for easy smoothies, and stock your freezer with frozen vegetables for a quick dinner solution.
- Cook healthy meals for your family! Anything you make in your kitchen will be more nutritious than the store-bought version! Make cooking a priority for your family.
Looking for a family-friendly recipe that gets everyone running to the breakfast table and sneaks some vegetables into an unlikely place? Look no further!
Carrot cake oatmeal can be made for a nice brunch or weekend breakfast, heated up for a quick breakfast during the week, packed along as snack, or even eaten as a dessert!
This recipe includes an ingredient from every food group: whole grain oats, carrots and raisins, milk or a milk substitute, and seeds and nuts!
Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal
This recipe is based off of a recipe from the website Oh She Glows.
Feeds six hungry people
- 2 ¼ cups quick cooking rolled oats (use gluten-free if necessary)
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed or chia seeds (optional)
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups lightly packed shredded carrots
- 2 ½ cups unsweetened milk (or milk alternative of your choice)
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, melted honey, or brown sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tsp freshly grated ginger (or ½ tsp ground ginger)
- ¼ cup raisins
- ½ cup sunflower seeds or walnuts
- Preheat oven to 375F and lightly grease a 10-cup casserole dish.
- In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, flaxseed or chia seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the carrots, milk, sweetener, vanilla, and ginger.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until combined. If you are using regular rolled oats instead of the quick cooking variety, I would recommend that you let it soak for 30-60 minutes or overnight. That way it will be nice and soft!
- Pour mixture into prepared dish and smooth out with a spoon. Press down on the oatmeal with a spoon (or your hands) so the oats sink into the milk. Sprinkle on the raisins and sunflower seeds or walnuts and press down lightly again.
- Bake, uncovered, for 32-37 minutes or until lightly golden along edge. The oatmeal will still look a bit soft or wet in some spots when it comes out of the oven, but it will firm up as it cools.
- Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with a drizzle of maple syrup or some dairy or non-dairy yogurt. When the baked oatmeal is fully cool, it will firm up enough to be sliced into squares.
Enjoy it warm, at room temperature, or chilled straight from the fridge!
About Amy Horrock
Born and raised in Winnipeg Manitoba, Amy Horrock is a registered dietitian and member of the Regional Dysphagia Management Team. She loves cooking, blogging, and spreading the joy of healthy eating to others! Outside of the kitchen, this prairie girl can be found crocheting, reading, or exploring the natural splendor and soaring heights of British Columbia with her husband!