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Healthy Meals For Those Post Holiday Blues

January 05, 2006

California's gray winter skies play havoc with my mood. When I wake up without sunshine, I tend to feel bleak, low in spirit and energy. My best friend just loves winter rain. She tells me how lovely it is to curl up with a book by a cozy fire with the sound of rain outside. I tell her, "righty-ho for you, miserable for me."

Winter meals can help lift the spirits with comfort-style food or bright, cheery fruit salad combinations. Today's recipes were chosen for their mood-lifting characteristics. For example, clementines can be purchased by the crate now in local supermarkets at terrific savings. The bright orange clementine contrasts with the healthy dark green spinach leaves in a pretty salad.

The skin of these tiny mandarin oranges flicks off easily. Clementines were once called "kid-glove oranges" because it was said that a lady could eat the fruit without taking her gloves off.

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With intense flavor and color, clementines can be substituted for oranges, so try them in jello salads or even orange cake.

Comfort foods like chili can be made more healthful by adding beans, reducing portion sizes or making chili a side dish with a big salad as the entree. Today I offer a chili-mac that has a whopping 8 grams of dietary fiber per serving and a good balance between carbs and protein. One serving is only 365 calories so it won't strain your New Year's weight loss resolution. The meatless chili is packed with even more fiber and has only 180 calories per serving.

Reducing portions and counting calories will help you take off extra pounds gained over the holidays. Experts recommend exercise as the best recipe for weight loss and disease prevention.

Every expert has a plan for increasing your chances of success with exercise. My recommendation is to find something that you like. Any exercise plan that feels like a chore, something to be put off until later in the day, is not the right one for you. Find the exercise that's most pleasant and easiest for you and then stick to it, every day.

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