Help for those New Year's resolutions

Submitted by Judy on Sun, 12/27/2009 - 1:03pm.

It’s resolution time again! According to, the most popular New Year’s resolution is (drum roll please) lose weight! What a surprise.

If, like me, you make this same resolution every year, two new books may turn things around, and then maybe next year we can all resolve to reduce carbon emissions and promote world peace.

In The Portion Plan: How to Eat the Foods You Love & Still Lose Weight (DK, $17.95) TV and radio personality Linda Gassenheimer says the key to losing weight and keeping it off may lie in the palm of your hand. Love that burger? A healthy portion is palm sized. Your baked potato should be the size of your fist. And you don’t have to give up French fries if you eat what will fit in two cupped hands (about 20).

“The portions of foods we are eating have ballooned,” writes Gassenheimer. “Restaurants serve extra-large amounts of food, yet we still clean our plates, just as we were told to do when we were children.” This “portion distortion” has completely perverted our sense of normalcy.

Take the bagel, for instance. “Originally the size of a hockey puck, bagels now have the circumference of a CD,” she says. Stick to a palm-size portion and use reduced-fat cream cheese and save 382 calories.

Seeing is believing, and “The Portion Plan” offers dozens of life-size food photos of ideal and not-so-ideal portions of common foods so we can make wise food choices. And learning to distinguish between what Gassenheimer calls “the good, the bad, and the ugly” (choices to savor, choices to watch and choices to avoid) will assure we’re not only losing weight, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well.

The book also includes a seven-day eating plan with recipes, an eating-out guide and oodles of tips for delicious alternatives to calorie-laden foods.

“Food that’s good for you should taste good,” says Norene Gilletz, whose latest cookbook Norene’s Healthy Kitchen (Whitecap, $29.95) contains over 600 recipes that prove that we don’t have to sacrifice flavor for nutrition. “My recipes are heart-healthy and weight-loss friendly, offer low glycemic index values (GI) and are suitable for people with diabetes,” writes Gilletz.

A lengthy introduction give tips on everything from meal-planning for diabetics to choosing healthier sweets, shaking the salt habit, storing food, cooking and baking substitutions, and even food safety. And like her popular “Healthy Helpings” (originally titled “MealLeaniYumm,”) the book is kosher and includes a Passover chapter.

But you needn't be kosher or diabetic to appreciate these healthful and tasty recipes that are short on deprivation and long on flavor. Confetti Vegetable Strudel. Spanikopita Roll-Ups. Chimichurri Chicken. Luscious Lemon Berry Mousse.

Gilletz is in the kitchen with you, encouraging you with tips and advice. “Did you know that if you eat a bowl of vegetable soup, you will feel full for a longer period of time than if you drink a glass of water and eat the vegetables separately?”

This “multivitamin in a bowl” is a dieter’s friend. Follow Gilletz’s tips: Cut the fat by using a mere tablespoon of olive or canola oil to sauté three to four cups of vegetables. Use nonstick cookware or cooking spray, or even chicken or vegetable broth instead of oil.

From “Norene’s Healthy Kitchen” by Norene Gilletz

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 pounds baby carrots
8 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup roasted cashews
1 to 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Chopped cashews, for garnish (optional)

1. Heat oil in large soup pot on medium-high heat. Add onion, apple, sweet potato, and carrots and sauté until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Add broth, cashews, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until tender, 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

3. Using an immersion blender, purée soup, or purée in batches in blender or food processor. If too thick, add broth or water (milk or soymilk are also good choices). Stir in curry powder and chili powder and serve hot. Sprinkle with chopped cashews, if desired. 6 to 8 servings.

from The Orange CountyRegister/Fullerton News Tribune 1/10/08