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Dieting isn’t easy

January 8, 2014
By Pat Jensen , Marshall Independent

It's difficult to find the right time to change our eating habits. It seems like every month provides a reason (excuse) to delay starting a diet.

Let's begin with January. On the 1st, we often make a resolution to shed a few pounds. Just days later, we find ourselves eating the goodies left over from Christmas.

February - No sense going on a diet this month. Valentine's Day calls for chocolate. It's a short month anyway; more days in a month provide more opportunities to lose a pound or two.

March - Need to prove you're a good Irishman by eating corned beef and cabbage. The green beer complements the meal.

April - Since this is spring housecleaning time, we have to eat well to maintain our energy. Moving furniture and washing windows tire a person out. Then, there's Easter and all those jelly beans, chocolate eggs and marshmallow bunnies. This is no time to go on a diet!

May - As the seasons change, our metabolism is also changing - this is no time to cut down on vitamin rich foods. And, why buy your mom a box of candy for Mother's Day if you're not going to help her enjoy it.

June - This is a month filled with activity - golfing, swimming, biking. Exercise requires nourishment ... just plain unhealthy to go on a diet this month.

July - This is the month for picnics as we celebrate the Fourth of July and attend family reunions. Who can pass up potato salad, ice cream and brownies?

August - A time for backyard grilling. If you aren't grilling, your neighbor is - who can stay on a diet when you get a whiff of what's cooking!

September - Labor Day picnics ruin this month for dieters. Also, the kids are back in school and need to eat meals to stay energized - you wouldn't want to make the kids feel self-conscious eating all that good food alone, so you join them.

October - A terrible month for dieters. This is trick-or-treat time and the kids need help to eat up all their loot, or they might get a tummy ache.

November - Who can stay on a diet when faced with a table crammed with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits - and pumpkin pie? Then, of course, there are the leftovers. Also, during November we have to start building up endurance for Christmas shopping.

December - Christmas parties are no place for a gal or guy to count calories ... Then there are the yuletide beverages ... and the nuts, fruit cakes and holiday cookies. And, we have at least one Christmas dinner to attend ... and helping the kids eat the Christmas candy so they won't eat too much and get sick ... Nope. December is certainly no time to go on a diet.

This brings us right back to January ... and a resolution we will find difficult to keep!

Note: This is not meant to deter anyone from dieting. It's important that we all try to maintain a healthy diet, but it never hurts to chuckle a bit as we begin our weight-loss journey.

Today's recipes are pretty much guilt free. Enjoy!


8 oz. plain yogurt

1 tsp. sugar (or substitute)

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

2 cups fresh fruit(s) - strawberries, bananas, blueberries, etc.

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Put mixture into bowl or individual dishes. Cover. Chill.


1-1/2 cups 100% bran cereal

1-1/2 cups skim milk

1 egg white

1 T. canola oil (or 1-1/2 T. applesauce)

1-1/4 cups plus 2 T. whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 T. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

3/4 cup fruit or veg. of choice (mashed bananas, grated apples, blueberries, grated zucchini, grated carrots, crushed pineapple, etc.)

Combine bran cereal, milk, egg white and oil; allow to stand for 5 min. Add remaining ingredients to wet mixture; stir by hand until blended. Spray muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or use paper liners and fill tins 2/3 full of batter. Bake in a 400 oven for about 20 min. or until done. Yield: 1 dozen

Note: One simple recipe that allows for many variations. It's a keeper!


1/2 cup cooked white chicken

1/2 cup cooked string beans

1/2 cup cooked rice

2 ribs celery, sliced

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced

1 sm. onion, chopped

Combine all ingredients. Bake in a lightly greased casserole dish at 325 for 1 hour.

Notes: Great way to use leftover chicken, beans or rice. May use frozen beans (thawed)


1 can (15.5 oz) dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 can (14-1/2 oz) Italian diced tomatoes, drained

1-1/2 cups frozen peas

1-1/2 cups frozen corn

1/2 cup chopped onion (white or red)

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

3 T. red wine vinegar

2 T. olive or canola oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend well. Pour over bean mixture; toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Yield: 10 servings

Note: Cider vinegar may be substituted for the red wine vinegar.

Just a thought: Without flab you wouldn't have love handles!



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