By Elke Probkevitz

New year, new resolutions, right? Maybe not. A big commitment to diet or lose weight can be quite overwhelming to stick to. Starting with small changes like being more mindful of what you eat can be much more manageable. Being aware of what you are eating and what triggers you to make bad choices can make all the difference in getting on the right track. Keep big goals in the back of your mind for later, but first make a little progress to start out. You’ll feel much more motivated and capable of taking on the next challenge.

Relax. Stress makes you crave more sweets and snacks because it lowers your levels of glucose, which helps fuel your brain to think clearly and rationally. When feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to chill out with a deep breath. Give yourself downtime alone to destress and do something for yourself. Meditating or practicing yoga will also help. You’ll find yourself less stressed and less likely to make bad food choices.

Regular eating. When you skip meals, you become too hungry to make rational decisions. Going into a supermarket or restaurant when you’re starving is never a good idea, since you will just grab the first chocolate bar or bread roll they place in front of you. Eat three regular meals a day, with healthy snacks in between, so you can make choices that you won’t regret later.

Rest. When you don’t sleep enough, you tend to eat more, because you get hungry past the time you should be eating. You also are fatigued and it is harder to make smart decisions about what you are eating. People tend to eat more calories the next day when not sleeping the recommended eight hours. Try to squeeze in as many good nights of sleep during the week as you can to compensate for later nights.

Resist. Temptation is all around. Even those with the most self-control have their weak moments here and there. The best way to resist temptation is to keep away from it. Out of sight, out of mind, so don’t keep tempting foods around. If you know you will be around tempting foods, plan ahead. If you are going to a restaurant or party, think ahead about the smart choices you will make. It is also OK to splurge once in a while on a slice of birthday cake. Just be sure to make good choices the rest of the week. v

Teriyaki Salmon With Brussels Sprouts And Mushrooms

Makes 6 servings


2 Tbsp. low-sodium teriyaki sauce

1 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp. grated ginger

1 tsp. sesame oil

six ¼-lb. (1½ lb. total) fillets of salmon, preferably wild

1 lb. Brussels sprouts

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

½ lb. shiitake mushrooms, sliced


Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine teriyaki sauce, honey, vinegar, 1 teaspoon garlic, ginger, and sesame oil. Place salmon fillets in glass dish and marinate in 1½ tablespoons teriyaki mixture for 15 minutes. Toss Brussels sprouts in a bowl with 1½ teaspoons garlic, ½ tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Line baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Spread Brussels sprouts in single layer in pan and roast until brown, about 5 minutes.

Toss mushrooms with remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil, 1½ teaspoons garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Push sprouts to center of pan, place mushrooms around edges, and place salmon on top of sprouts. Continue to roast until salmon is cooked through, 8—10 minutes. Top salmon with remaining teriyaki mixture and serve with Brussels sprouts and mushrooms.

Want to learn how to cook delicious gourmet meals right in your own kitchen? Take one-on-one cooking lessons or give a gift to an aspiring cook that you know. For more information, contact Take Home Chef personal chef services by calling 516-508-3663, writing to, or visiting


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