Happy New Year.

It’s that time of year again. We have a whole year ahead of us. A clean slate so to speak.

So what are your new year’s resolutions and goals this year? Are they to make changes?

Most of us plan to make changes. Usually, those changes are to ourselves.

Do your plans look something like this? Lose weight, get in shape, save money, reduce stress, be happier, live better?

Cooking your way to all six is the way to go.

No, food is not the answer to all problems but changing your food habits can go a long way into improving and finding the BETTER YOU.

Starving yourself, extreme diets and maxing out your credit card on fitness devices is not the way to go. And it’s stressful and just makes you unhappy.

The easiest way to find a better you in 2017 is to start cooking for yourself. Not only will you save money but you’ll feel and look better and be less stressed.

Cooking at home is about TAKING BACK YOUR POWER.

YOU have complete control of what goes into your food, so YOU have complete control of what goes into your body. Eating is one of the few areas in your life where you do have complete control.


Cut all the unnecessary fat, sugars and salts from YOUR BODY by skipping the already prepared foods and cooking for yourself.

Finding the BETTER YOU doesn’t mean eating cardboard-like dishes. It doesn’t mean following one of the popular eliminate-a-certain-type-of-food diets. It doesn’t even mean denying yourself your favorite foods.

No, you get to ENJOY YOUR FOOD. This really is a time where you can have your cake and eat it too

Eating your way to a BETTER YOU in 2017 is about BEING SMART, MAKING BETTER CHOICES, and ENJOYING LIFE.

It’s about the little changes. Like switching butter with olive oil. Or choosing wild or brown rice over white rice. Or whole grain pasta instead of regular. Bringing lunch to work/school rather than eating out.

You’ll find it amazing that making such little changes make such a big difference. Check out this article How to Save Your Money-and the World-by Changing Your Bad Food Habits on Thrive Global for more about food habit changing.

Little changes such as eating more vegetables and whole grains than meat and starches. You don’t have to skip your favorite potato. But eating less of it or switching it to a healthier potato such as a sweet potato or Yukon Gold instead of russet is a healthier choice.

Making small changes to your exercise route can help as well. Try walking to the store for groceries instead of driving. Park at the back of the parking lot instead of the front. Schedule in a few squats or jumping jacks during television commercial breaks. Walk to the coworker’s desk instead of emailing. Or even try standing at work instead of sitting.

While you are keeping the good stuff in your diet, eliminating negative influences is absolutely necessary. Negative influence equals stress, unhealthy eating habits, bad sleeping patterns, fear, sadness and anger. All bad things for helping you find the BETTER YOU. Try watching less news and reality television. Instead, find positive things to watch, read or do. If people in your life are the issue, talk to them or drop them. Surround yourself with positive things, people and ideas.


Not only will these small changes lead to a BETTER YOU in 2017 but will equal more money in your bank account, less stress in your life and a much happier you.

See how easy it is to TAKE BACK YOUR POWER for a BETTER YOU?

Don’t worry I’m joining you as well. I’ll be right here every step of the way. If you need anything just ask. If you want to talk, let me know. If you need help making the changes, I’m there for you.


And to help you get started eating your way to the BETTER YOU, here are 17 deliciously tasty recipes that cut the bad fats, sugars and salt without getting rid of the yumminess.

1. Authentic Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

Satisfy your pizza craving by making it at home with better ingredients starting with an Authentic Italian Pizza Dough recipe.

2. Brussel Sprout, Apple and Walnut Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Loaded with nutritious dark green brussel sprouts, apples, walnuts and a little parmesan cheese, this Brussel Sprout, Apple and Walnut Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette recipe won’t leave you feeling wilted. In fact, you can even dress this salad ahead with its whole grain mustard and honey vinaigrette with no fear of wilting.

3. Oatmeal Honey Whole Wheat Bread with Sunflower Seeds

Get a good dose of whole grains and seeds in this yummy Oatmeal Honey Whole Wheat Bread with Sunflower Seeds recipe. Not only is it tasty on its own, but it makes excellent sandwiches.

4. Pico de Gallo

Part of a successful diet is not to feel like you’re dieting. Healthy snacks such as this spicy Pico de Gallo recipe on whole-grain tortilla chips is one way to get your snack on without feeling like you missed out.

5. Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes

Yummy one dish meals like this Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes recipe is easy to make and easy on the taste buds. Pair with a veggie for a complete meal. It’s also a good leftover meal for eating later.

6. Black Bean, Lentil and Barley Vegetarian Chili

Trying skipping the meat at least once or twice a week with dishes like this Black Bean, Lentil, and Barley Vegetarian Chili recipe. Get all the goodness of beans, whole grain and vegetables, without missing the meat, in this completely yummy vegetarian version of chili.

7. Fall Turkey or Chicken Salad with Cranberries, Apple, Kale and Walnuts

Fall Turkey or Chicken Salad with Cranberries, Apple, Kale and Walnuts recipe hits all the right taste buds with earthy kale, walnuts and turkey or chicken. Enjoy the flavors of fresh herbs, mustard and lemon with a little mayo.

8. Beef Tagine

Slow cooking and braising allows you to create tasty dishes using cheap cuts of meat. For example, my Beef Tagine recipe uses chuck roast, stew beef or even flank steak stewed for a few hours with vegetables to make a tasty meal. Serve with your choice of flat breads, rice or couscous for a complete meal.

9. Three Bean Salad with Honey Dijon Lime Dressing

Lots of veggies with three types of beans and a low-fat dressing in this Three Bean Salad with Honey Dijon Lime Dressing recipe offer a completely balanced meal without losing a bit of taste. For even more goodness, try adding 1 cup cooked barley, farro or quinoa.

10. Turkey and Lentil Tacos with Apple Fennel Slaw and Honey Chipotle Aioli

For me, life just wouldn’t be the same without tacos. And the good thing is, I don’t have to go without them. While tacos from Taco Bell are hell on the body, tacos made at home are taste bud heaven of goodness and flavor. Just make sure you add plenty of veggies, beans and try to use lower fat meats like in my Turkey and Lentil Tacos with Apple Fennel Slaw and Honey Chipotle Aioli recipe.

11. Fire-Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

One of my favorite comfort foods is tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. The main problem with most good tomato soups is they have tons of cream in them, making them less than healthy. Try instead, my cream free Fire-Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup recipe with coconut milk, white wine, lots of veggies and spice.

12. Smoked Salmon, Avocado and Sriracha Aioli on Green Chili Cornbread Waffles

You need heart healthy fats for a BETTER YOU such as the salmon, avocados and Greek yogurt like in my Smoked Salmon, Avocado and Sriracha Aioli on Green Chili Cornbread Waffles recipe.

13. Heidi’s Mediterranean Frittata

Good for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Heidi’s Mediterranean Frittata recipe is easy to make and filled with lots of fresh veggies, eggs, yogurt and a little cheese. Serve alone or with a salad.

14. Light and Lean Turkey Sloppy Joes

When you’re craving a childhood favorite like sloppy joes, skip the canned sloppy joe filling and try out this yummy recipe for Light and Lean Turkey Sloppy Joes. It’s so delicious it brings the kid in me out to play.

15. Grilled Pasta Salad (No Mayo)

Getting rid of the mayo in pasta salad is one of the easiest ways to make it over into a healthy dish. This Grilled Pasta Salad recipe offers plenty of flavor without the mayo using grilled chicken, veggies and fresh herbs. Don’t forget to use whole grain pasta!

16. Shortcut Coq au Vin

A made over version of the French classic, this recipe for Shortcut Coq Au Vin is tasty and low-fat. Try serving it over whole grain pasta, rice or turnip and parsnip mash.

17. Blueberry Goat Cheese Cheesecake

Being the BETTER YOU doesn’t mean skipping dessert. If you’re a cheesecake fan, consider trying this low-fat creamy Blueberry Goat Cheese Cheesecake recipe for satisfying your sweets craving. Plus you can switch up the blueberries for any type of your favorite fruits.

Originally published at simplysophisticatedcooking.com on January 4, 2017.