Moderation and Smart Choices are the Key to a Balanced New Year

Each January, I take stock of the past year and focus on how I would like my coming year to be.  For me, this often means a reset of my eating habits.  I am a food blogger, after all, so food is something that I love to make (and eat!)  For the last few years, my thinking has shifted from one that involves thoughts of deprivation to one that focuses on the words “moderation and smart choices.”Do you find that your lunch time meals are always a blur? Adding balance for healthy meal times is very easy with these 6 easy steps. #BalancedNewYear #ad

Do you want a balanced year? Focus on Moderation and Smart Choices.

I find that what works for me is to strive for a balanced lifestyle, both in and out of the kitchen.  And nothing does this better, for me,  than thinking a LOT about moderation and smart choices in ALL areas of my life. These are some of the tips that I use to manage this task.

1. Take computer breaks.  

Instead of sitting in front of my computer all day (sort of a requirement for a gardening and food blogger, ya know?) I alternate spans of computer time with some easy to do exercise breaks.  

This might mean taking a break for 20 minutes to go out and dig out some weeds (and take pictures of the new flowers for a new blog post!)  Or it might mean having some fun time with my dog to walk just down the the end of the street and back.

I come back to work refreshed AND get in a bit of exercise at the same time.Take computer breaks with a dog walk

2. Tame that sweet tooth.  

I love sweets.  If I had my way, I’d like to eat them with every meal and have cookies in the cookie jar all the time.  But that sure doesn’t sound like a balanced life, does it?  Instead, I often make single portion sweets that can be frozen.  I keep two servings out (one for hubbie too) and freeze the rest.  

If they are not sitting in my fridge or in my cookie jar, I won’t be tempted to eat them will I? I cooked up a sweet storm over the Christmas holidays and my freezer has Rubbermaid containers of all sorts of sweets that are frozen for later use.  

It is much easier to stay balanced when I have just a few that are ready to eat available, and the rest are frozen.Keep sweets frozen until you need to use them

3. Make use of portion control products.  

I’ve long been a fan of the LEAN CUISINE® Marketplace Collection products. These meals are so tasty and the portion control means that my focus on moderation and balance is simple to do.  

If you need some help in starting 2016 off right with balanced, satisfying meals, be sure to check out these LEAN CUISINE® Marketplace Collection products the next time you shop. They are delicious and satisfying meals that anyone can enjoy. Lean Cuisine spicy and sweet Korean style beef and salad

One of my favorites choices is their Sweet & Spicy Korean-Style Beef.  I love Asian inspired recipes and this one has just the right amount of heat to satisfy.  It’s really tasty too!  

The meal is made with organic cooked brown rice, zucchini, carrots, onions as well as cooked prime rib beef.  With built in portion control, moderation is a cinch, and the convenience of these meals give me a few extra minutes of me time by making meal preparation easier.  And this leads me to my next tip:

4. Moderate your time. 

I don’t know about you, but for me, I find that I always have a harder time maintaining a balanced life when my day is chock full of one thing after another. 

This is where moderation and smart choices really come into play.  If I make the smart choice to give me some “me time,” I find that my whole life seems to work better. 

Everyone needs some down time during the day and I am no exception.  One of my favorite ways to get this needed down time is to take a gardening magazine out to the deck with my noon meal so that I will read just for a little bit before getting back to work.  

No eating in front of the computer for me!Make time for reading

5. Be Smart with Vegetables. 

If you load your plate with healthy vegetables and fruits, you will feel much more satisfied from start to finish.  I love to add a nutritious salad to many of my meals, whether it is a convenience meal or a home made recipe. 

My plate looks fuller. My eyes are satisfied, and I am more full at the end of the meal.   PLUS, I get a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals from the fresh fruits and veggies. 

One smart choice that I make is to load my salad up with not just vegetables but also some healthy nuts, a bit of fruit and a quick home made dressing.

A great example of this is a grapefruit, and almond salad with a home made Asian sesame seed dressing.  This salad is not only delicious, but it also pairs well with my LEAN CUISINE® Sweet & Spicy Korean-Style Beef lunch choice for today.Grapefruit almond salad and dressing fits right in with my resolution to use moderation and smart choices

The meal gives me a break from my computer (nothing relaxes me more than trying out a new recipe!).  It satisfies my sweet tooth by adding some fruit to my menu.  I get to practice portion control by using the LEAN CUISINE® meal. 

I enjoyed some me time by having my lunch out on my patio (lucky me…I live in NC where the weather is mild most of the year!) AND I got smart with my veggies.  All five tips in one delicious meal.  How neat is that?

To make the salad assemble these ingredients.  I chose a 50/50 mix of spring greens, some grapefruit portions, a few tablespoons of raw almonds and some normal salad toppings like cucumber, peppers and baby tomatoes.salad ingredients

To top my salad, I chose an homemade Asian honey sesame seed dressing. 

The dressing is so easy to make. I lightened the dressing by using a brown sugar replacement, limiting the honey and keeping the oil to a minimum.

All of the ingredients go into a glass jar,give it a shake and pour it over the salad.Toasted sesame seed dressing

6.  Take the time to set a nice table.

This is my final balanced lifestyle tip. Nothing is worse for a balanced life than eating your lunch in front of a computer screen. Take the time to set a pretty table.  

Eat outside if you can. Enjoy your time.  It’s all about moderation and smart choices….there are lots of hours in a day! To bring in the Asian theme of my LEAN CUISINE® Sweet & Spice Korean-Style Beef meal and salad, I even used chopsticks for a special table setting.  

It put me in a good mood (I felt like I was having lunch at a trendy Asian restaurant) and I’ll be satisfied for sure, leading to a well balanced afternoon.Set a nice table and take your time with the meal

I have talked about my ideas for moderation and smart choices.  What is your favorite easy tip to maintain balance in your life?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Yield: 2

Grapefruit Salad with Home made Asian Honey Toasted Sesame Seed Dressing

Grapefruit Salad with Home made Asian Honey Toasted Sesame Seed Dressing

This grapefruit salad has a delicious Asian honey dressing with toasted sesame seeds.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


For the dressing:

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp finely rated fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar replacement
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
  • ¼ tsp finely ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • (Use 4 tablespoons of dressing for the two salads)
  • 2 cups of mixed greens
  • 1/2 of a large grapefruit
  • 6 Baby Tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Sweet peppers
  • 1 baby cucumber
  • 8 Sugar Snap Peas
  • 2 tablespoons of almonds


  1. Add your salad ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine all salad dressing ingredients in a glass jar and shake well.
  3. Pour over your salad and enjoy. That's all there is to it!


(this recipe for the dressing makes 1 1/2 cups and it keeps well for later.)

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

half the salad and 2 tablespoons of dressing

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 205Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 310mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 9gSugar: 19gProtein: 8g

Nutritional information is approximate due to natural variation in ingredients and the cook-at-home nature of our meals.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BalancedNewYear #CollectiveBias

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a "sponsored post." One of the companies who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  10 comments for “Moderation and Smart Choices are the Key to a Balanced New Year

  1. 01/19/2016 at 11:11 am

    I love all of these ideas. Setting a nice table is a great tip. The LEAN CUISINE® Sweet & Spicy Korean-Style Beef lunch sounds amazing. I can’t wait to try it and the salad recipe. Thanks for these great tips! #client

    • Carol
      01/20/2016 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks Heather. We loved the taste of the meal and the dressing went very nicely with it. Carol

  2. 01/19/2016 at 11:43 am

    We have many of the same goals. I have an active sweet tooth and I am working hard to curb it. SO hard for me. I agree, it is so easy to just to stay planted behind the computer. I love your ideas though, and I will try to put them in place, especially in the spring.

    • Carol
      01/20/2016 at 3:16 pm

      Sitting all day is my downfall. Anything I can do to get me moving is a big help.

  3. 01/19/2016 at 3:35 pm

    Thank you for your tips and great recipe! [client]

    • Carol
      01/20/2016 at 3:16 pm

      My pleasure Melanie. Glad you liked it!

  4. Linda at Mixed Kreations
    01/20/2016 at 7:54 pm

    This looks delicious! We really need to cut out some of the things that we eat. Don’t really eat that much sweets, I think our down fall is Tex Mex. Love my Tex Mex. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Carol
      01/20/2016 at 11:24 pm

      I’m fond of Mexican food too!

  5. 01/22/2016 at 12:08 pm

    Great tips and making smart choices is something that can be accomplished. thanks for sharing

    • Carol
      01/23/2016 at 4:04 pm

      My pleasure Renee.

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