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

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.”

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!) 

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.

Salad with dressing and black plate with a healthy meal, red napkin and words reading How to add balance to meal times.

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

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, don’t you 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.  

If you need some help in starting the year off right with balanced, satisfying meals, try to be conscious of portion control when making your meals.

Lean Cuisine spicy and sweet Korean style beef and salad

Often, the eyes are bigger than the stomach when it comes to hunger. I know that if i put smaller portions on my plate, I will still feel satisfied.

You can always go back for seconds if you are still hungry!

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.

Vegetables make a great weight conscious snack choice. A bowl of sugar snap peas with Greek yogurt is both satisfying and tasty.

As for your meals, 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.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. 

And I get to practice portion control. All wins in my book!

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 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.

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Renee Fuller

Friday 22nd of January 2016

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


Saturday 23rd of January 2016

My pleasure Renee.

Linda at Mixed Kreations

Wednesday 20th of January 2016

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!


Wednesday 20th of January 2016

I'm fond of Mexican food too!


Wednesday 20th of January 2016

My pleasure Melanie. Glad you liked it!

Terri Oliver Steffes

Tuesday 19th of January 2016

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.


Wednesday 20th of January 2016

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

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. 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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