As usual, the holidays and all their sublime, make-my-knees-melt, high-fat and high-calorie treats brought some unwanted visitors – extra pounds. I’m calling them visitors, though, because they will not become permanent residents. I will not allow it.

They, as well as their relatives who have been visiting since October when I quit all nicotine sources (no cigs, no gum, no lozenges, no anything) and all the others that have been adding to my middle while I write, are being kicked out one by one. This writer’s bum has got to go.

Unfortunately, writing doesn’t burn any calories. (Wow – could you imagine if writing or reading burnt just as many calories as running or swimming? We’d all be twigs!) So I created a new routine, bought new workout clothes and shoes, and set up the DVD player and Wii for my new Taebo DVDs and Zumba game. My kids gave me Skull Candy headphones and an armband for my iPod for Christmas. I’ve started my walking route again, too, and actually even jogged today. It felt good!

But the really fun part has been the cooking. I’ve done my share of diets that took hours upon hours of menu planning, shopping and preparing – time I just don’t have which makes maintaining such a diet impossible. And I found very few recipes from those diets that I liked as much as my and my family’s favorites (burritos, chili, chicken enchilada casserole, homemade mac and cheese, pasta this and that, etc.). Certainly no vegetable recipes.

Maybe it’s the fact that my body had been loaded with so much fat over the holidays that I almost expected butter to ooze out of my pores, or maybe I really have found some keeper recipes. Either way, veges have been tasting so good lately. I’ve been keeping our meals to mostly meat and veges with small servings of breads/potatoes/pastas (and minimal white flour or sugar).

Need some ideas? Here are a few really yummy yet healthy meals we’ve had since the new year:

  • Steak, salad with balsamic vinaigrette and a 1/4 piece of naan warmed on the grill
  • Leftover steak and shrimp on salad with Gorgonzola and balsamic vinaigrette
  • Panini made with rye bread, calamati tapanade, arugula, spinach, tomato and slices of mozarella rolled with prosciuttio (just thick enough for taste, but watch the calories)
  • Grilled lean pork chops with smashed acorn squash, green beans and baked apples (I used Truvia, cinnamon and a spray of Pam)
  • Lentil soup with kale
  • Oriental lettuce wraps with chicken, veges and just enough brown rice to help hold it together

Now that the college boy, who can’t stand fish or seafood (or so he says – he likes crabs), has gone back to college, we’ll be eating more fish, too.

None of these are really wild and crazy recipes, but they’re tasty and healthy. And since I’ve been under deadline for Devotion, you can trust me that they don’t take a lot of time to prepare. I’ll share some actual recipes over the coming weeks.

Do you have a weight loss goal or a healthy-eating resolution for the new year? What is your favorite healthy recipe or meal? Is there anything listed above you’d especially like the recipe for? Or do you run from anything green and prefer to consume as much cheese as possible as I usually do?