Click here to view online with images.

While things may look a bit different this year, the month of December is undoubtedly a highlight of every year: the holiday season, virtually connecting with friends and family, and spreading holiday cheer to others!

Then the holiday festivities are over in the blink of an eye, and we're left to focus quickly and prepare for the start of the new year. Having an action plan in advance to avoid making unhealthy decisions or slipping back into unhealthy patterns is essential, as is creating a strategy NOW to prepare for the new year before it arrives!

One of the easiest ways to define your strategy is to consider how you can successfully reach your goals. We recommend revisiting the "SMART" system. Here is an example: you want to incorporate a regular fitness routine into your schedule, but you aren't quite sure how to start or what to do. Maybe you have never exercised before. That is perfectly fine! By using the "SMART" system, you can take baby steps and start your journey for the new year, one step at a time.

Follow these examples before you outline your own goals:

S: Specific. Instead of, “I’m going to get in shape,” say, “I am going to walk a mile in 17-minutes by February 1, 2021.”

M: Measurable. Instead of declaring, “I’m going to walk regularly,” try “I am going to walk for 20-minutes at least three days a week.”

A: Achievable. If you are new to exercise, do not expect to run a marathon on your first day or even run at all. It is important to start with baby steps and then build upon them! Celebrate each victory, no matter how small!

R: Realistic. Tell yourself, “I’m not going to miss a workout. Ever.” But, in reality, kids get sick, bosses call emergency meetings, and tires go flat. So instead, make yourself a promise you can keep, like “Beginning January 1, 2021, I will get on the elliptical for up to 30 minutes, five days, or more per week. I will allow myself two or more rest days per week without feeling any guilt.”

T: Time-based. Schedule your workouts as if they are important meetings you have throughout the week at work, or with your children, and honor that commitment to your optimal health and wellbeing. Make it easy by setting dates for when you want to accomplish your goals and write them on your calendar. Having that visual reminder will help hold you accountable as you start the new year and start working to engrain these habits into your routine.

Additionally, you can turn your goals into reality by taking advantage of a vision board. Collect pictures of your WHY, cut out images in magazines that inspire you, or find motivation through quotes and other meaningful words, similar to what is posted to OPTAVIA’s Facebook Page, every week. Use these inspirational words to motivate you and post to your board. Once you've captured goals through imagery, you'd be surprised how much clearer your focus and determination will become.

There’s just one more essential step to take in the last few weeks of the year, and that’s connecting with your Independent OPTAVIA Coach BEFORE you set your 2021 goals and put your SMART plan into play!

Join this week’s Habits of Health® Webinar, Evaluating Your Progress and Finishing 2020 Strong, on Wednesday, December 2nd at 8:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. PT, hosted by Independent OPTAVIA® Coach, Joanna Mitchell.

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll):

Or Dial (US Toll):

And Enter the Pin: 113312513#

Does your child’s diet consist solely of butter noodles and chicken nuggets?

If getting your child to eat healthy foods is a struggle in your household, don’t worry. You’re not alone! Many parents worry about the eating habits of their children, especially around the holidays.

Until your child's food preferences mature, consider these tips from Mayo Clinic for preventing mealtime battles:

  • Lead by example. If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.
  • Stick to a routine. With time off from school, it is crucial to continue to serve meals and snacks at the same times each day. If your child chooses not to eat a meal, a regular snack time will offer an opportunity to eat nutritious food.
  • Make healthy cookies. Instead of giving your kids sugar-filled cookies, research healthier protein cookie recipes to make with your kids!
  • Make it fun. Serve broccoli and other veggies with a favorite healthy dip or sauce. Cut foods into various holiday shapes with cookie cutters. Serve a variety of brightly colored foods.
  • Get your child involved. Getting your child invested in the process of picking foods at the grocery store or making a meal is a win-win for everyone involved. Ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods during trips to the store. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse veggies, make the salad, or even set the table.
  • Minimize distractions. Turn off the television and other electronic gadgets during meals to help your child focus on eating.

It’s unlikely that your child's eating habits will change immediately, especially with the holiday excitement, but the small steps you take consistently can help promote a lifetime of healthy eating!

Please feel free to reach out to me, your independent OPTAVIA Coach, for additional tips on dealing with picky eaters during the holiday season.

Yield: 4 servings

Complete Lean & Green Meal: 1 Lean, 3 Green, 1 Healthy Fat, 3 Condiments

Total Time: 60 minutes   


1 medium spaghetti squash

4 tsp olive oil, divided

1 tsp salt, divided

1 tsp pepper, divided

2 tsp minced garlic

1 lb 95–97% lean ground turkey

1, 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes

½ tsp onion powder

1 tsp basil, divided

1 tsp whole leaf oregano, divided

½ cup part-skim ricotta

½ cup 1% cottage cheese

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup shredded, low-fat mozzarella


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Prepare the spaghetti squash. Cut in half, and remove seeds and pulp strands. Rub one teaspoon of olive oil into each squash half and season each with one-quarter teaspoon of salt and pepper. Place each spaghetti squash half face down in large baking dish and bake for 40 to 60 minutes, until the middle is tender and pulls apart easily.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, sauté garlic in remaining olive oil over medium heat until fragrant. Add turkey. Season with one-quarter teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and cook until browned.
  4. Add tomatoes, onion powder, and one-half teaspoon each of basil and oregano. When the sauce starts to bubble, reduce heat to a simmer until thickened (about three to four minutes).
  5. Combine ricotta and cottage cheese in a medium bowl—season with crushed red pepper flakes and remaining basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Lightly mix until combined.
  6. When spaghetti squash is fully cooked, flip in the baking dish so that it is now skin-side down. Lightly scrape the flesh with a fork to create spaghetti-like strands.
  7. Evenly divide ricotta mixture between each squash half. Repeat with meat sauce. Top each half with one-half cup of mozzarella cheese.
  8. Turn oven to broil, and cook for an additional two minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbling. Serve immediately.

Tip: This adds a little heat to it. For less spice, reduce the crushed red pepper.

Per serving: 365 calories, 14g fat, 18g carbohydrate, 44g protein


Visit our OPTAVIA Pinterest page for an extensive assortment library of Lean & Green meals.

New Hope

Nicki had always been healthy, in good shape, and able to shed a few pounds easily if needed. However, once she got older and began raising a family, the pounds started piling on.

"Like most, I tried all the fad diets and exercise programs, but nothing worked. In early 2018 I began having more and more health issues. I was pre-diabetic, had high blood pressure, and daily headaches".

After years of failed diets, Nicki reached out to a woman at her church who had lost a significant amount of weight. “She invited me to a Healthy Habits hour, and I went. While I was skeptical, I clearly had a little hope. I watched for six months to see if she would gain weight again, and finally, my husband told me we needed to invest in my health, as it was continuing to deteriorate."

Nicki has lost more than 100 pounds so far* and has committed her time to help others transform by becoming a Coach.

"While I may have reached my goal weight, this is a life-long process that I am committed to in order to reach optimal health! I am now an active participant in life and cannot wait to see what each new day holds!"

*Average weight loss on the Optimal Weight 5 & 1 Plan® is 12 pounds. Clients are in weight loss, on average, for 12 weeks.


Kathy Glazer
Independent OPTAVIA Coach
3 Washington Circle N. W. #303, Washington,D.C. 20037, Also Falls Church,VA

Visit me on FacebookVisit me on LinkedInVisit me on Instagram
Share this with someone:

© 2021 OPTAVIA, LLC. All Rights Reserved