Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a  Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location. The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. E-mail her at

We are about to turn the corner on the most food-obsessed time of the year and many of us are heading straight for diet season. If you are among the many New Year’s resolution dieters, you may be tempted to spend your money on the newest diet book, food supplement, diet pill or special food plan.

The promotion of nutrition misinformation has become a multi-billion dollar business: Americans spend more than $30 billion in the weight loss industry every year on diet plans and gimmicks that don’t work. Because there are virtually no laws to regulate the diet craze, most of these items only create false hope and slim the wallets (not bodies) of the people who use them.

The best advice: Aim for a healthier you – the trimmer you will come. Set goals based on behavior changes such as increasing your fruit and vegetable intake, or exercising three days per week.  Cut yourself some slack. One of the biggest mistakes that dieters make is having the “all or nothing” attitude. If you stray from your healthy eating plan, don’t give up. It takes a long time for changes to become habits. Each meal is an opportunity to make better choices. Keep a food diary and be honest with yourself. A food diary will provide you with important information of the type of changes you need to make. Making small changes every day will add up to big changes on the scale in the long run.  If you have a hard time doing it on your own, seek the advice of a nutrition expert, a Registered Dietitian.

Start your New Year off right with a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal.

Almond applesauce oatmeal

Serves 5

All you need:

3 1/2 c. uncooked old-fashioned oats, divided

1/2 c. sliced almonds

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 c. brown sugar

5 3/4 c. water

5 containers (4 oz. each) snack-size applesauce cups

All you do:

1. For topping, combine 1/2 c. oats, almonds, cinnamon and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Mix well.

2. For oatmeal, bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in 3 c. oats.

3. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Spoon oatmeal into 5 cereal bowls.

5. Stir 1 applesauce cup into each bowl of oatmeal.

6. Sprinkle topping over oatmeal.

Daily nutritional values:

0 percent  vitamin A, 0 percent  vitamin C, 8 percent  calcium, 15 percent  iron

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories: 340, Carbohydrate: 7 g, Cholesterol: 0, Fat: 9 g, Sodium: 15 mg, Sodium: 59 g, Sugar: 10 g