(BPT) - You're all too familiar with that one, dreaded moment when the festivities end. It hits you every year like a bad hangover. You promise yourself that once the last sip of eggnog has been guzzled and the cookie jar has been emptied, you'll get healthy.
But what does healthy mean? We're bombarded with visions of steel abdominal muscles and gazelle-like limbs. For most people, however, achieving health can't be reduced to a lower health club membership deal or a dieting pill. Rather, the road to health is a lifelong journey encompassing mind, body and spirit.
That said, there are manageable steps you can take in your daily life to experience and sustain a healthier, balanced lifestyle. Popcorn, low in calories and high in fiber, whole grains and antioxidants, can help. One of the oldest and most beloved snacks for any age, popcorn is also a treat to lift the spirit.
"Popcorn is a classic American symbol of families joining together," says Garrett Smith, president of Jolly Time Pop Corn. "We've been a family owned business for nearly 100 years, and as dieting trends go in and out, we've remained true to our wholesome values and wishing our consumers the entire equation: family, fun and moderation."
Earlier this year, Jolly Time Pop Corn conducted a campaign asking fans for advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle in celebration of its new popcorn made with the Smart Balance blend of oils, which contains zero grams of trans fat naturally and no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Here are the most popular tips submitted:
"While it's very important to eat well and exercise, being healthy doesn't have to mean pushing ourselves to physical extremes," says Amy Fischl, a registered dietitian at the University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center. "There are simple, moderate things we can do to engage our mind, body and spirit, and improve overall health."
Start your day with this balanced whole-grain toasted berry granola recipe from Jolly Time Pop Corn that is good for both your body and your soul.
Whole-grain Toasted Berry Granola
Makes about 11 cups
10 cups popped JOLLY TIME Butter Light Microwave Pop Corn made with the Smart Balance unique blend of oils
2 cups barley flakes
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons light olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger or cardamom
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dried blueberries
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a large-rimmed baking sheet with foil. Mix popcorn (remove any unpopped kernels), barley flakes, oat bran and wheat germ in a large bowl. Mix honey, oil, spices, vanilla and salt in a glass measuring cup until well blended. Pour over popcorn mixture; toss to coat. Pour mixture onto baking sheet in an even layer. Bake about 40 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Stir in blueberries and cranberries. Cool completely; store in airtight container.
To learn more about healthy, satisfying snacking with popcorn during the holidays, and to access exclusive recipes and features, visit www.jollytime.com.