Improve Your Health with Six Simple Goals
Over the years, one of the most popular New Year's Resolutions has been weight loss, and while achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight is important for your health, make sure your resolution is a lasting one.
This year, make creating and maintaining healthy nutrition and physical activity habits your New Year’s Resolution.
Now, create a list of your healthy nutrition and physical activity goals. Choose goals that are realistic and can be maintained for a lifetime. Post your list somewhere you will see it often – like on the refrigerator or by your desk. And remember, take it one step at a time. You're trying to make lasting change so work toward achieving and maintaining your goals gradually And, if you slip up one day, you can get right back on track the next.
Six nutrition and physical activity goals to consider include:
Goal: Create Healthy Meals At Home
Healthy, balanced eating means including a variety of fresh foods from all food groups: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy.
- ½ of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, ¼ of your plate grains and ¼ of your plate lean protein. Include a serving of low-fat dairy at each meal.
- Do not skip meals.
- Find recipes that are healthy and not too difficult to create. You can start with simple but delicious recipes from the UW Carbone Cancer Center's Nutrition Therapy site.
Goal: Eat Small Portions of "Special Treats" in Moderation
Foods that are higher in calories, sugar, and fat can be included in your diet, but keep the following tips in mind:
- Eat a smaller portion. Choose a mini-size candy bar instead of a full size.
- Create a healthier version. If you love comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, make a healthier version by using ingredients like lower-fat dairy, and less butter. Check out these ideas for substituting fats and sugars in your ingredients
- When enjoying a "special treat," maintain balance by incorporating healthier food and exercise.
Goal: Portion Control
It's important to keep your portion sizes of foods and beverages under control.
- Pay attention to your hunger. Eat slowly and enjoy your meals. Stop eating when you are satisfied.
- Measure out single servings of the foods and beverages you commonly eat. Learning what a single serving looks like will help you control your portions.
- To help keep portions small, use smaller plates, bowls, and cups.
- While eating out, order smaller portions or take home at least half of your meal.
Goal: Increase Fiber Intake
Including more fiber in your diet will help you feel full with less food.
- Include more whole grains or products made from whole grains (oats, barley, wheat, bran, rye, quinoa, brown rice, millet).
- Choose breads and cereals with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
- Include more lentils and beans.
Goal: Choose Healthy Beverages
Many beverage options are high in sugar which adds empty calories to your diet.
- Choose beverages without added sugars like water, low-fat milk, tea and coffee.
- To make water more flavorful, try adding fresh oranges, cucumbers, or mint.
Goal: Increase Physical Activity
Physical activity can help with weight loss and weight maintenance. With hectic schedules, it may feel impossible to make time to go to the gym. Find realistic ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
- Park farther away from your destination and walk.
- Use the stairs rather than the elevator.
- Walk at a faster pace.
- Clean your house or vehicle.
- Go biking, running or walking with family or a friend.
- Instead of emailing or calling a co-worker, walk to their office and chat in person.
- Instead of pushing groceries in a shopping cart to your car, carry groceries in a reusable bag.
- Do 5 minutes of exercise in the morning and evening.
Make 2014 the BEST year yet by improving your health!
These suggestions are not meant to replace talking to your doctor and registered dietitian.