Nutrition Articles

A Year of Healthy Food and Fitness Resolutions
Do you resolve each January to eat right and get fit? Are those resolutions just faded memories by February?

If so, the problem might lie with the resolutions themselves. Instead of vowing to make sweeping changes or setting vague goals, opt to adopt one small, specific habit each month.

Just think–at this time next year, you'll be a dozen steps closer to a healthier you!

January: Break for breakfast. Research suggests that eating breakfast may improve memory, attention and focus–and even help you maintain a healthy weight. For a super–fast breakfast, try cereal, fruit and fat–free milk, whole–grain toast with peanut butter and banana slices, or fat-free yogurt mixed with high-fiber cereal and dried cherries.

February: Strap on a step counter. Wearing a step counter (pedometer) on your waistband can motivate you to move more. Health experts recommend getting 10,000 steps a day–that's about five miles. If you fall short, gradually increase your daily steps. Some ideas: take a walk at lunch, park far from the store entrance, and use the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.

March: Go fishing twice a week. Health experts recommend eating at least two servings of fish weekly, preferably fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, herring and lake trout. These types contain higher amounts of omega–3 fatty acids, which may offer protection from heart disease.

April: Get the benefits of stretching. Stretching helps reduce muscle tension, increase blood circulation, improve muscle coordination and increase range of movement. Gently stretch your arms, legs, neck and back for 10 minutes daily. If you need advice on safe stretching, ask your health care provider or fitness professional.

May: Add an extra fruit or veggie. Most people don't eat enough fruits and vegetables, but adding even one serving a day is a healthy step forward. Slice a banana over cereal, snack on an apple or carrot sticks, or enjoy a spinach salad.

June: Shake up your fitness routine. Keep your workout fresh by adding a new activity to the mix. Try tai chi, swim a few laps or take a hike. Varying your routine works different body parts, too.

July: Slash salt. Sodium (found in salt and some ingredients) raises blood pressure in some people. Instead of salting, season foods with herbs and spices, lemon juice, and herb vinegars. At the table, taste foods before adding salt—they might need less than you think—or none at all.

August: Get fit with a friend. Research shows that people with exercise buddies are more likely to stick to their program. Find a like–minded friend and schedule regular walks or bike rides, or attend fitness classes together.

September: Plan smart snacks. Stock up on nutritious easy–to-grab options such as fruit, cut-up veggies, fat–free yogurt, reduced-fat cheese, whole–grain crackers and nuts.

October: Get your fill of fiber. Fiber helps promote regularity and heart health. Breakfast on oatmeal or bran flakes, make sandwiches on whole–wheat bread, sip some bean soup, and eat a bounty of fruits and veggies.

November: Plan for parties. Eat a small snack beforehand to lessen hunger and help you stay in control. A piece of fruit or some fat–free yogurt will do. Bring a fruit or veggie tray to make sure there's at least one lower-calorie option.

December: Counteract extra holiday calories. Add more walking to your day. At the mall, park in the furthest spot and make several trips to your car to drop off purchases. Schedule at least one extra workout each week.