It’s hard to ignore the refreshing feeling a new year brings. It’s a chance to re-evaluate your life and think about where you might like to make changes. Statistics show that most resolutions don’t work, so we’re going dive into noteworthy goals for the new year. If you’re already a pro at setting goals (thanks to SparkPeople), then these nine ideas will help you kick start the year to higher health. Choose to focus on one, some or all nine throughout the year.|
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Research shows that increasing the number of fruits and veggies you eat, especially above the touted 5-a-day, decreases your risk of health ailments like high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This year, resolve to up your intake of produce to bring your disease risk down. More fruits and veggies mean more fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, plus more flavor and color added to your meals. Remember, when you’re adding more fruits and veggies to your diet, you can choose from fresh, frozen, canned, or dried varieties—just remember to buy packaged items without added sugar, oil or salt.
Get started: Aim for 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.Eat More Healthy Fats
It’s becoming better known (thankfully!) that the average American needs more Omega-3s, and that we should be consuming more heart-healthy unsaturated fat and less saturated fat. We've learned that unsaturated fats decrease inflammation in our bodies, which is linked to lower disease risk and better disease management. So what are you waiting for?
Get Started: Aim for at least 26 grams of healthy fat each day.Pump Up Your Protein in the Morning
Our busy schedules mean we consume most of our protein in the latter half of the day. But protein keeps us full and energized, and our bodies constantly use this cell-building substance. Studies show that people who balance their protein distribution throughout the day are more successful at maintaining a healthy weight.
Get Started: Eat at least 15 grams of protein at breakfast.Experiment with Different Types of Grains
Americans eat more wheat than any other grain. Sure, whole wheat is high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and it’s a great way to energize yourself, but other grains have much to offer in way of nutrition, too. Why not try some new types of whole grain this year?
Get Started: Cook a new type of whole grain each month.Improve Your Culinary Skills
Some bare-bones cooking skills are required to live a healthy lifestyle. If you rely on convenience foods and restaurants too much, you will not only likely over-consume calories, but you would also be spending far too much money on food. This year, look for ways you can improve your cooking skills to make healthy eating more fun!
Get Started: Create a new recipe each week.Design a Health-Encouraging Kitchen
Who wants to cook in a dirty, cluttered or disorganized kitchen? Cleaning up your food prep and storage areas is a great way to promote healthy eating. When healthy foods are accessible and easy to create, you're more likely to consume them.
Get Started: Make time for a kitchen makeover.Spice Up Your Diet
When you're trying to eat healthier, taking out fat and salt to save calories and sodium may leave you with tasteless, boring food. But you can add flavor and color back to your recipes (without all the calories) by adding the right amount of herbs and spices. Unless you're a trained chef, knowing how much of what kind of spice to add may take some guessing and checking, but by following new recipes and experimenting in your kitchen, you'll find your way through the world of spices.
Get Started: Cook with one new spice each week.Eat More Meals at Home
No doubt about it: Home-cooked meals are tough to implement. With planning and practice, making more meals in your kitchen and enjoying them at your dinner table can help you reach several goals: eating healthier, cutting calories, saving money, and increasing family time.
Get Started: Aim to eat dinner at home at least 4 nights per week.Eat More Meatless Meals
Vegetarian meals can be higher in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and lower in calories, fat and saturated fat. Often, they're cheaper, too! Many nutrition experts agree that our health would benefit if we took an “old-fashioned” approach to eating, where meat acts as more of a side dish instead of the main event on our plates. Why not try it?
Get Started: Go meatless one day per week.There you have it! Nine worthwhile nutrition goals that focus on eating MORE, not less. How's that for a nice change for the new year?