We made it past a long holiday season with cocktail parties, neighborhood gatherings, and large feasts. Now that New Year has arrived and hangovers have subsided, we take a look at the often-dreaded resolutions. For most Americans our resolution list includes dieting or eating better. Unfortunately, most resolutions don’t even make it until February. With a few adjustments to your resolution it can become a long-term goal that can be achieved!
Make a Plan
Experts say starting the New Year off with your goals written down gives you a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Print you goals out for your fridge, office–anywhere you see them often. Making a strict statement like, “I will not eat white carbohydrates in 2013” can set you up for disappointment. Instead, think of small steps to get you there. We are human, so it is important to allow yourself a little wiggle room! Try not to not deny your “forbidden” food while eating at a fancy restaurant or celebrating a birthday. Having a plan for when a slip-up happens will help you remember next time you are tempted, like “I had a cupcake last night so an extra fifteen minutes on the treadmill today!” Simple things like looking at menus on-line before you go to restaurants, or bringing food to a party are good ways to stay on track. Keep in mind that there probably will be slip-ups, and that is okay. Not being too hard on yourself will help you bounce back better than dwelling on it. And sometimes a cupcake is worth it!
Stick to the Basics
There is no magic formula to weight-loss or healthy living. It is the same song we hear from personal trainers, doctors, and, friends: diet and exercise. The average adult dining plate should be half fruits and vegetables, the other half should be filled with grains and lean protein. And don’t forget the fifth food group, dairy! Add a diary serving with a slice of cheese, a serving of yogurt, or a dollop of sour cream. Seems easy enough, right? Where most Americans go wrong is over indulging on fatty meats, like cheeseburgers, instead of lean proteins, like chicken breasts or salmon. We also tend to choose complex carbohydrates like pasta or French fries over whole grains like quinoa, and brown rice.
When building your meals think of a rainbow of colors to fill the vegetable portion– Dark greens such as spinach and broccoli, yellow bell peppers, red tomatoes, orange carrots, and purple cabbage. Choosing a variety of vegetables, preferably those in season, helps boost nutrition and helps keep your plate interesting. Fresh fruit is best, but frozen fruits and 100% fruit juice count too! When is come to grains, try sticking to whole, un-refined grains like wheat pasta, oatmeal, and brown rice. These are higher in nutrients as they include the entire grain, which is also a plus for extra fiber. Proteins should be lean cuts of pork, beef, or chicken and could also be any variety for fresh fish. For vegetarians, beans, or tofu work well. As for dairy, add low-fat cheeses, milk, and yogurt to your diet when you can. Dairy is a great snack option because dairy is high in protein, which keeps you full for longer.
Stick to these eating basics along with at least thirty to sixty minutes of exercise five days a week, and you are on the road to your making your New Years resolution last twelve months and beyond!
Here is to happy & healthy New Year!