Keeping healthy New Year’s resolutions

Making a few simple resolutions can help you on your way to a healthier, more nutritious 2014.

Each year when Jan. 1 rolls around, about one in three Americans make a New Year’s resolution that includes something about healthier living. A study in 2002 showed that about 75 percent of people stick to their resolution for one week, but that number drops below 50 percent within six months. Many times that downturn is due to people making their goals too difficult, and not looking at short term progress. This year, let’s resolve to make realistic goals and stick with them all year.

Here are five goals that Michigan State University Extension recommends to help you on your way to a healthy and nutritious 2014:

  1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends making half of your plate fruits and vegetables, which is about 4.5 cups total a day. Try adding frozen peas or corn to a main dish, or have a fresh salad with dinner. Add more fruit by having an apple as a snack instead of chips.
  2. Learn to read labels. Many people shop to get the most volume for their dollar, but also think about getting the most nutrient value for your dollar. For example, look for cereals that contain whole grains and less sugar. Also look for items that are lower in sodium. Many canned vegetables and soups now come in reduced sodium options.
  3. Cut back (or cut out) sugar sweetened beverages. Some beverages contain 10 or more teaspoons of sugar! It may be difficult at first, but start slowly, eliminating a little at a time. In place of sugary beverages try water with lemon or other citrus, or try a new herbal tea. Cutting the sweetened beverages will help control empty calories and drinking more water will leave your body well hydrated.
  4. Try growing your own food. If you don’t have space or time to manage a whole garden, start with a few small pots on your porch or join a community garden. Tomatoes are easy and produce well. Also try herbs like rosemary and basil that will add flavor to any dish.
  5. Get more physical activity! There are many ways to do this without joining a gym or making unreachable workout goals. Start by taking a walk during your lunch break a few times a week. Consider starting an office walking group, as it’s always easier to get motivated with a group.

For more tips on healthy eating and physical activity visit the MSU Extension website or visit your local MSU Extension office.


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