What’s Your New Year Resolution?

by Karen Bakies RD LD FAND

The most common New Year’s Resolutions every year are to quit smoking, improve finances, eat healthy food, spend more time with family and friends, and lose weight. Food, nutrition and physical activity continues to top the list!

Just as suggestions are made about how to survive the holidays without over indulging, many of the same strategies apply all year long.

Eat Healthy Food – Focus on nutrient rich foods: 1) Brightly colored fruits and 100% fruit juice 2) Vibrant-colored vegetables 3) Whole, fiber-rich grains 4) Fat-free and lowfat milk, cheese and yogurt 5) Lean meats, skinless poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts. MyPlate is a great visual to illustrate meal by meal what your plate should look like.

Ask yourself does my plate look like this? What’s in my glass at meal time? Are there food groups commonly missing? Which ones? Print a copy of MyPlate and put it on your refrigerator as a reminder when packing lunches, preparing dinner, grabbing a snack. You can also find a variety of resources including sample menus and recipes, healthy eating on a budget and daily food plans. When stocking your kitchen, make the healthy choice the easy choice: fruit on the counter, yogurt in the refrigerator, whole grain cereal in the pantry – you get the idea!

Move More – Daily life activities count as physical activities! Chores around the house, climbing stairs, washing the car, yard work and walking the dog are just some good examples. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended that children and adolescents (ages 6-17) get 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily and adults (ages 18-64) should do at least 150 to 350 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week.

From active play to a routine exercise regimens, the bottom line is to turn off the screens and move more every day. Choose the activity you like to do and you will begin to look forward to this part of your day. And an added bonus — some of the benefits you might find with regular exercise include sleeping better, more energy, increased strength and endurance. Remember to always check with your doctor first before beginning an exercise program.

Lose Weight – According to the Weight-Control Information Network, there are many ways to lose weight, but the challenge is often keeping the weight off. The key to successful weight loss is making changes in your eating and physical activity habits that you can keep up for the rest of your life, not just temporarily. A good place to start is the Daily Food Plan at www.choosemyplate.gov — it includes calorie and food group guides.

Successful weight loss generally comes from starting your day with breakfast, daily physical activity and watching your portion sizes. When it comes to portion sizes, ask your self do I have 8 ounce glasses, 9-10 inch dinner plates and 1/2 – 1 cup size bowls in my cupboards? Our portion sizes tend to grow with the size of our plates, glasses and bowls. Remember that the weight did not appear overnight, so it won’t disappear overnight either. Slow gradual weight loss as you learn new habits is key!

Mark the start of a new year with new routines that carry over into the next year and beyond. Happy New Year!

Karen Bakies RD LD FAND

Karen is a registered dietitian and is the Nutrition Affairs Director for the American Dairy Association Mideast. A scientist at heart, she seeks out quality nutrition research to share with others in a profession she is passionate about. Karen is a mother of three and enjoys cooking, gardening, running and traveling.

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