Photo by Helen Agresti RD

At the beginning of the New Year, many people are eager to try diets that are restrictive and oftentimes, simply a variation of a fad diet from 20 years ago.  Making healthy changes to your eating habits and exercise routine will result in longterm success as long as it does not entail eliminating an essential nutrient or food group.  Don’t let the pressure of New Year’s resolutions ruin your relationship with food. Taking a mindful approach to meals, snacking, and physical activity can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

Here are some tips to help you stick to a healthy lifestyle:

Get Moving!
  Schedule 3-5 days of exercise each week for a minimum of 30 minutes.  If you typically hit a plateau or experience boredom a month or two into the New Year, the next few tips will serve you well.

  1. Add a pilates or yoga class to your mid-week routine.  This will challenge smaller muscle groups while the larger muscle groups are stretched and lengthened.
  2. Try something new.  Whether it’s a personal training session or a spin class, surprise your body and metabolism with a completely different type of workout.
  3. Be accountable.  Pair up with a friend or family member.  Studies have shown that we are more apt to stick to our workout routines if we have a set time and place to meet someone.  Having a workout buddy to lift your spirits on those days you don’t feel like exercising is an essential motivator.

Prepare for the Mid-day Slump.  Pack wisely for those times of the day when your healthy eating habits are challenged (typically between 3 pm and 5 pm).  Have a healthy snack packed for that time of the day when you feel like attacking the nearest vending machine or Fast Food drive-thru.  Cheese and crackers, sugar snap peas and hummus, and lightly salted pistachios are nutritious mid-day snacks that travel well.

Reach for the Fabulous 5.  Eating at least 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables throughout the day will help keep you looking younger and feeling more energized.  The beauty of these colorful superfoods is that they rotate their deliciousness throughout the four seasons.  Take advantage of their power-packed nutrients by spreading five or more servings among breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.  Make this nutrition goal for yourself and your family: try one new fruit or vegetable every week by incorporating it into a meal or snack.

~Healthy Happy Eating and Living!