December 30, 2019 - 4:16pm --

The tradition of making New Year Resolutions is a great chance to think about healthy changes you can make in your life. Even the smallest change can make a big difference in your health. For example, just 15 minutes of light physical activity every day can add 3 years to your expected lifespan (Source: Harvard Health). Here are some ideas of healthy habits you and your family could try in the New Year:

1. Have one meatless dinner a week.

Plant based proteins such as beans are lower in cost than meat and are a great source of fiber, which is good for heart health.

2. Go on a 20 minute walk after dinner, 3 times a week.

Walking a pathIt is recommended that adults get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity 5 times a week. This may sound overwhelming if you do not exercise now. Any bit of exercise you can manage in your schedule is good for your health, and is a step towards reaching the recommended amount.

3. Drink two bottles of water a day.

Water is the healthiest choice of drink for our bodies. It helps everything from our brain to our muscles function. If you do not have a reusable water bottle, wash out a plastic one when you are done with it and look for public water fountains to fill it up throughout the day. Don’t like the plain taste of water? Try adding fruit to it for a natural sweetness.

This Celebrate Your Plate recipe has a few suggestions of fruit combinations to try:

4. Limit dessert to three times a week.

It’s okay to treat yourself sometimes, but having a high-sugar, high-fat dessert most nights can lead to weight gain and chronic disease. Try substituting a traditional dessert for naturally sweet fruits such as strawberries on top of yogurt, frozen grapes, or canned peaches in 100% juice.

5. Try a new vegetable twice a month.

Veggie BasketVegetables vary greatly when it comes to shape, flavor, and color. Different colored vegetables serve different purposes in our body. For example, dark green vegetables are good for our teeth. Orange vegetables are good for our eyes. By having a variety of vegetables you will increase the amount of nutrients you get.

Many small changes will add up to create an overall healthy lifestyle. Any step in the right direction is one to be proud of! Have a joyous holiday season and kick off 2020 on a healthy note!

By Nina Hoffmeyer