SMART RESOLUTIONS January 12, 2015 11:43

Orginally published in Lake Highlands Today as part of our Food Forward series.
Well, it’s January so there is no shortage of discussion about New Year’s resolutions – what types of resolutions people make, how fast they break them, and tips for sticking with them.

We’d like to suggest taking another look at those resolutions, especially if you’ve already broken them.

We all tend to be very optimistic at the New Year, choosing lofty goals to rework our lives.  But the best resolutions are those that are practical and sustainable.  The resolution to walk for 20 minutes a day is better than the one to go to the gym for an hour every day… if you stick with the walks all year versus giving up on the gym by February.  In this example, you would be getting a total of 120 hours of exercise walking versus 30 hours in the gym. 

Adding fresh fruit to your breakfast every morning could be better than a goal of eating 7 servings of fruits and vegetables every day… again if you do it all year instead of for a couple weeks…

You can always add on once you’ve mastered the smaller goals, and you get the benefit of whatever small changes you make all year long and hopefully forever.  Studies indicate that the healthiest people are those who maintain good habits (and a healthy body weight) over long periods of time, rather than fluctuating back and forth.

From a food perspective (our favorite topic), here are some ideas for reasonable goals for 2015:

  • Cook one entire healthy meal each week – including at least 2 servings of vegetables and 1 of whole grains.  Bonus for cooking extra so you can eat it for lunch the next day.
  • Eat fruit instead of dessert 6 out of 7 days a week.
  • Replace your current breakfast with one that’s made up of whole grains (like oatmeal) and fruit.  Or drink a smoothie with leafy greens mixed in (if you add a frozen banana, you will not even taste the greens).
  • Replace creamy salad dressings with lemon juice and spices.  Lemon juice and tahini make a great dressing.  Replace the cheese on your salads with nuts or seeds.
  • Take your lunch to work 4 days per week and eat out 1 day.  
  • And of course, we would love to see more people participating in Meatless Monday which is a great way to explore healthy eating options without making a huge commitment or change.

And of course, Nature’s Plate is an option for supplying healthy, fresh plant-based meals if that’s on your list!

Happy, Healthy New Year!