The New Year is here and many of us are making grand plans to overhaul our food and fitness regimes.
But if sweeping resolutions haven’t lasted in the past, consider making gradual changes that are enjoyable and easy-to-keep. Try the 10 tweaks below.
- Breakfast on a whole new whole grain. Eating whole grains may help you stay healthy and manage your weight. Oatmeal is hot for breakfast, but other whole grains make terrific hot cereals, too. Try cooked brown rice, barley or triticale topped with fruit and fat-free milk.
- Get in the pink with grapefruit. Ruby-red grapefruit is bursting with vitamin C and a natural source of lycopene, which provides its beautiful color. Grapefruit is great for breakfast and yummy in this winter salad: toss grapefruit sections, avocado slices and slivered almonds with light vinaigrette dressing.
- Dance your way to fitness. Health experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week for adults (e.g., 30 minutes five days a week). Dancing counts! Take a class (tap dancing anyone?) or do a zumba, hip hop or salsa-aerobics DVD at home.
- Lunch and burn. Is it hard to squeeze exercise into your day? If so, look at lunchtime. Take an “express” class at your club or workplace—or just take a walk.
- Turn up the volume of your veggies. Many people fall short in the vegetable department. Up your intake with these tricks: Drink low-sodium vegetable juice at breakfast, add layers of baby spinach and sliced tomato to your sandwich at lunch, and enjoy a double helping of carrots or green beans at dinner. Easy, right?
- Go to the core. The popular fitness program, pilates (puh-lah-teez), helps sculpt the body and strengthen the core (torso). The movements are precise and controlled so start with a beginning class taught by a certified instructor. (Get the okay from your doctor first, especially if you have a medical condition).
- Power up with protein. Emerging research suggests that eating high-quality protein helps build healthy muscles and helps you feel fuller longer, which is great for weight management. Choose lean beef and pork, skinless poultry, eggs and low fat dairy products.
- Consider collards and kale. If you’re not familiar with these tasty, nutrition-packed greens, give them a try. They’re packed with vitamins A and C, and—surprise!—they’re a good source of calcium, too. Cut them in ribbons and sauté in olive oil with minced garlic and red pepper flakes.
- Assess what you sip. It’s easy to forget about the calories in flavored coffee and tea beverages, juice drinks and soft drinks. Replacing them with no-calorie or lower-calorie options is an easy way to trim pounds. Try coffee with fat-free half-and-half and a dash of cinnamon, flavorful herbal tea, a diet soft drink, or good old zero-calorie water.
- Hit the hay a half-hour earlier. What does sleep have to do with fitness? Plenty! First, you need enough ZZZs to feel energetic enough to exercise. And not sleeping enough may cause hormonal changes that trigger overeating. If you’re short on sleep, start closing the gap by turning in a half-hour earlier each night.