Happy New Year! Make this your year for improved self care through nutrition and increased activity. Wondering where to start? Here are some “rules of the road” and inspiration to help you on your journey to better health.
- Set realistic goals that are challenging yet reachable.
- Focus on one meal/snack and one activity at a time.
- Realize it’s not about perfect. It’s about progress.
Visit choosemyplate.gov for information on serving sizes and the wonderful variety available within each food group.
Want to know something? There are no “wrong” choices (unless you are truly allergic or have a medical condition that impacts what you choose).
Try these tips to get yourself prepared for balanced eating that is delicious and budget friendly.
- Stock the pantry, freezer and fridge to save time when things get busy. Fresh dried, canned, and frozen. Yes, some of these forms may have a little more sodium, calories, and/or fat. Use the Nutrition Facts Label to pair one thing that is higher in these with another thing that is lower. Each meal and snack (and day) can be balanced out to accommodate all your choices. Be intentional and accurate with your pairings, and it can be smooth sailing. There are loads of benefits to this. You’ll be ready, even if trips to the store are infrequent. These items are recipe-ready, too. For example – canned items are pre-sliced and pre-cooked, so work great in casseroles and salads. Simply drain, rinse, and mix in with the other yummy ingredients. The drain/rinse step helps to remove some excess sodium, too. Like their canned buddies, frozen foods save prep time and … bonus … no waste! With frozen, you can also buy in bulk and serve/cook just what you need. The rest can wait for you in the freezer until you are ready for the next meal. Dried fruits are wonderful in baked goods so you can slide a fruit serving into desserts in a naturally sweet and nutritious way. I could go on…
- Prep your fresh. Stock up with fresh favorites when they are on sale. Pre-cut/portion out and freeze extra/cook ahead. Taking these steps ensure that no matter what the week may bring, balanced meals on a budget are always within reach. Read labels to know what each choice provides and to help determine what to serve with each choice.
- Wash and eat, slice or pour and enjoy! Even if you don’t know how to cook, some foods are super easy to prepare. With fruits and veggies, it’s really as easy as washing and enjoying. Dairy is a source of protein that you can pour (milk), slice (cheese), or spoon (yogurt). How great is that?
- Get going! Remember to check with the doctor before beginning any new exercise program or making dietary changes. To make it easier to incorporate into your daily routine, enjoy the activity you choose. The good news is, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), burning 150 calories can be as easy as washing floors or windows for 45 – 60 minutes, and ballroom dancing counts as “moderate activity”!
As we close the chapter on the last year and begin the next one, let’s make the choices that will bring us closer to the outcomes we are hoping for.
How will you do you this year?