Many people dread making a New Year Resolution. There are statistics that show only 9.2% of people report actually achieving their resolutions. Many people get easily frustrated with themselves if they don’t fulfill the goals they set, and even if they don’t see immediate results from their efforts.
The type of resolution you make can set you up for failure. Instead, create a purposeful and reachable resolution that gives yourself short and long term achievement while giving yourself some grace along your journey.
Here are some tips on resolutions to avoid and how to set yourself up for success:
- Avoid: Making the general statement, “I want to eat healthier”, but not knowing what that means or how that looks. For success: Review your eating habits, or talk to a Registered Dietitian or your doctor to make a plan. Start slow with one or two habits you can change to move toward a healthier way of eating that will stay for the long term. Examples: Limit soda to one can a day (if you typically have multiple), try adding a fruit or vegetable to each meal, or set a goal to eat three whole grain foods a day.
- Avoid: Having a vague exercise goal. For success: Make a choice of where you can start on a path of daily exercise and work toward a long-term goal. If you currently do not exercise regularly, start slow. Make your first goal to exercise 2-3 times a week and the work up to 5-7 times a week. Start with a small workout first and then add on minutes. Make sure to find something that is fun, and choose a variety of exercises. Go for walks (with a friend or your dog), join a gym, try a free fitness app on your phone, or take up a new sport like golf or swimming. The goal is to get moving and the more you start to feel better, the more you will want to keep going!
- Avoid: Making too many resolutions that you won’t be able to keep. For success: Remember that health is a year-round, long-term journey. Start with small obtainable goals or habits to change and as those become a normal part of life, then you can add more goals.
Remember, if you encounter a setback, don’t stop working toward your goal. Make a fresh start the next day and keep reaching for your goals!
The holidays are a time to enjoy food, friends and family (even if it is over Zoom this year). With the many yummy treats this time of the year, it is no wonder most people gain a few pounds over these holiday months. One way to save some calories is to use recipe alterations to cut down on extra fat and sugar. Remember to balance your food intake and energy output; adding in exercise, like a family walk after dinner, will help keep the extra pounds away.
Here are some healthy holiday alternatives to try this holiday season:
- Choose the white meat over dark meat for a leaner healthier option.
- Use low-fat gravy.
- Make homemade sides instead of store bought or boxed sides.
- Swap the sour cream in your dishes with Greek yogurt. Many holiday dishes have sour cream—mashed potatoes, casseroles and sauces. These can instantly be made healthier by subbing in an equal amount of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt will also add some protein to the dish.
- Make sure to snack on fruits and vegetables rather than candies and desserts.
- Eat a meal before the party so you do not over indulge during the party.
- Enjoy your favorite holiday foods in moderation.
- Mashed potatoes- just know that a cup of mashed potatoes, before butter and gravy, racks up more than 200 calories. Cut calories and empty carbs by making mashed cauliflower instead. They offer same texture and similar flavor, plus vitamin C.
- Sparkling water- Cocktails are usually offered at holiday parties and meals. Try replacing a sugary mixer with sparkling water flavored with fresh grated ginger, mint or fruit. These options can save you about 30 grams of sugar per serving. Don’t forget to drink water in between cocktails.
- Fat. For baked goods, use half the butter, shortening or oil and replace the other half with unsweetened applesauce or prune puree. Ripe mashed bananas and avocados are also excellent butter replacers. Bananas add nutrients like potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6. Avocado puree has the creaminess and subtle flavor that works well to the texture of fudge brownies and dark chocolate flavorings. Use 1 cup of mashed bananas or avocado puree per cup of butter.
- Sugar. Reduce the amount of sugar by one-third to one-half. Instead, add spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg, or flavorings such as vanilla extract or almond flavoring to add sweetness.
- Chocolate cake makes a great choice to sneak in pureed veggies like beets, pumpkin and spinach!
- Whole wheat flour for white flour. In virtually any baked good, replacing white flour with whole wheat can add a whole new dimension of nutrients, flavor, and texture. For every cup of white flour, substitute 7/8 cup of whole-wheat. If buying rolls or bread, look for 100% whole wheat.
- Two egg whites for one whole egg. Trading out the yolk for a second white will cut out the cholesterol while doubling the protein. If making a dish that requires more eggs, keep one to two yolks for their rich vitamins A, E, D, and K content, but consider swapping out the rest.