We all know New Year’s resolutions are much easier to make than they are to keep, but keeping them doesn’t have to be hard if you have a plan.
Here are 10 ways to get healthy in 2013. If you had to choose a top New Year’s resolution from this list, which one would it be?
1. Achieve a Healthy Weight.
We all know that dieting fails in the long run. Restricting yourself from certain foods or drastically reducing your caloric intake may not satisfy you, leaving you feeling frustrated. Meal balancing is the key to healthy eating and to keeping you on track. You need the right combination of foods: adequate protein, whole grain starch, and colourful fruits & vegetables. If you are looking to shed some pounds to improve your health and feel great, read Managing Your Weight to find tips that could work for you.
Here are some of my personal recipe picks for weight management:
Skillet Chicken with Balsamic Green
Chicken and Cranberry Wild Rice Casserole
2. Incorporate more fibre into my diet.
There are many health benefits to getting more fibre in your diet, including reducing your risk for high cholesterol and certain types of cancer. Fibre will also keep you fuller for longer, so you won’t be as tempted to snack on sugary foods. A great way to incorporate more fibre into your diet is with whole grains. If a recipe calls for white rice, substitute brown. Use whole grain bread instead of white when making sandwiches, and omit the butter and mayonnaise, or use their lighter versions sparingly. Curious to know how much fibre you should be getting daily for health benefits? Click here to read Fibre Up for Heart Health.
Here are some higher fibre recipe suggestions:
Indian Seasoned Roast Chicken with Lentil Brown Rice Pilaf
Cassoulet of Chicken with Mixed Beans
3. Reduce my sodium intake.
Did you know that the average Canadian consumes over 3,000 mg of sodium per day? That’s over double the amount recommended by Health Canada. Too much sodium in our diet can lead to high blood pressure, which is a significant risk factor for stroke, heart attack and kidney disease. Making simple lifestyle changes and reducing your daily intake of sodium can help significantly reduce high blood pressure and related health problems. One tip to reduce sodium in your diet is to read the “Nutrition Facts” panel found on most packaged foods. Try to choose foods with less than 200 mg of sodium. If you choose a food higher in sodium, make sure your total meal contains no more than 800 mg of sodium. If you want to find more tips to reduce your daily intake of sodium, read Protect Your health – Get Salt Savvy!.
Here are some lower sodium recipes suggestions:
Chicken in Apple Mustard Sauce
Chipotle Marmalade Chicken with Quinoa
4. Become more physically active.
Maintaining an exercise routine helps women reduce their risk profile for a variety of diseases including heart disease, osteoporosis, certain types of cancer, diabetes and hypertension; it can also help alleviate arthritis, improve balance, symptoms of depressions and help you sleep well. It’s never too late to start an exercise routine. Do you prefer structured or unstructured activities? Find out what’s best for you by linking to Chicken Farmers of Canada’s Health Portal. Whatever you decide for 2013, try to achieve at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 times a week. Walking is an inexpensive and easy way to work out. Get a well-fitting pair of shoes and a pedometer; your goal is 10,000 steps per day.
5. Manage Stress Better.
Women, especially mothers, are often asked to help as volunteers, whether the task is to raise money for a local charity, supervise children on a field trip or organize a community event. While these activities can be fulfilling, they can also tax our schedules and take time away from activities that keep us healthy. Stress reducing tip: Learn to say NO. Keep your daily goals well-focused, task oriented, and REALISTIC. Nothing can help you manage stress better than making time to take care of yourself.
6. Make more time to enjoy meal time.
Between household chores, running errands and looking after our little ones, healthy dinners often take a back seat. Yet, family meals are so important, offering a time for sharing stories, learning manners and eating nutritious foods. For me, the answer to this challenge revolves around my slow cooker – the best invention ever for busy moms. Find out why one momstown mom simply loves her slow cooker, and try one of momstown’s Top 10 Slow Cooker Recipes. These delicious dishes will help get you relaxed during the week and enjoying meal time with your family.
7. Get more sleep.
Ah, sleep. Moms get so little of it. Research suggests, however, that getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis is beneficial to our health. It can help us feel alert, minimize stress, keep our hearts healthy, boost our immunity and reduce our risk for unwanted weight gain. Need a few ideas to get a better night’s rest? Read Healthy Living for Women – It’s In Your Hands.
8. Keep a food journal to monitor my eating habits.
Snacking is on the rise with structured meals on the decline, and eating together as a family is becoming less common. Did you know that our daily snacking habits can add up to 24 % of the day’s calories – as many as a full lunch should be! You can keep track of the foods and beverages you eat to better meet Canada’s Food Guide recommendations for a balanced diet. Download these weekly food and snack and beverage journals to help you get started. If you are looking for healthier snack ideas, read Snack Attack! Keep it Healthy.
9. Eat a well-balanced diet that is good for my heart and overall well-being.
Millions of Canadians are at risk of developing heart disease, which could be prevented by making a few simple lifestyle changes. Read Love That Healthy Heart to find out how you can reduce your cholesterol level to achieve good cardiovascular health.
10. Spend more “active” time with the kids.
It’s the holidays - thank goodness! What activities have you planned with your kids? It can be tempting to sit back, relax, and watch all of your favourite holiday programs as a family. Sounds like a great idea, right? Sure. However, did you know if children sit in front of a screen during leisure time for more than 21 hours a week, then there is a significant increase in their chance of gaining weight. For health benefits, children and youth should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity on most days. Read Screen or Scream for some ideas on how to balance sedentary time with physical activities this holiday season.
Well, what do you think? Which resolution would you pick, if you could only choose one? If you already focus on keeping healthy – keep up the good work! The promise of a new year is the perfect time to assess your health habits, and determine what works best for you!
Enjoy the season!
Yours in health,
Gail Lush, Guest Health Blogger, Chicken Farmers of Canada
I am pleased to introduce myself to you as a guest health blogger from Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC). This position happens to be the best job in the world for me, as I am passionate about nutrition and love being engaged in conversations with Canadians about food and health. When I’m not researching or writing, I'm a mom of 3 and in my children’s eyes, cook extraordinaire and superhero. I think it’s cute that my children see me this way. While most moms will not view themselves as superheroes, we know and do a lot! As women we know, for example, that the path to improving our own health is not solely based upon medical treatment, screenings, or the knowledge that we are disease free. Taking steps to be healthy also requires a holistic approach that suits our lifestyle and personal needs. With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, it is the perfect time to start thinking about our health.