Nutrition-Bites-Small-changes-count-too

Nutrition Bites: Small changes count, too

New Years Resolutions – the notorious promise for self-improvement that gets broken in a week. Most resolutions are lofty goals that require a quick overhaul of everyday life. Here's the good news: Making a few small, manageable changes can make a difference in your health and make your resolution count.

See if one of these resolutions works for you:

1. Make one change each month
Small changes add up to make a big difference. Changing 12 habits, one each month, will create a healthier lifestyle at a pace that is realistic. Try changing from 2% milk to skim milk, cut back on soft drinks, cut down on desserts, or find a healthier snack food.

2. Eat less meat, more plants, and more fish
Less meat – Eating meat everyday may increase cholesterol, and lead to heart disease.
More plants – Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibers, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. These nutrients can help lower cholesterol, decrease the risk of cancer, promote weight loss, and provide the body with many other benefits.
More fish – The USDA recommends eating 2 servings of baked or grilled fish each week. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help prevent heart disease.

3. Commit to cooking at home more often
According to the American Heart Association, one normal restaurant entree contains a total days worth of calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium. Just by cooking at home, meals will most likely have less calories, and be healthier overall.

4. Get creative with social events
Center your social life on activities, not food. Instead of grabbing a bite to eat with friends, try going for a walk, having a potluck, or checking out a class that everyone will enjoy (like painting).

5. Give the gift of health
Help family and friends who make New Years Resolutions by giving a gift to support their mission. Try a new pair of walking shoes, work out clothes, cooking supplies, or a gift card for a fun activity (like renting a kayak or bike).

By Kelsey Shanklin, MS, RD

(Nutrition Bites is a new feature that will appear regularly in the Tulane PRC’s e-newsletters and will cover nutrition and health tips from Kelsey Shanklin, MS, RD. If you have any suggestions for Nutrition Bites topics, please contact Naomi Englar at nking2@tulane.edu or 504-988-7410.)

Topics:   nutrition , diet , obesity , community health , physical activity , health communication

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