By Zile Jones, Keene State College Dietetic Intern
It’s that time of year again. The season to spend time with family, eat wonderful food and snuggle by the fireplace. It is also the time that many may realize their diet or activity level could use some changes.
What often follows the holiday season is the adoption of an unattainable New Year’s goal that is quickly dropped. The intentions are good, but a realistic goal is necessary to make sure that it is followed through.
Simply choosing “lose weight” or “exercise more” is so general and lofty that it can be difficult to adhere to. Do the New Year’s resolution right for 2016 and pick a specific goal that will help increase your health.
Here are some specific, attainable goals you might want to resolve to do in 2016:
- Add a fruit or vegetable into your day.
Americans are only getting about half of what they should be for fruits and vegetables. You should pay more attention to how many you are getting because just five servings of fruits and vegetables daily equal a 29-39 percent reduced risk of death. To reap the benefits and keep it attainable add one in every day.
- Switch out refined bread products for whole grains.
Swapping just one serving a day can help reduce the risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity and more. Replace white pasta, bread and crackers with the whole grain version. Use this opportunity to try out quinoa, wild rice and millet — which all count as whole grains.
- Incorporate an extra hour of exercise into your week.
As a nation, we are not moving enough. Exercise often comes last on our to-do lists and will end up getting missed. To keep this goal realistic add an hour into your week. That could be two 30 minutes YouTube fitness videos, or a few walks spaced out during the week. Do whatever works for you, just be sure to move!
- Get 15 more minutes of sleep a night.
Sleep plays an important role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Sleep deficiency has been linked with heart disease and it increases the risk of obesity. It is recommended that adults get seven to eight hours a sleep per night. If you are far off from that, make small changes to work toward it by making sure you are in bed 15 minutes earlier than you were the night before.
- Drink at least eight cups of water per day.
Water makes up 60 percent of our bodies. Drinking enough water is important to keep our basic bodily functions running smoothly. Be sure to drink water rather than sweetened beverages that could add excess calories into your diet.[Tweet “Don’t drink your calories! #2016resolutions #HM2020”]