New year's resolutions, which are now two months old, often include a goal to get in shape, lose weight, or add some healthier habits to our lifestyle. Even if you've had trouble sticking to your resolutions due to hectic schedules and all the winter weather we've had, it's not too late to get back on track. Here are some tips that might help you.
Be sure to eat breakfast. Whether you have time to sit down for the morning meal, or grab something on the go, nourish your body as you start the day. Include such healthy options as whole-grains, fruit, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and lean protein.
Include a healthy lunch. Bringing your lunch to work is an inexpensive option. Plan ahead and pack leftovers from dinner the night before. Pack some fruit, veggies, or yogurt along with a sandwich made of whole grain bread. If you're going out for lunch, choose a smaller portion or something off the "kid's menu." Or eat half your meal and save the rest for tomorrow's lunch.
Plan for snacks. A handful of nuts, a piece of fruit or some fresh veggies will satisfy mid-afternoon hunger. Nuts are a good source of protein and other important nutrients, and they are high in monounsaturated, or heart-healthy fats. But, they are also high in calories so limit yourself to just a handful. Rather than eating out of the bag, pre-portion them into small, single-serving amounts in zip-lock bags.
Sitting down to dinner brings families together and is important not only for good nutrition, but also for interaction among family members. Take time to discuss the day's activities and plan for the next day.
Find out what is going on in the lives of family members and share successes and accomplishments. Taking time to visit during the meal helps to slow down the eating process and control the amount of food eaten.
To control calories, choose a smaller luncheon or salad plate rather than a larger dinner plate. Plates and silverware have become much larger over the years, and choosing a smaller plate can trick your senses and help you eat less.
A healthy plate should be about half full of fruit, vegetables, or salad.
One third should be grains -- preferably whole grains such as whole-wheat bread and pasta or brown rice. Meat or other protein should cover less than one quarter of the plate.
As you plan your daily schedule, reserve some time for physical activity. Use part of your lunch hour for a walk, or do some strength and flexibility exercises at your desk. Short 10-minute periods of physical activity count toward the 30-minute minimum adults need each day.
The Walk Kansas program might be just what you need to get the physical activity recommended. Registration for the eight-week program ends March 4. Cost is only $6 per person. Teams of six keep track of their daily physical activity and fruits and vegetables eaten. The goal is that each team will accumulate enough physical activity to cover the 423 miles across Kansas during the program. For the program, 15 minutes of walking or other physical activity counts as a mile. Registration information is available in the Extension office on first floor of the courthouse or at www.bourbon.ksu.edu.
At the end of the day, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to get enough sleep.
Many people get less sleep than their bodies need. Inadequate sleep is associated with medical conditions, including heart and lung diseases, high blood pressure, depression, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. People who do not get enough sleep are more likely to experience attention and memory difficulties, daytime sleepiness, lack of energy, and are at higher risk of falling or having a traffic accident.
There are still 10 months left in the year. That's plenty of time to develop some healthy lifestyle habits that can last a lifetime.
Editor's Note: Ann Ludlum is a K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences and 4-H extension agent assigned to Bourbon County. She may be reached at 620-223-3720 or email@example.com.