Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Lindsey Recker

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Nine Nutrition-Related New Year's Resolutions to Set (and Stick To!)

GettyImages-1313903358We are on the brink of a New Year and those looming resolutions start filling our head with what we should do or consider changing.  Keep a positive mindset to not allow resolutions to fall to the wayside in the New Year, allow them to become lifestyle changes.  Know that when you fall short, it's ok to give your self a restart.  Check out these nine nutrition-related New Year's resolutions to not only set, but stick to. 

  1. Maintain or achieve a healthy weight. While this is a common goal for the New
    Year, maintaining or achieving a healthy body weight is essential for reducing
    your risk of many health related complications, including heart disease,
    decreased immunity, diabetes, certain cancers, osteoporosis, and infertility. Learn
    how to assess your weight status here.
  2. Move more. Moving more often and participating in regular exercise can help
    you achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic
    conditions, and even improve your mental health. The CDC suggests working
    your way up to anywhere from 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise to 150
    minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.
  3. Increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Fruits and vegetables are low in
    calories, but high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them an excellent
    snack or side dish! Despite all of their benefits, only 20% of Americans meet their
    daily fruit intake recommendations, while just 10% eat enough vegetables!
    Adults should aim to consume around 1 ½ - 2 cups of fruit and 2 - 2 ½ cups of
    vegetables per day. Visit MyPlate.gov to determine what counts as “1 cup” of
    your favorite fruits and vegetables.
  4. Eat and drink fewer added sugars. Added sugars are sweeteners and syrups
    added to foods during preparation to increase their sweetness. Added sugars
    contribute calories, but offer no other essential nutrients. When consumed in
    excess, it can be difficult to achieve a healthy eating pattern without taking in
    excess calories, which can result in weight gain and obesity, heart disease,
    and/or type 2 diabetes. Added sugars include brown sugar, corn and maple
    syrups, honey, molasses, and raw sugar. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans
    suggest limiting added sugar intake to less than 10% of total daily calories, or
    about 50 grams of added sugars each day for someone consuming about 2,000
    calories per day.
  5. Cut back on your salt (sodium) consumption. Consistently high intakes of salt
    can lead to high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, two of
    the leading causes of death for adults in the US. Despite the American Heart
    Association’s recommendation to consume <2,300 mg of sodium daily, the
    average adult actually consumes closer to 3,400 mg of sodium each day, almost
    150% of what is recommended! Although it is a common misconception to
    believe that salt intake can be controlled by simply removing the salt shaker from
    your table, about 75% of salt intake actually comes from prepared and packaged
    foods, such as pasta sauce, soups, canned foods, and condiments.
  6. Consume less saturated fat. Like salt, excessive consumption of saturated fat
    can affect your LDL, or “bad”, cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart
    disease. Saturated fats are primarily found in animal products, including beef,
    pork, lamb, poultry (especially with skin), eggs, cheese, butter, and other full-fat
    dairy products. They are also found in tropical oils, such as coconut, palm and
    palm kernel oils, and many baked and fried foods. The American Heart
    Association suggests consuming <5-6% of total daily calories from saturated fat.
    For an adult who consumes around 2,000 calories per day, that is around 120
    calories, or about 13 grams of saturated fat each day (9 calories/gram fat).
  7. Cook at home more. In addition to helping you save money, cooking at home
    more often can help you reduce the total amount of calories, fat, and sodium
    consumed at that meal, making it easier to manage your weight and overall
    health.
  8. Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol is associated with various short- and long-term
    risks, such as accidental injury, violence, certain cancers, high blood pressure,
    and mental health issues. Alcohol is also a source of calories and does not offer
    any nutritional benefit. Most professional organizations agree that men should
    limit alcohol intake to <2 beverages per day and women should try to consume
    <1 alcoholic drink per day.
  9. Drink more water. Adequate water intake is essential for maintaining healthy
    digestion, removing wastes from the body, and preventing dehydration. The
    amount of water you should consume is based on many factors including your
    age, body size, and activity level, as well as the climate in which you live. The
    easiest way to determine if you are drinking enough water is to observe the color
    of your urine. If you are consuming enough, your urine should be a pale yellow,
    whereas if you are not, it will likely be a very bright or dark yellow. Speak to your
    physician or registered dietitian/nutritionist to determine your individual fluid
    needs.

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