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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Simple Resolutions for a Healthier 2012!

Nan Jensen, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Pinellas County Extension

The new year is almost here and you may be starting to think about what resolutions to make in 2012. Here are some easy ideas to help you have a healthier year. 

Resolution #1: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables 
Let vegetables and fruits take up half the space on your dinner plate. Fruits and vegetables deliver healthy phytochemicals and essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, they fill you up on fewer calories than other foods. Check out the winners of the fruit and vegetable challenge for some creative ideas on how to include more fruits and vegetables on your plate. 

Resolution #2: Make water your beverage of choice 
Sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, lemonade or iced tea, are one of the top five foods that can add the pounds. Choosing water instead of calorie-laden beverages is a smart and easy way to reduce your overall calorie intake. Eliminating a 12-oz. can of soda a day can lead to a 12 to 18 lb. loss over the course of a year. 

Resolution #3: Try some new whole grains 
Making a switch from refined grains to whole grains can give your health a big boost. Whole grains are great sources of healthy carbohydrates, fiber, along with vitamins and minerals. People who eat plenty of whole grains tend to be leaner and have a lower risk of heart disease than those who don’t. Try some new grains like wild rice, quinoa and barley. Here is more information on whole grains and lots of delicious recipes.

Resolution #4: Add flavor to your food with herbs, spices and other flavorings 
Many people add salt to flavor their food. Too much salt is linked to high blood pressure. The daily recommended limit is 2,300 milligrams—the amount in just 1 teaspoon of salt. Most of us consume more than twice that amount. To help you get the sodium out, start with fresh ingredients and experiment with new flavorings. Lemon, lime juice, vinegar or other acidic flavors can help bring out the savoriness of food. Sprinkling fresh grated lemon zest, chopped fresh or dried herbs, garlic or shallots can add an abundance of flavor. For ideas on using fresh herbs and spices, take a look at these publications. 
Cooking with Fresh Herbs
Add a Little Spice (& Herbs) to Your Life!


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