Living Well

New year, new healthy habits

Charlotte Werhan, RD, LDN
New year, new healthy habits

Now that the holidays are over, I bet you are wondering what you can do for your New Year’s resolution? How about making your health a priority? Focus on one change at a time to create a healthier lifestyle. Children's Hospital New Orleans registered dietitian, Charlotte Werhan has tips for starting the new year on the right foot. 

  1. Eat your whole grains

Whole grains are an important source of fiber, B-Vitamins, and minerals. They have been shown to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer. Some ways to include more whole grains include eating a warm bowl of oatmeal in the morning. Oatmeal doesn’t have to be boring. My favorite add ins are banana slices and peanut butter with a sprinkle of cinnamon. If you are tight on time in the mornings, you can do overnight oats. For lunch, you can have a sandwich on whole wheat bread or a whole wheat wrap. For a snack, try whole grain crackers such as Triscuits or Wheat Thins with sliced cheese or a small bag of popcorn. For dinner, try using whole wheat pasta or brown rice. The goal is to make half your grains whole.

  1. Move more

The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity each week or 75 minutes vigorous activity. Consider setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier 3 days per week during the work week and including 30 minutes each day on the weekends. Moderate activities include walking, biking on flat surfaces, roller blading, water aerobics, and playing doubles tennis. Vigorous activities include running, spinning, playing basketball/soccer, swimming laps, and singles tennis. If you are just too busy for 30 minutes some days/weeks, you can try 3 -10 minute bouts of walking throughout the day or take the star. Remember the goal is to create a more active lifestyle.

  1. Eat more fruits and veggies

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends filling half your plate with fruits/vegetables. Here are some tips to try: Add fruit to oatmeal or whole grain waffles in the morning, have a side salad with lunch and/or add avocado slices to your sandwich, and try cooking a new vegetable to serve with dinner. Snack on yogurt topped with berries or hummus with carrots/ cucumbers/peppers

  1. Drink more water

Water is important for your overall health. Way to drink more water include drinking a glass of water upon waking up, carrying a water bottle with you and refilling between meals, drink water with meals, choose water over sweetened beverages, and choose water when dining out

  1. Cook more often, eat out less

I know that we are all busy so it may just seem easier to just pick up fast food or order out. The best tip for cooking more often is to meal prep over the weekend. On a Sunday afternoon, we often bake a big bunch of sweet potatoes/ potatoes or cook a few cups of rice/brown rice for a side dish, then grill up some meats such as chicken, turkey burgers, and fish. We eat on it throughout the week along with a microwavable bag of vegetables to complete the meal.

Remember it’s fine to make one change at a time so that it doesn’t seem so daunting. It’s okay to slip up one day, there is always tomorrow. We are all human. It’s all about creating a healthier sustainable lifestyle for yourself.