Five tips for staying on track in the New Year

Jan 02 2019 | 12:35 PM

While many people often wish maintaining good health was as easy as following an equation, health doesn’t have a start or end date. Once the allure of the new year wears off, it can be easy to let those resolutions go by the wayside.
When you focus on making small, positive changes, you can move your health goals forward throughout the year, no matter where you are on your health journey. To help stay on track, consider these easy-to-implement ideas from registered dietitian Annessa Chumbley:
Write it down. Using a nutrition journal and keeping a record of everything you eat and drink can help track progress and reveal small changes that need to be made. Alternatively, downloading a fitness tracking app can help keep you accountable digitally. With a variety of options available for most operating systems, there is almost certain to be one to meet your needs, whether you’re looking for a companion app to track progress or something more in-depth to help guide you through workouts and meal planning.
Start your day with protein. A high-quality protein source can set the stage for sustained energy levels throughout the day. Cereal, milk, eggs, and fruit constitute a good protein breakfast. MedlinePlus recommends limiting your egg consumption to four eggs per week because eggs are high in cholesterol. However, you can substitute two egg whites for one whole egg to reduce dietary cholesterol while maintaining the same protein content. Peanut butter, toast, and yogurt are also good sources of healthy protein.
Hydrate all day. Hydration is a foundation of good health. Before bed each night, put a 16-ounce bottle of water in the bathroom then drink it first thing in the morning for a daily energy boost. For an easy and healthy way to add flavor to your water during the day, consider putting an herbal tea bag of your choice in it. For example, Chumbley recommends ginger as a digestion-helper, mint as a caffeine-free way to awaken and chamomile to calm.
Make healthy swaps. Looking for alternatives is an easy way to eat healthy. Consider swapping out heavier carbs for vegetables such as grilled Portobello mushrooms as pizza crust or zucchini noodles instead of pasta. Swap mayo for avocado when eating egg, chicken or tuna salad. You can also use the sweetness of ripe bananas to decrease the need for added sugar in recipes like cookies, muffins and pancakes.
Get moving. Commit to stepping outside and taking a daily walk. Whether it’s 1 mile or a walk around the block, you can burn calories and receive the added benefits of mental clarity, increased energy and improved digestion.
“Use these tips as one small thing that can make a powerful positive impact on your day,” Chumbley said. “Choose one of these and do it every day. Keep the strategy simple so you’ll be more likely to stick with it. When implementing these health tips, think ‘progress’ not ‘perfection.’ If you are progressing, you are successful.”