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New Year's resolutions you can keep daily

Incorporate healthy goals into everyday habits

By Amy Cox
CNN

Incorporate healthy goals into everyday habits

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HEALTHY CHOICES
  • Eat a good breakfast to start the day.
  • "Throw color at your meals" -- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • If you have to eat fast food, make healthy choices.
  • Drink beverages that are good for you at meals
  • If you smoke, stop. And if you don't, don't start!
  • Get active, even if it's only a little physical activity each day.
  • (CNN) -- Although many people plot grand resolutions for the new year ahead, most won't succeed because the goals seem too daunting, according to health experts.

    The key to attaining better health, they say, is developing a strategy to incorporate healthy decisions into daily life.

    "There are some ways to change your eating habits in 24 hours that, hopefully, you can adopt the rest of your life," says Susan Moores, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

    The easiest way to get healthy for the new year is to make sure you eat breakfast every day, she says.

    "Studies have shown people who eat breakfast have better health, and manage their overall diets better than those who don't."

    Another tip for good everyday eating habits is to "throw color at your meals," according to Moores. She explains that most people need more fruit and vegetables in their diet and those types of foods are usually brightly colored.

    For example, breakfast is usually a very brown meal. But adding oranges, apples or pineapple adds color to the plate and vital nutrients to your body.

    Dr. Howard Eisenson, director of the Duke University Diet and Fitness Center, also says fruit and vegetables are an easy way to add healthy foods to your diet. His advice is to keep these low-calorie foods on hand for snacks.

    And if you are a fast-food junkie, Eisenson says you can still enjoy healthy eating out, just don't overdo it.

    "Never say 'Biggie-size' anything!" Eisenson warns. "Eat the basic size and wait a bit and you'll find that you're full."

    Helpful strategies

    Here are some other strategies to incorporate healthy choices in your daily life for the new year, according to Moores, Eisenson and the American Lung Association.

    • Better beverages: Moores says you don't have to give up sodas and caffeine entirely, but at least try to have a healthy beverage (milk, juice, water) at meal times. But Eisenson cautions against some juice boxes, especially those given to kids. "(Some) are high in sugar and low in benefits. Give kids a piece of fruit instead."

    • Snuff out tobacco: If you smoke, stopping is by far the most important thing you could do to improve your health. Eisenson says that every day you don't smoke, risk of heart attack lowers. And studies show that after a year of not smoking, the risk of coronary heart disease is decreased to half that of a smoker.

    • Get moving: You've heard the advice before -- every little bit of physical activity helps your health. Moores says taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a tried-and-true way to fit in some exercise. Her guideline? "If it's three flights or less, take the stairs."

    Eisenson also recommends having small meetings while taking a walk, instead of sitting over coffee or in someone's office.

    And if your goal of getting healthy gets off-track through the year, begin fresh the next day.

    "It's never to late to start," says Eisenson.



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