For a healthier new year, try making it a family affair

January 1, 2018

(HealthDay)—Did you resolve to eat better in 2018? Exercise more? Lose weight? If so, here's how to turn those resolutions into successes.

For starters, "make an effort to make small, manageable changes that work towards everyone being healthier," Amy Rosenfeld, a registered dietitian with Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., said in a hospital news release.

Then, get everyone involved, she said, turning your New Year's resolutions into a family affair.

Consider these steps, Rosenfeld suggests:

  • Aim to eat fresh fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors. That will help you get all the needed vitamins and minerals. "Make it a game to get all the colors of the rainbow every week," Rosenfeld suggested. "Create a sticker chart for all , and take note when everyone reaches their goal. Try doing this every day, and make it a contest to see who can get to the end of the rainbow first."
  • Try a new vegetable every week. Select it as a family or let your children choose it.
  • Cook together, as a family, at least once a week. Also try to eat meals together.
  • Check your cupboards and get rid of unhealthy food items.
  • Consider starting an indoor herb garden.
  • Cook extra at dinners so you have healthy leftovers for lunch the next day. "Or, take the extra step and make meals just for lunch, such as a large pot of chili or a stir-fry dish with the kids' favorite veggies and protein," Rosenfeld said. "This will save money and get everyone eating fresher all day long."
  • Prepare ready-to-eat healthy snacks. "On Sunday nights, pack individual bags of healthy snack choices and set them up in the fridge so they are ready to go for the busy week ahead," she suggested. "Some good choices are hummus cups with baby carrots, pre-portioned bags of trail mix or whole-grain crackers and cheese."
  • When picking a restaurant, try for "family style." That can help you lighten the portion. "Choose options that are grilled, baked and roasted, rather than fried and creamy," Rosenfeld said. "Ask for modifications, such as extra veggies with Asian dishes and pizza, or whole-grain options when possible."
  • Exercise as a family. "Exercising together doesn't have to mean a family trip to the gym," she said. "Go for a family hike or snow-shoe adventure. Go ice skating and take a yoga class together. Even a simple walk is a great start."

Explore further: Five ways to avoid holiday weight gain

More information: SOURCE: Northern Westchester Hospital, news release.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers holiday health and safety tips.

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