Resolutions for 2017

Early each year every website, television newscast, and magazine at the grocery checkout offers advice on New Year’s resolutions. Most of these involve eating a better diet and getting or staying healthy. It’s almost obligatory that I post about making a new start to a healthier lifestyle in the New Year.

But, do you really want to read more about what you should or shouldn’t do, eat or drink?

Most people already know, or they won’t be making those resolutions. Our local newspaper projected that only 8% of all resolutions are kept.

The real key to resolutions is how to make them stick. If I ask in a month, will you still be “working on them?”

The experts say that in order to turn good intentions into long-term actions, you need to set small goals that you can keep. These small changes can add up. Other suggestions include making the goals specific. Don’t choose vague goals like “eat more fruits and vegetables” but instead choose something that is measurable and concrete, “cook one vegetable each night for dinner.” Another key to keeping resolutions is to write them down.

It may also be useful to change the title.

Instead of “New Year’s resolutions,” make them “Resolutions for the Year.” Think about of doing one new thing each month. Then, at the end of the year you’ll have 12 new habits and a more healthful lifestyle. Develop achievable goals based on the changes you’d like to make for yourself.

Here’s another tip: instead of making one long list, write a goal on the first day of each month on your new calendar or in your phone. That way, you’ll see it at the beginning of each month. Do something new each month, but don’t forget to keep going on the goal from the previous month(s).  You’ll just keep “adding on” each month.

Simple changes and goals can go a long way to making a big difference in your health.

Next year at this time, if someone asks whether you kept your resolutions from last year you’ll be able to say, “yes, 12 of them.”

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

Keep Your Family Healthy in the New Year

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Everywhere you look this time of year, someone is suggesting a resolution (or two or three) that you should keep. I’m going to chime in on this, too, with four really simple things that you can do to help keep your family healthy.

  1. Invest in a good tip-sensitive digital-read food thermometer and use it! Cooking food to the recommended minimum internal temperature is the only sure way to destroy bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses such as salmonella and E. coli.
  2. Buy a couple of refrigerator and freezer thermometers and put them to use. Monitor these temperatures frequently. Your refrigerator should be below 40 degrees F and the freezer should be close to zero degrees F. These are also great tools to have in place when determining the safety of foods after a power outage. Proper refrigerator and freezer temps can extend the time food can be kept. Recommended leftover storage is 4 days at 40 degrees or below.
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  3. Get yourself several dishwasher-safe plastic cutting boards. Designating specific colors for different foods (such as yellow for raw chicken and green for fresh veggies) can help prevent cross-contamination. Change mats frequently during food prep and wash them thoroughly in the dishwasher.
  4. Wash your hands frequently and encourage your family to do it, too! You probably don’t need to be reminded to wash after using the restroom, but also think about washing before cooking, before eating (even in a restaurant), after blowing your nose or sneezing and especially after changing diapers. Be extra diligent with handwashing when you are living with someone who is ill or in a confined area with a large group of people, such as a cruise ship or college dorm. Handwashing is the best way to prevent the transfer of norovirus.

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Best wishes for a happy and food safe new year!

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University

Here’s a free printable handout that features these resolutions. How will you use your copy?

4resolutionsforhealth

And here are some other useful tools from the Nutrition Education Store!

Motivation Tip: Use a Reward Chart

Reward Chart Poster

One of the most popular tools in my nutrition educator’s bag of tricks is a good reward chart. It helps with motivation, makes it easier to celebrate important milestones, and adds a sense of fun to a new endeavor.

That’s why I created the Reward Chart poster. I wanted a resource that would help people focus on important health goals, and it has been flying off the shelves since its introduction to the store.

Today, because I love ya, I’m giving away the handout that comes with this poster, for free.

Yes, you read that right!

In order to further boost motivation, the Reward Chart poster comes with a simple handout about selecting rewards and the evaluating the impact of healthful choices. I’ve copied that information below and slipped in a free downloadable PDF of the handout too…

Choosing Rewards:

When it comes to choosing rewards for your achievements, it’s important to choose options that will encourage your efforts. Skip food or drink rewards. Instead, try one of these options…

  • High FiveHand weights
  • Resistance bands
  • Yoga mat
  • Swim goggles
  • Running shoes
  • Movie passes
  • New cooking equipment
  • Sharp knife
  • Colorful cutting board
  • Nonstick skillets
  • Fresh herbs
  • New spices
  • New workout clothes
  • iPod or other digital music device
  • A deposit in a savings account for a vacation
  • A trip to a museum or art exhibit

The Benefits of Your Decision:

There are tons of benefits to good health.

A balanced diet and exercise plan will reduce your risk of…

  • Family JogDiabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Certain cancers
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity

At the same time, making healthful diet and exercise choices will provide the following benefits…

  • Increased stamina
  • Better sleep
  • Improved mood
  • Increased flexibility
  • Stronger bones
  • Higher energy levels

Congratulations on starting down the road to good health.

You can do it!

And, as promised, here is the PDF handout that’s (usually) only available to people who already bought the Reward Chart poster. I hope you like it!

Reward Chart Handout

Last but not least, we have some other great resources in the Nutrition Education Store — they’re sure to give your clients a motivation boost!

Save Calories with 7 Simple Steps Poster

Reward Chart Sheet

Poster: How Much to Work it Off?