20 Healthy Living Tips for the New Year

Tired of hard-to-keep resolutions? Try some of these, they're easy and good for youHave you noticed that New Year’s resolutions often have to do with improving your diet and your health?

You’ve probably also noticed how hard they can be to stick to after the first few weeks. But here are 20 realistic and fun healthy living tips you can turn into resolutions. Chances are you’ll see them through; not just for January but for the whole of 2007!

  1. Eat Breakfast: Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast regularly are more easily able to control their weight than those who skip breakfast.
  2. Make four breakfasts each week exclusively fruit and nuts: Your skin will glow, your spare tyre will get a welcome puncture, your bowels will work like clockwork and you will feel more energetic than you have for a long time. Use more apples, pears and berries than tropical fruits like bananas, mangos, etc. and you can even have a warm fruit compote on cold morning
  3. Fill your plate with Vegetables: Vegetables, especially the bright coloured and dark green leafy ones, are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. They are also high in fibre and hence very filling. In addition, they are low in calories – good to help trim and maintain your waistline.
  4. Drink Water instead: Drinking water instead of ‘pop’, juice, coffee or other drinks saves calories. Even the zero-calorie diet drinks offer no nutritional values – it’s just water added with artificial sweeteners and caffeine. Carrying a bottle of water around with you will encourage you to sip it instead of reaching for sweetened beverages.
  5. Switch to non-meat alternatives: Instead of reaching for a steak, try other high protein alternatives such as fish, seafood, tofu, quinoa and legumes. These protein alternatives are usually low in saturated fat – legumes are high in fibre, soya is loaded with beneficial phytoestrogens and fish contains omega 3 fatty acids – they all are much more heart-health friendly.
  6. Park further away from your destinationPark further away from your destination: Park your car as far away as you can from the entrance to the office, supermarket or shopping mall. Not only will you be getting some extra exercise but you will find a parking space far more easily, saving your sanity in the process.
  7. Learn to meditate: Meditation is a technique of practicing awareness, quieting the mind and focussing on the here and now. The stress reducing benefits are enormous and the less stressed you are the happier and healthier you’ll be.
  8. Exercise together: Try a new fitness pursuit you know you will enjoy like dancing, ice skating or swimming. Better still try it with a partner, family member or friend as studies show people who exercise together are more likely to stick to a new fitness regime.
  9. Always sit when eating: Even if you have to eat just a quick snack, put aside anything else you are doing and sit down. Not only will you avoid splotches on your papers and clothes, but you will eat less and your body’s metabolic processes will not have to divide their energies between the two important functions of work and nutrition.
  10. Book a monthly aromatherapy or reflexology session: And do it for a year in advance, so that you really get around to going. Investing in yourself like that is taking care of your most valuable resource – your well-being.
  11. Turn off the TV and listen to music instead: Sometimes it can be in the background but at other times just relax and listen to it. Good music is medicine for your mind, body and soul.
  12. Always wanted to try pottery? Learning new skills keeps your mind activeLearn something new each week: This could be a recreational skill like pottery, painting or sewing or simply looking something up in an encyclopaedia or on the net. It is ‘use it or lose it’ with your mind so keep it active.
  13. Visit nature every weekend: This might be a walk in a local park or through the woods. The main thing is that you are away from the shops and traffic and you can tune into the sounds and sights of Mother Nature.
  14. Become a food label reader: Become aware of what you are actually eating. Avoid those foods and drinks that have a long list of chemical-looking ingredients. Watch out for sugar on the label as in order to make the sugar content of a product seem lower, manufactures list all the different types of sugar separately (look for words ending in –ose, such as fructose, glucose and sucrose). Don’t be fooled, they all have relatively the same negative effects on your body.
  15. Eat early: Try not to eat two hours before you go to sleep. You don’t need to stock up on calories late at night; your body needs to rest and restore when you are asleep, not digest and energise.
  16. Save on the midnight oil: Aim to be in bed before midnight as research shows that people who retire before 12 wake more refreshed than those who stay up into the small hours.
  17. Stay cool: Resist the urge to crank up the thermostat to tropical levels during a chilly winter’s eve. To ensure good sleep, keep your bedroom temperature at 65-70°F (18-21°C). And don’t overload the blankets. Lower temperatures are more conducive to good-quality sleep and good quality sleep is essential for your health and wellbeing.
  18. Floss your teeth: Oral hygiene is more important for your health and well-being than you would think as studies show that people with gum disease have an increased risk of poor health and heart disease. It isn’t enough to brush your teeth you need to floss as well.
  19. Go sweet: Ready to do just one thing this winter to spruce up your diet? Incorporate sweet potatoes, which are very much in-season. A medium-sized sweet potato has about 100 calories and 4 grams of fibre, along with vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron. And it’s loaded with beta-carotene, a powerful immune boosting antioxidant.
  20. Smile more: Recent research proves what you’ve probably always known. Happy and optimistic people are less prone to colds and flu and tend to recover faster than people with a less upbeat approach to life. So try to think and act positive; you can’t be unhappy if you are singing and smiling.

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