Happy New Year! You’ve gifted, re-gifted and overindulged your way through a great season - what now? The holidays might have left you with a shrinking bank account and an expanding waistline, but not to worry. Just a few little changes here and there to your daily grind could have a huge impact on your overall health and well-being. We’ve rounded up a few of the best budget friendly New Year’s resolutions that could give you peace of mind for a happier, healthier new you!
Go on a Sugar Strike
Refined white sugar may seem harmless but too much can a have a negative effect on your health, mainly because sugar contains a lot of calories with no essential nutrients. Consuming too much of the sweet stuff can lead to a myriad of issues including diabetes, heart disease, liver problems and premature aging. Even if you are already mindful of keeping obvious culprits like ice cream and candy at bay, some foods that might seem healthy are some of the biggest contributors of sugar overload. Flavored yogurt for instance, can pack as much as four extra teaspoons of sugar for each serving. 25 grams, or about six teaspoons, is the recommended daily amount, so eating just one cup for breakfast could easily catapult you over the limit for the day. Try mixing plain or Greek low-fat yogurt with a teaspoon of honey and fruit for a satisfying protein packed snack.
Become a Part-Time Vegetarian
A widely publicized recent study has linked processed and red meats such as bacon, sausages, hot dogs, veal and beef to increased risk of certain types of cancer and heart disease. This doesn’t mean you have to entirely give up that heavenly bacon at your weekly brunch, but try to limit the amount of red or processed meat you eat at every meal. Try substituting your morning eggs and sausage with red peppers, egg whites and soy chorizo for a flavorful punch without the added solid fat you would get with bacon or sausage. For dinner, grilled Portobello mushroom caps are great alternatives to steaks on the grill.
Curb Your Screen time
Technology is ubiquitous in most aspects of our lives these days, but did you know that reducing daily screen time in your families’ lives could lead to a healthier lifestyle? Screen time refers to activities done in front of a screen, including using smart phones or tablets, playing video games, watching television or working on a computer. It is estimated that Americans spend on average five to seven hours of the day on screens. Too much of sedentary activity caused by screen time can lead to sleeplessness, obesity, anxiety and depression. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, you should follow these guidelines to reduce screen time in your household.
- Remove the TV or computer from your child's bedroom.
- DO NOT allow TV watching during meals or homework.
- DO NOT let your child eat while watching TV or using the computer.
- Decide which programs to watch ahead of time. Turn off the TV when those programs are over.
- Suggest other activities, such as family board games, puzzles, or going for a walk.
- Be a good role model as a parent. Decrease your own screen time to 2 hours a day.
- Challenge your family to go 1 week without watching TV or doing other screen-time activities. Find things to do with your time that get you moving and burning energy.
Makeover Your Workout
If holiday weight gain has left you feeling a little blue and the cost of a fancy gym membership seems out of grasp, here’s good news. There’s no need for a costly gym to jumpstart your fitness regimen. With a little creativity, daily activities and free online resources could become great catalysts for burning extra calories. Use these tips to make the most of a budget savvy workout.
- Canned goods—Household canned goods or large water bottles are good alternatives to hand weights.
- Join In—Getting involved in group activities is a great way to burn a few extra calories while having fun. Join the kids for a game of hide and seek or kickball, or start a group walking or biking club amongst your circle of friends instead of meeting for dinner out.
- Get online—Tons of free workout videos are available via the web that are perfect resources for budget friendly workouts. From yoga to high intensity cardio, try out a few different options to design a custom regimen that works for you. Try this scientific seven minute version. It’s quick and effective and is almost as fun as playing a video game!