Budget Friendly New Year’s Resolutions

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The holidays may have left you with a shrinking bank account and an expanding waistline, but don't fret. Just a few little changes to your daily grind could have a huge impact on your overall health and well-being. Here are five 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

Too much refined white sugar can a have a negative effect on your health because it 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 mindful of keeping obvious culprits like ice cream and candy at bay, be wary of foods that may seem healthy. Flavored yogurt for instance, can pack as much as four extra teaspoons of sugar for each serving. Twenty-five 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 alternative.

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 do 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.

Quit Smoking

Cigarettes are detrimental to your health -- and your wallet. People who smoke a pack a day save a whopping $2,300 each year after they quit smoking. Are you ready to quit? See if you quality for Ochsner’s comprehensive smoking cessation program that provides a risk-free way to quit.

Curb Your Screen Time

Technology is ubiquitous in our lives these days, but too much sedentary activity caused by screen time (time spent in front of a device with a screen including smart phones, tablets, televisions and computers) can lead to sleeplessness, obesity, anxiety and depression. 

Reducing daily screen time can lead to a healthier lifestyle for you and your family, so suggest other activities such as family board games or going for a walk instead of sedentary screen time.

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 jump-start 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:

  • Use 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 organize a walking or biking session with friends instead of going out for dinner.
  • Get online—Tons of free workout videos are available on 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!

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