Start Fresh this New Year
By Mary Kathryn Poole, MPH, program director, Let’s Move Pittsburgh
For many of us, the New Year signifies a time for setting new health resolutions. However, research shows that after a few months pass, we often find that we have strayed from our original goals. Don’t let this discourage you! Changing habits is a difficult task. One of the main reasons we fall short of our New Year’s resolutions is that we set goals that are unrealistic and not easily attainable. So, to help you set a New Year’s resolution and keep it, Let’s Move Pittsburgh suggests that you pick a number – 5, 2, 1, or 0 – and set goals for each month.
For the month of January, try focusing on meeting the daily goal of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Fresh, canned, or frozen are all good options for fruits and vegetables. For canned vegetables, remember to look for low-sodium or no added salt options. For canned fruit, look for fruit that is stored in water, not syrup or juice.
To get you started on adding more produce into your diet, here are our top five favorite recipes from 2016. These reliable recipes will be sure to please your family while introducing them to new flavors:
- 1. Parsnip Soup – a creamy soup with loads of potassium and vitamins C and E
- 2. Vegetable Bolognese – a warm blend of eggplant and squash, rich in fiber
- 3. Roasted Tomatillo Salsa – a zesty salsa that tastes great with baked tortilla chips, on grilled chicken, or on enchiladas
- 4. Sunchoke and Fennel Salad – a refreshing salad with fiber and protein from the potato-like sunchoke
- 5. Citrus Bean and Beet Salad – a creative salad packed with Vitamin C and protein
To boost your family’s health further, make it a habit to have family meals. Research shows that families who eat together without the TV on are more likely to have a healthy weight than families who eat while watching TV.1 The more interactive the dinner, the better! Get a riveting conversation going with some of these tools:
- • Real Simple’s Conversations Starters Playbook including questions like, “Name five things you would take to a desert island,” and “If you could have only one of your senses, which would you choose?”
- • Family Dinner Project’s bank of Conversation Starters with questions like, “If you joined the circus, what would your circus act be?” and “Make up three silly new traditions for our family.”
- • Playworks’ 34 Conversation Starters for Your Family featuring questions like “What would you do if you could fly for a day?” and “If we all lived in a zoo, what animals would we be?”
Wishing you a healthy new year full of family meals, fruits, and vegetables!
This article is an effort of Let’s Move Pittsburgh’s 5-2-1-0 initiative to help Pittsburgh’s youth practice 5-2-1-0 — 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of recreational screen time, 1 hour or more of physical activity, and 0 sugary drinks and more water — every day!
Learn more at letsmovepittsburgh.org/5210. Let’s Move Pittsburgh, a collaborative program of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, with the generous support of UPMC Health Plan and the Hillman Foundation, provides Southwestern Pennsylvania’s children and their caregivers with the knowledge, tools, and support needed to make nutritious food choices and lead active lifestyles. Learn more at letsmovepittsburgh.org and on Facebook and Twitter.