Painless New Years Resolutions That Pack a Health Punch

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cooking_soupMost New Years resolutions come and go. We have great hopes and intentions and head off to the gym, start a new diet, lose weight, be healthier. By February, the gym shoes are at the back of the closet, the diet book is in the garage sale box, and the weight is still haunting us. Here are a few painless, super-simple, fool-proof resolutions that provide a big health bang for minimal effort.

1) Start dinner or lunch with a bowl of soup: When people start a meal with a bowl of soup, they consume 200 calories less and feel full and satisfied. Add a bowl of chicken noodle or cream of tomato to your sandwich for lunch every day and you could lose up to two pounds a month

2) Eat nuts: Not only are nuts a good source of protein, magnesium, vitamin E, and B vitamins, but a handful of nuts as a snack several times a week lowers heart disease by 35%, as well as diabetes and cancer risk. Women on low-calorie diets that include nuts lose just as much weight as women on low-calorie, low-fat diets, but are more likely to keep the weight off long-term.

3) Cook in cast iron: Up to 80% of women during the childbearing years are iron deficient. Besides pumping up the iron content of your diet, throw out that expensive cookware and return to Grandma’s cast iron. The iron leaches out of the pot into the food, boosting iron content several fold, especially in acidic foods such as spaghetti sauce and tomato-based soups

4) Chew gum while cooking: People unconsciously consume 100s of calories while cooking meals. You can put away as many calories in this form of nibbling as you would sitting down to a full meal. Each bite averages 25 calories. Four mindless bites while cooking equates to almost a one pound weight gain each month. Chew sugarless gum when cooking or drink ice water to keep your fingers out of the food and to satisfy your need to munch.

5) Move More: While the likelihood of you sticking with an hour workout at the gym is slim, you can boost activity and shed pounds by just adding more movement to your daily routine. Walk up the escalator or take the stairs instead of the elevator and escalator. Park at the end of the lot, rather than drive around for 15 minutes looking for a closer parking spot. Use a hand-held can opener rather than an electric one. Adding 10 minute bursts of activity to your day will add up to significant health benefits and even a few inches off the waistline.

6) Supplement: Even if you think you eat pretty well, take a moderate-dose, broad-range multiple vitamin and mineral. Supplement your supplement with an omega-3 DHA, too. While up to 90% of Americans think they eat pretty well, only one in every 100 meet even minimum standards of a balanced diet. To hedge your bets, while you try to eat better, take a multiple and DHA to fill in the gaps on those days when you eat less than perfectly.

Rebello C, Greenway F, Dhurandhar N: Functional foods to promote weight loss and satiety. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care 2014;November 17th.

Parham M, Heidari S, Khorramirad, et al: Effects of pistachio nut supplementation on blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes. Review of Diabetic Studies 2014; 11:190-196.

Hess J, Slavin J: Snacking for a cause: Nutritional insufficiencies and excesses of U.S. Children. Nutrients 2014;6:4750-4759.

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