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12 Steps to a Healthier 2013

A few years ago, a worksite wellness coordinator requested that I write a presentation for her worksite. She wanted the presentation to focus on brief suggestions to promote health during the upcoming New Year. As 2013 is one week away, I thought that I would include some ideas in this blog.


Help yourself to smaller portions
Add some spices and herbs
Plate it smaller
Physical activity
Yes to health this year

Not so much sugar
Eat healthy fats
Watch your snacks

Your friends
Eat foods rich in fiber
Add fruit and veggies
Remember to hydrate

Help Yourself to Smaller Portions
Portion sizes of food have increased in the last 20 years and so has the weight of Americans. For example, 20 years ago, a cheeseburger was 333 calories; today it is 590 calories. The bigger the food portion, the more likely we will eat all of the food.

Add Spices and Herbs
Some spices and herbs provide important anti-oxidants. Use cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, ginger, garlic, basil, and pepper in cooking instead of salt.

Plate It Smaller
We can deceive our eyes and the message sent to the brain. We think we are eating more food from a smaller plate. Larger dishes make the same serving seem smaller. Try using a smaller plate or eat just 75% of the food on your plate. Leave 25% for lunch the next day.

Physical Activity
Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzhiemer’s disease, colon and breast cancer. Adults need 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. Just two hours and 30 minutes per week! It can be broken down into 10 minute segments. Strength training twice weekly is recommended to maintain muscle.

Yes to Health this Year
Choose small steps or goals this year. Examples of small steps are: avoid large food portions, eat seafood twice a week, skip buffets, start your day with breakfast.

Not so much Sugar
Sugar is calorie rich but nutrient poor. Portion control is so important when using sugar. Artificial sweeteners, Splenda, Equal, Sweet N Low, and Sugar Twin can be used in beverages and baking. Use in tea or coffee in place of sugar. Choose diet soda and other diet beverages. Stevia is a natural sweetener available in Purevia Truvia, Sweet Leaf, and Sun Crystals.

Eat Healthy Fats

  • Mono-unsaturated fats (avocado, olives, olive oil, canola oil, nut oils, peanut butter)
  • Omega-3 fats (seafood is the best source, ground flaxseed, walnuts, omega-eggs
  • Poly-unsaturated fats (corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil)

Remember portion size when choosing healthy fats. They contain calories too.

Watch your snacks
Combining a protein source with a carbohydrate source is the best snack. Some examples are:

  • Peanut butter on whole grain bread or crackers, or celery
  • Light yogurt and fruit
  • Unsalted nuts with any veggie

Your Friends Are Good for your Health
Add "friend time" to your calendar!

Eat More Fiber
Whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes (kidney beans, black beans, etc.), and nuts provide fiber. Include these foods in your daily intake.

Add More Color
At least half of your plate should be filled with colorful fruits and vegetables. Aim for five servings per day or more.

Remember to Hydrate
Fluids throughout the day (48 ounces of water, include fat free or 1% milk, soy beverages, tea, and coffee in moderation)

Happy New Year! Make a habit of lifestyle choices that promote your health.

CHI Health Food and Nutrition Services Team
CHI Health Food and Nutrition Services Team

These blogs are written by members of the CHI Health Nutrition Services team.

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