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5 Ways to a healthier new year

An alternative to New Year's resolutions

Some of the foods you should eat, and some you should avoid.
Some of the foods you should eat, and some you should avoid.

BARTOW, Fla. – It's that time of year again when we make and try to keep resolutions to eat better and exercise more. But, often, we call it quits by mid-January.

What if this year we try something different? Instead of resolutions, make achievable lifestyle changes designed to last a lifetime.

University of Florida Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Gail Rampersaud has five tips to help families make simple life changes to live a healthier life – no elaborate resolutions required.

  • Eat breakfast every day! But instead of starting the day with cereal or a pastry high in added sugars, get a good jumpstart on your nutrients with oatmeal paired with an 8-ounce glass of Florida Orange Juice is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of potassium, folate, and thiamin - nutrients that we need on a daily basis. 
  • Make nutrient-rich food swaps and look for ways to get more fruits and vegetables. For instance, switch up your usual beef tacos with fish tacos using grilled salmon and avocado, or fill your taco shells with a variety of grilled vegetables.  For salads, swap out iceberg lettuce with dark green leafy spinach or kale, then top your salad with foods in a variety of colors to obtain a spectrum of nutrients, like red peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, carrots, and roasted sunflower seeds, as well as fresh or dried fruit like fresh orange segments or dried cherries. 
  • Keep yourself hydrated, but do it in a healthier way. Instead of beverages with added sugars, opt instead for water, low-fat or fat-free milk, and 100 percent juices.
  • Don't forget that we are still in the thick of cold and flu season. If you haven't already, talk with your doctor about getting the flu shot (it's never too late!) and be sure to wash your hands frequently.
  • Focus on eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, low-fat or fat-free dairy, and lean cuts of meat, poultry and fish. If this seems daunting, focus on improving one area of your diet one step at a time. For example, maybe your family could use more fruit: an 8-ounce glass of Florida Orange Juice, tastes great and counts toward your fruit intake. Check out ChooseMyPlate.gov for more ideas.

For more ways to stay healthy in 2016, visit FloridaJuice.com.