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Five Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle

Each year, when Jan. 1 rolls around, about one in three Americans makes a New Year’s resolution revolving around healthier living. Michigan State University Extension aims to help people reach their goals by defining a healthier lifestyle.

by Michigan State University
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Below are five lifestyle changes MSU Extension experts recommend to achieve improved health and nutrition:

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends making half of your plate fruits and vegetables, about 4.5 cups total a day. Try adding frozen peas or corn to a main dish, or have a fresh salad with dinner. Add more fruit by having an apple as a snack instead of chips.

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2. Learn to read labels. Many people shop to get the most volume for their dollar, but also think about getting the most nutrient value for your dollar. For example, look for cereals that contain whole grains and less sugar. Also look for items that are lower in sodium. Many canned vegetables and soups now come in reduced sodium options.

3. Cut back—or cut out—sugar-sweetened beverages. Some beverages contain 10 or more teaspoons of sugar. It may be difficult at first, but start slowly, eliminating a little at a time. In place of sugary beverages, try water with lemon or other citrus, or try a new herbal tea. Cutting the sweetened beverages will help control empty calories and drinking more water will leave your body well hydrated.

4. Try growing your own food. If you don’t have space or time to manage a whole garden, start with a few small pots on your porch or join a community garden. Tomatoes are easy and produce well. Also try herbs like rosemary and basil that will add flavor to any dish.

5. Get more physical activity. There are many ways to do this without joining a gym or making unreachable workout goals. Start by taking a walk during your lunch break a few times a week. Consider starting an office walking group, as it’s always easier to get motivated with a group.

For more tips on healthy eating and physical activity visit the MSU Extension website.