Make healthy habits stick in 2017

By JESSICA RANDAZZO, LSU AgCenter St. Mary Parish Nutrition Agent

Every year many Americans resolve to change lifestyle habits for the new year. Breaking those deep- rooted habits can be difficult, especially when it is about food. Eating healthy should not feel like a chore.
Here are five simple tips to make healthy habits that stick this year.
1. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit instead of cookies. Fruit is typically less expensive than a box of cookies, more nutritionally dense, and lower in calories. Try dipping fruit in low fat yogurt or with a slice of cheese for a nutrient-dense snack.
2. Keep fresh vegetables on hand as a quick snack. Combat afternoon hunger and boredom with a nutritious alternative to empty calorie foods like chips. Try roasting broccoli and cauliflower with red pepper flakes and olive oil for a crispy, low fat treat.
3. Portion control is an important part of healthy eating. On average, adults need about 2,000 calories per day. It can be very easy to overeat. Sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, which leads to over-eating. Half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, leaving the other half for grains and protein.
4. Find whole grain options that the whole family can enjoy. Whole grain foods keep you full longer, helping with portion control. They also contribute a significant amount of fiber that aids in proper digestive function. Try incorporating one new whole grain option into your family’s diet.
5. Make physical activity fun by including the whole family. Participating in activities that children can take part in allows them to develop healthy habits early on. Adults need at least 30 minutes of physical activity three times a week and children need at least 1 hour of physical activity three times a week. Make plans to go do something active with your family every week.
The LSU AgCenter strives to engage every sense in the learning process with hands-on activities and food tastings included in every lesson of the programs.
Community nutrition programs focus on budget-friendly healthful food choices, increased physical activity, and habits that promote good health. The community nutrition agent and nutrition educator partner with the local school system, senior centers and community members to provide relevant and engaging nutrition education to all ages.
—Randazzo is the LSU AgCenter Nutrition Agent for St. Martin and St. Mary parishes. She is a recent graduate of LSU with a degree in food and nutrition science. Along with the nutrition educator, Bobbie Mitchell, they strive to provide nutrition education programs that are customized for every stage of life. For more information on any nutrition related topics, contact Randazzo via email at jrandazzo@agcenter.lsu.edu or call 337-828-4100.

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