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Happy New Year !!!

Roasted Vegetable couscous

Unfortunately, most resolutions are broken as quickly as they’re made. This year, be realistic and set resolutions that are measurable and attainable. We quite often travel farther by taking baby steps instead of sprinting.

According to a 2011 article in Time magazine, it’s really no surprise that the most commonly broken resolution is to lose weight and get fit. It’s simply not realistic (nor very enjoyable) to vow to drop 20 pounds and run a marathon by February. By making small adjustments to your lifestyle, you could see big changes in your waistline, energy level and overall well being by this time next year – all without the stress and disappointment of another broken resolution.

Instead of dieting, why not make lifestyle changes to the way you eat? Paying closer attention to the foods you eat, the way they are prepared and how they are cooked can result in a new you to last a lifetime. Consider using lower fat and lower calorie ingredients in your recipes (substitute olive oil for butter or low-fat milk or sour cream for their full-fat cousins), and incorporate more whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead of frying, try baking, broiling, roasting or grilling. You’ll keep all the flavor and lose some of the fat and calories. Speaking of flavor, add a shake or a pinch of your favorite spices to your dishes and put a whole new dimension to meals that you prepare at home. And if you’d like to take a vacation but just can’t get away, explore new worlds through food. The recipes at the end of this article will help take off the holiday pounds and will take you on delicious culinary journey without ever leaving your kitchen.

Adding exercise to your routine can help take off the pounds, increase energy levels, reduce stress and lead to a healthier you. If the gym is not your thing, try a new sport or activity – maybe tennis or dancing (it sure works for those “Dancing with the Stars” contestants) – or just get out and walk. Take the stairs, rake leaves or take a 20-30 minute power walk through the neighborhood in the afternoon.

All this focus on a healthier lifestyle is much easier and more fun when other people are involved. Research shows that people with close relationships with family and friends are more engaged, satisfied and happier, and having people you enjoy in your life can help you stick to your resolutions. Form a supper club focused on preparing healthy meals; recruit a few exercise buddies to help you stick to an exercise routine (walking is a great time to catch up with friends); or form a book club of friends with similar likes and interests. The more the merrier!

In the end, it’s all about living a better life, enjoying life more and being the best that you can be. Best wishes for a happier, healthier you in 2015!