5 Fresh Habits for 2015

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Step into your New Year with these 5 fresh habits that will help your family gear up for all of life’s amazing moments that await in the year ahead.

  1. Ready, Set, Cook! Though cooking shows flourish and gorgeous food photos abound on social media, the reality is we aren’t hitting our kitchens nearly enough: according to the USDA, over 40% of all food dollars Americans spend go towards foods prepared outside of home[1]. But the research is clear: cooking saves you money, gives you greater control over the quality and quantity of the foods you eat (including added salt, fats, sugars and portion size) and is a fundamental life skill that helps children and families to thrive. Whether you love old school cookbooks or modern social media cooking apps, there’s an entire delicious world out there waiting for you! And many recipes today are perfect for little helpers to get involved.
  2. Skip the pricey beverages with exotic ingredients. High quality “liquid wellness” is certainly one of the top buzz worthy nutrition trends in 2015. Butif you want to pack your diet with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals,here’s good news:you don’t have to rely on pricey smoothies filled with far flung, exotic ingredients to get what you crave. You can save time and money by choosing Florida Citrus, picked at its peak of ripeness, an 8 oz. glass of 100% Florida OJ is one of winter’s most delicious and convenient sources of folate, potassium and the antioxidant vitamin C. And with no added sugar, the exceptional taste it’s a great way to get a wealth of nutrients per serving.
  3. Sleep more to weigh less. Our best intentions at the gym or grocery store may fizzle fast when we don’t consistently get enough shuteye. Beyond just feeling good when you get a few more zzzsss, a growing number of studies are finding a direct link between sleep depravation and weight gain. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep nightly: fewer can cause hunger and satiety hormones to get out of whack, and has been linked in multiple studies to an increase in body fat2. To help signal to your brain its time to unwind turn off technology at least 30 minutes before bedtime, try a warm bath or shower. And getting regular exercise through movement you enjoy during the day also helps to promote a deeper, more restful sleep.
  4. Enjoy more plant foods. Plant foods are having a serious moment in 2015. From umami-rich mushrooms that make replacing meat on the grill a cinch, to bold smoky spice blends that enhance dishes starring legumes and tofu, to ancient grains such as teff, quinoa and amaranth now easily found in supermarkets- its never been easier to enjoy more plants more often. Beans are another power-food poised for greatness in 2015, showing up in fresh hummus innovations, roasted and crunchy snacks that satisfy, even in luscious desserts like fudgy black bean brownies. And local and regional produce is more popular than ever, which helps forge important connections between people and growers. Aim to enjoy at least 5-9 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day (an 8 oz. glass of 100% Florida OJ counts as two servings of fruit as a part of a 2000 calorie adult daily diet), including local and regional produce as often as you can. And use plant-based fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds, and avocado for cooking, baking and snacking. Eating a plant-rich diet is not only better for the planet, it packs some of nature’s most powerful nutrients that support overall good health and wellbeing3.
  5. Get out and play. How do you and your family spend time together? “Sedentarism” is a trending buzzword in wellness, as evidence continues to mount that all of our sitting (whether at work, during our commute, in front of our computer or television) is a major culprit behind sluggish energy, weight gain and even insulin resistance. The good news is, it’s just a matter of movement-so find something, anything you and your family enjoy to get moving at least 30 minutes each day. If logging hours at the gym isn’t your style (as it personally isn’t for me), explore different options until you find something that feels good. Playing at the park with your pet? Enjoying a walk after dinner? Dancing your head off while no one’s watching? Regular, joyful activity is one of the key ingredients humans need to help their bodies and their minds feel amazing. And while water is a perfect choice for exercise lasting less than 60-90 minutes, if you’re workout is longer, here’s a fun tip: stay hydrated and replenish carbohydrates (a valuable energy source for working muscles) with a blend of 100% orange juice and water4.

This post was sponsored by the Florida Department of Citrus

image: Getty / Igor Emmerich

[1] http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-choices-health/food-consumption-demand/food-away-from-home.aspx

[2] http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/sleep-and-obesity/

[3]J Am Diet Assoc. 2009: ADA Position Paper. 2009; 109:1266-1282. Accessed at http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/2009_ADA_position_paper.pdf

[4]http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6755