5 Tips for Starting the New Year Off Right

It’s the start of a new year which means we can finally stop watching everyone’s #YearinReview videos on Facebook, and start making our sad but noble attempts at fulfilling our New Year’s resolutions.

Accomplishing your New Year’s resolution is often a tall task, especially when they revolve around being healthier in the upcoming year. So, here’s five tips to help you (and your family) start living healthier in 2017.

1. Do Your Research and Avoid the Fads

The vast majority of us out there struggle to make New Year’s resolutions last more than a few weeks. Meanwhile, health experts say the best diet or exercise plan is the one that sticks. Whether it’s Atkins, Paleo, or those “must have” products your friend is trying to sell you on Facebook, do your research. I Implement a well-founded diet and/or exercise plan that you can do day-in and day-out for the long term.

There’s loads of information, and more importantly, misinformation out there on subjects like GMOs and organic foods. The truth is, our farmers do a fantastic job raising food for our families and their own. So, before you reach for that more expensive food item because some TV celebrity recommends GMO-free foods, know that genetically modified crops are safe. They are backed by science, more resistant to disease, provide benefits to the environment and enable Iowa’s farmers to produce a reliable, abundant food source for our families.

2. Get Out There and Get Moving!

This one is easier said than done, but taking baby steps can go a long way. Regular exercise not only helps control weight, it also combats health conditions and high blood pressure, reduces stress, and boosts energy!

Sure, a new gym membership or investing in some in-home exercise equipment can help, but so does taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going on a daily walk or jog, working on body weight activities like push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, etc. The American Lung Association says aerobic exercise improves lung capacity and your mood. So, just get out there and get moving!

3. Fill Your Car with Cleaner-Burning Fuels, Like E15 and E85

Speaking of lungs, give them a break and fuel your car with cleaner-burning fuels, like E15 and E85. Using ethanol is not only good for your wallet, it’s good for your health and the health of our planet.

Unlike straight gasoline, ethanol is nontoxic, biodegradable, and it replaces harmful carcinogens and toxic additives that can be found in petroleum-based fuels. Ethanol also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent, compared to gasoline — and that’s just a few things we can all breathe a little easier about.

For flex-fuel vehicle owners, E85 provides the most in terms of economic, health and environmental benefits. For any 2001 and newer vehicle owners, E15 is the right choice.

4. Eat a Well-Balanced Diet

A well-balanced diet is simply eating a wide variety of foods in the right portions to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Forget your friend’s one-size-fits-all diet that she swears by on social media, and just start with simple changes. Start by eating wholesome, balanced, home-cooked foods for every meal throughout the week, then begin tailoring these meals to your specific dietary needs.

Locally-produced Iowa corn-fed beef, pork, turkey and poultry are not only some of the highest-quality meat around, they’re a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Pair them with some fruits and vegetables, and you’re starting to look like a regular health nut.

5. Spend More Time with Your Family and Friends

Home-cooked meals are a simple step toward spending less time glued to your smartphone, TV or tablet, and more time with your family, strengthening the family bond and providing some relief for the family budget. Put your voicemail to good use, turn off the TV and gather your friends and family around the dinner table. Iowa’s farmers work 24/7 to provide a safe and sustainable food source for their families and for yours, so take just a few hours each week to enjoy their hard work and spend time with your loved ones.

Make 2017 the year you stopped wasting time staring at your phone or TV, and started spending more time caring for yourself and those who mean the most to you.

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