1. Befriend vitamin D and calcium. Get up to date on the new recommendations for vitamins D and calcium. Together they work to strengthen your bones.
- It's estimated that 60%-80% of the world's population is vitamin D deficient. During the winter it is recommended to add a daily 1000 IU vitamin D3 supplement. If you would like to know if you are vitamin D deficient, ask your doctor to check your vitamin D levels using a simple blood test.
- The recommended daily calcium intake for Canadians 50 or under is 1000 mg and those over 50 is 1200 mg. Ideally one should get their recommended intake through their diet, but if that is not possible a daily calcium supplement can be added.
2. Eat more, not less. Your body requires energy on a regular basis to help moderate your blood sugars and prevent food cravings. When you go too long without eating, your blood sugars fall and may leave you hunting for holiday leftovers. Plan to eat a small meal of protein and carbohydrates every three to four hours to keep your energy levels up and your hands out of the cookie jar!
3. Stock up on the good stuff. Now that the holidays are over, give your kitchen a make-over. Hanging on to holiday goodies likely won’t do your waistline any favours. Instead, keep the pantry full of seasonal fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, healthy oils, fish, low-fat dairy products and lean meats.
4. Swap out your “whites.” Recent research has shown that in addition to being bad for waistlines, “white foods” (bread, pasta, rice, sugar, etc.) may be dangerous for your cholesterol. Try to choose whole grains and fibre-rich carbohydrates more often.
5. New year, new foods. We all tend to get in a rut after the holidays. Spice up your new year with healthy new food options. Try steamed edamame beans or bring a packet of instant oatmeal for a mid-afternoon snack. Aim to include one new snack or recipe a week to keep it interesting! Visit Cleveland Clinic Health for some more recipe ideas.
6. Bundle up and stay active. Every winter the average Canadian sees a 5% drop in their fitness level and a 30% drop in their level of physical activity, so it is important to do what you can to stay active. We suggest pulling on your boots, skates or skis for some snow-covered fun! In a crunch for time? Start small. Add a 15 minute walk to your morning routine or on your lunch break. Every little bit helps.
7. Stay inside where it’s warm. When the nights are cold and dark, getting some exercise in the evening can be tough. Popping in a yoga DVD, hopping on the exercise bike or doing a simple strength routine while watching your favourite TV show are all great ways to keep active while avoiding the cold.
8. Spend time with the people you enjoy most. Pursue and nurture the relationships that make you feel good. To do this, you may need to learn how to say no to requests for your time. If you find this difficult, remind yourself that saying no allows you to say yes to the things that you really want to do.
9. Step out of your comfort zone. Stimulate your brain by getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new. Learn some phrases in a foreign language, attempt a challenging puzzle, find a different route for your daily commute or take a class in something new that interests you. Your brain needs exercise, too.
10. Make realistic resolutions. Although making resolutions is up to you, if you do choose to make them, set goals that are achievable and share them with a friend or family member to benefit from their encouragement and support.
Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2011!