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Definition of nudge: to touch or push (someone or something) gently: to encourage (someone) to do something. ~Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Setting health and wellness goals are common when we start a new year. Many of us make New Year Resolutions. For several years, I’ve encouraged people to set a resolution or goal and go for it. We’ve discussed ways to achieve your goal, as well as possible barriers and opportunities. Did you set a New Years’ Resolution? If so, how are you doing with that goal?

We are over the midpoint in the year and I’d like to encourage you to consider taking a small step (or two) to improve your health. If you are like me (and most of us) you are busy and health practices may take a backseat in our lives. I’d like to “nudge” you to get back on track with your wellness goals.

Not sure where to start? Is there an easy habit that you could add or change? Sometimes if we start with a simple change, the next wellness change is easier to make. We gain momentum as we start to feel better and our confidence increases. Here are some suggestions for easy changes to help you get started:

  • Enjoy water at meals – not only will you save money while eating out, this helps you get increase your daily water intake.
  • Add a veggie or fruit snack to your day. Pack a bag of carrots, an apple, banana or mini cucumber to enjoy as a snack break.
  • When ordering a salad, ask for your dressing on the side and dip your fork into your dressing. You will save calories and it may help you slow the pace of eating. When you are finished, look at the amount of dressing left over. Any surprises?
  • Take a walk at lunch. Start with 10 minutes. See if getting a quick walk in helps you feel refocused and energized. Add more time to your walk and see those benefits.
  • Set a timer (phone, watch, or computer) to get up and move every hour. See if this helps you stay energized throughout the day.
  • Pack a low-fat yogurt (watch the amount of sugar in your yogurt) to enjoy as a healthy snack. This will help you get the 3-a-day recommended servings of dairy.
  • Enjoy your pizza with extra veggies. If you love pepperoni on your pizza, make half veggie, half pepperoni and mix it up. We’ve transitioned to a veggie only pizza in our house.
  • Take a day and declare it “soda free”. Enjoy flavored water, tea, or other beverages. A few years ago, I made the decision that I wouldn’t drink pop anymore. It was a tough habit to break but sparkling water and tea helped me make this change.
  • Engage a friend for support. Tell a friend (email, text, in person, or on the phone) about your new health change and gain support. Stating the goal or change that you are making will help you stay accountable. It may even encourage them to make a change, too.

Still not sure where to start? Check out the new on-line tool on MyPlate.

In a few minutes, you will have a MyPlate Plan to help you find a Healthy Eating Style. I like that my plan told me how many cups of fruits and vegetables that I need each day.

Want a few more ideas of small changes you can make? Here are two links to help you get started:

30 MyPlate Steps to a Healthier You

Check out the ChooseMyPlate website and explore the Make Small Changes section.

You will find short video clips, comparisons, recipes and more. Just click on one of these sections:

Are you ready to enjoy a healthier lifestyle? Start with a small change, and “nudge” others to make one simple switch for better health.

Sources:

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/what-are-myplate-mywins

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/make-small-changes

https://food.unl.edu/30-myplate-steps-healthier-you

 

Written by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

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