Start the New Year With New Family Fitness Goals

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With the new year around the corner, many of us have already started thinking about our personal New Year’s goals, but have you thought about making it a family affair? Setting goals as a family has great benefits and advantages. In EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program), we teach youth and adults the importance of eating healthy and doing physical activity. To start off, think about goals that you would like your family to achieve in the new year and how your family can benefit.

When making out your healthy New Year’s goals, make sure they work best for your family. Start off with small goals that will lead to big goals. Have everyone write down what they would like to achieve or try in terms of eating healthy or starting a new exercise. Having everyone’s input makes it more fun and everyone has a hand in accomplishing each goal. After each goal is achieved, make it a celebration; even small accomplishments should be celebrated.

Making smart food choices is a great way to start your new year. In EFNEP, we talk to our participants about meal planning, food preparation, and the importance of label reading. Try making a family cookbook or recipe box. Include new recipes that you may want to try. Take a trip to your local produce stands to see what local farmers have in season. Each season can bring fresh, new ideas to the table. When making out your menu, make trying a new vegetable once a month a goal.

Physical activity can sometimes be a drain for some of us, but find what works for you. Remember, some activity is better than none. Don’t overwork your body; know your limits. For those of us who don’t work out regularly, maybe start off walking 15 minutes a day and adding a few stretches. As time progresses, try new activities at local centers or join a gym. Start a walking club with friends or co-workers. If you have small children, try to find activities you can participate in together. Use commercial breaks as a chance to get up and move. While doing physical activities, remember to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and stay away from sugary drinks.

No step is too small when it comes to making healthy changes. Small steps lead to big changes. Remember to have fun, and remember the goals you have in mind. Good luck on a great, successful, healthier new year.

For more information, contact Joanna Rogers, Extension Youth Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Assistant, at 910-671-3276, by email at Joanna_Rogers@ncsu.edu, or visit our website.

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