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New Year, Healthy start

Small steps lead to big change

A new year means another chance at a fresh start. For many people that means working out more and eating healthier. Setting goals like these are fantastic, but don’t let the enormity of them slow you down. Vincent Van Gough said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” You don’t need to go vegan – keto – or organic everything to see real progress. I’ve put together some small things you can incorporate into your already busy daily life that will snowball into great things for your health and wellness.

  1. Meal plan

Meal planning is the key to sticking with eating well and making healthier choices. Knowing what you have in your freezer and fridge and being able to pull together meals on busy nights avoids the easy-draw of a fast food restaurant. Simpler is better when you begin meal planning. I plan for one slow cooker meal per week, and two larger meals with the rest of the days being leftovers or sandwiches.

  1. Snack smart

Having something healthy around (that you like) is one way to avoid overeating. For me, that’s protein bars, almonds, or air-popped popcorn. For kids its applesauce, carrots and Greek yogurt ranch, slices of cheese and air-popped popcorn.

  1. Swap when you can

Experiment with swapping out higher calorie foods for more nutrient-dense foods. We have completely removed sour cream from our diet and only use plain fat-free Greek yogurt. I bake with it, make dips with it, and use it as sour cream. I once saw a saying that read: “Eat all the junk food you want, as long as you make it.” It’s inspired me to make baked French fries – almost every night! I love French fries and baking them has been a life saver for my nightly salty cravings.

  1. Cut the sugar where you can

Cutting sugar out of your diet is very hard for most people. Start small with eliminating sugar in your coffee and soda. Some of the areas we’ve tried to cut sugar out of recently are our breakfast syrup (try Waldon’s), barbeque sauce and spaghetti sauce.

  1. Don’t keep your fav junk food at home

I love potato chips. So much so that I cannot buy them for our home. I’ll eat them all! They are a trigger food for me, as are Oreos. When I do go out for lunch, I will pick up a small bag as a treat. Allowing certain foods to be treats outside of the home makes them fun and something to look forward to.

  1. Don’t skip breakfast

When you skip breakfast, your blood sugar drops, your metabolism slows and your stress hormones increase. I get it. Moms are busy getting littles out the door in the morning. Who has time for breakfast? I know. The best thing you can do is find something quick and easy that works for you. Prepping a crockpot full of oatmeal on Sundays or finding a protein smoothie recipe you can pull together quickly to drink in the car, can save you calories and headaches later on in the day.

  1. Drink up

Women are supposed to drink at least two liters of water in a day, more if you’re nursing. Proper hydration is necessary to keep your system functioning, and also help with losing weight. Buy a water bottle you love and keep that baby with you all day, so you can track how much water you’re drinking in a day.

Written by Brianna Ludwig

Brianna Ludwig

Brianna is a marketing professional who enjoys cooking, fitness and (mostly) healthy eating. She and her husband live in Bismarck with their two toddlers. Reach her at

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