New Year, 5 healthy new habits

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“Good habits are as addictive as bad habits, and a lot more rewarding.” Harvey Mackay

New Year. New habits.

None are huge tasks, but all these healthy habits will pay off. Tackle one at a time and enlist others – friends, family, co-workers – to help you and improve your chances of being successful. And, star small. If your goal is to walk 30 minutes a day, start out with 5 or 10 minutes and build on that.

These five healthy – and relatively simple — habits that can help make 2015 a healthier year:

Habit: Reduce How Much Salt You Consume.

Set a target of no more than 1,500 mg per day; that’s about ½ a teaspoon. Read the labels and look for how much sodium is inside what you are about to buy. When dining out, ask the server to remove the saltshaker from your table. At a fast food place, keep in mind the typical cheeseburger has some 1,300 mg of salt alone. Keep track of how much salt you use to help form this habit.

Habit: Walk. Walk. Walk.

Often we are told to walk 10,000 steps a day, or between four and five miles depending on your stride. That’s a lot of walking for someone who spends most of his or her working hours sitting in the cab of a truck. So, make a habit of walking as much as you can; 30 minutes a day is a doable goal.

Habit: Make Water Your Constant Companion.

Drinking as much water as you can is a healthy ideal, but let’s face it, drinking lots of water also means – for most of us anyhow – making more stops when you need to be driving. So, make a habit of substituting water for sugar and sodium-dense soda when possible and keep a refillable water bottle in your cab. Dining out, have a glass of water with your meal even if you also order something else to drink.

Habit: Cut Back Your Sugar Consumption.

Like salt, sugar is everywhere anymore. So, again, read the food labels. Sugar also wears disguises like: Anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup … You get the picture. So, have an apple instead of a candy bar. Drink diet soda instead of the regular kind, which can contain more than 130 calories. Use stevia instead of sugar.

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Habit: Eat a Healthy Breakfast.

Do your best to skip the “coffee and donut” routine when you start driving. Allow enough time to have as close to a sit-down breakfast of protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber. A healthy breakfast is like putting fuel in the tank for the rest of your day. So, consider: oatmeal (without a lot of brown sugar), yogurt and fruit, a healthy smoothie, eggs or high-fiber cereal.