New Year, New You!!!

New Year, New You, New life
New Year, New Plans. Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash

Breaking old habits after a new year has started…

New year, New You…Or should I say New Year, New Us?  Here we are starting the year again, it’s always a lovely feeling to make another year here with my family.  I usually count my new year on my birthday, which is literally the new year for individuals, our birthdays.  Since we are currently 2 months into our New Calendar year, some have held on to their promises made to themselves for renewal on life, health, eating habits, exercise, etc. 

However, surely many have already regressed.  Which is why making a new year’s resolution that includes eating right/healthier is probably not a good Idea!  It’s better to learn healthy eating habits and make them a part of your lifestyle, therefore there’s not a need for a resolution to eat healthily.  It’s not easy, but small steps can lead to big results.

Salads and fresh eating can be tremendous at helping you with transforming into  a new you!
Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

Salads, salads, salads, and more salads.

Salads can prove to be a definite way to shave calories off of your day, as well as add more fiber and vegetables to your diet. They can contain a variety of nearly calorie negligent ingredients, that are both tasty and filling.  However, the wrong choice of dressing can make all your efforts go down the drain.  Especially if you decide to have a salad at your local fast food joint.

  I’ve seen dressings with as much as 250 calories per serving, this was actually at chick fil a.  So you definitely have to pay attention to the calories on the nutrition label.  Usually, a rule of thumb is, if it’s creamy it’s probably a calorie bomb.  Vinaigrette can be lower in calories, but you still have to pay attention to the calories when choosing them. 

My suggestion would be to mix your own dressings and/or vinaigrette, that way you’re in charge of the ingredients. It can also be tailored more for your personal taste. But If you don’t have time for that, there are some decent options available in stores, you just need to pay attention to the labels. 

The three top ingredients found in the dressing should be vinegar, oil, and water.  Often when reading labels while searching out dressings, you will notice that a lot of the calories are coming from fat. But as long as it’s healthy fats, a little will not hurt. Healthy fats will assist in making you feel fuller for longer periods. 

Obviously, it’s better to choose a dressing, in its full form, with lower calories. Not low fat, some light dressings are good, but some aren’t worth the bother. It’s also best to drizzle the dressing on your salad since drenching will cause you to use more than necessary. 

Label examples

I will use two brands to compare a few differences. If you take the time to read the labels, you will be able to do this with many different brands you find in your local Supermarket. One is Ken’s steak house dressing which is a very popular brand. You can find their dressing in some restaurants, as well as supermarkets. They also have many different flavors to choose from. The other is Wishbone, which also has many flavors available. A few popular flavors available are Buttermilk ranch, Honey Mustard, and Italian.

Ken’sButtermilk ranch is 170cal, and 19g of fat, and 250mg of sodium per 2tbsp.

Ken’s “House Italian”  contains 90cal, 420mg of sodium and 8g of fat/2tbsp.  Due to it containing high sodium, if you have hypertension, you might want to stay away from this one. Or not use it often.

Ken’s Light Italian is 45cal 410mg of sodium and 4.5g of fat/2tbsp. It’s very watery, and you almost need double the serving. Which makes it not worth the effort, since you use double the calories. It also contains a high level of sodium.

Ken’s lite Ranch contains 70cal and 7g of fat/2tbsp and it has 310mg/serving, which is a bit higher than Ken’s buttermilk ranch.

Ken’s honey mustard contains 130 cal, 140mg of sodium and 11g of fat/ 2Tbsp

Wish-Bone Italian dressing has been my favorite since I was a teen, it has 80cals and 7g of fat/ 2tbsp, and sodium 340mg, slightly lower than Ken’s Italian.

Although Ken’s ranch dressing is tasty, it contains far too many calories per serving, therefore, I’d choose Wish-Bone’s version of both ranch and Italian. The dressing I choose also depends on what kind of salad I’m having. If I’m having breaded chicken, eggs, and cheese added to it, then I’d opt for a vinaigrette, or lower calorie Italian dressing. If it’s just veggies such as lettuce, carrot, cucumber, tomato, onion then maybe I’d go with a serving of ranch if that’s what I’m craving. Balance is key.

Portion sizes are very important. so, paying attention to the serving sizes, and calories of your meal choices will make a big difference.

More Yogurt

Greek yogurt is packed with protein, that’s 12g/serving to be exact. It’s A great source of calcium which helps with bone strength.  It also helps the digestive system by adding probiotics (bacteria/healthy flora) to your gut.  Since it’s high in protein, it should help with satiety.  Although it’s better to cut out snacking completely when doing a lifestyle change, a healthy snack can be a better option for those who need to ease their way into the change.  Greek yogurt can be a healthy and tasty snack by itself or paired with a few graham crackers.  I prefer the unsweetened yogurt, therefore I can spice it up how I like.  I usually add Splenda, or honey and cinnamon.  But you can add honey, blackstrap molasses, agave nectar, or even pineapples in 100% fruit juice, adding a bit of the juice for flavor.

Plain low-fat Greek yogurt is also a great alternative to sour cream, removing calories and adding more protein to whatever you like! Next time you have a baked potato, or tacos, use a dollop of plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

Sneaking in the veggies

Some children love vegetables, and others don’t.  For example, My son who’s 2 years old loves vegetables, including salads.  He likes the fact he’s eating his colors.  We’ve made it a game with him, he calls the color of the vegetable as he eats them.  My 7year old daughter is not a big fan of many vegetables, however, it doesn’t mean she’s not eating them.  If she had her choice it would be only corn on the cob or raw carrots with dressing.  But I’ve found a way to sneak more variety in. 


  • I’ve made Butternut squash Gnocchi (they’re like dumplings) by hand and served it with chicken and gravy, she loved it. 
  • I’ve also made veg lasagna with meat sauce. Only the top and bottom layers were pasta, the middle was layered with eggplant, yellow and green zucchini, cheeses and meat sauce, she didn’t complain.
  •  Squash casserole is another option, it’s not exactly sneaky but if made right, it’s reminiscent of mac and cheese, sans the mac. 
  • Finely chop match stick carrots into sloppy joes, and/or tacos they will eat it up, without even knowing. 
  • Spaghetti with eggplant sauce. I roast 2 eggplants to make the sauce. they’ll eat it without knowing they’re having a healthy serving of veggies.  You can add chicken and/or shrimp to this and it is yummy!
  •  Lettuce taco wraps are another great option.  When I first made these, my daughter was curious.  So the second time I made them, I made one for her also, and she really enjoyed it.  Now Everyone at the table has 1reg taco using a taco shell, and one taco lettuce wrap.  A taco lettuce wrap is made using whole leaf romaine lettuce instead of a taco shell, and fill it with everything you would normally put on your taco, wrap and enjoy.
  •  Seaweed snacks, they’re hard to keep around, both kids love them. They’re tasty and very low cal. Yes, I pay attention to calories even when it comes to the kids, especially since I know they have the body type that’s easier to gain weight.

These are a few Ideas to make it easier to help the whole family eat healthier.  You shouldn’t have the need to make two meals at every dinner. 

Exercise that doesn’t break you:

RollerBlading, or rollerskating is an effective method to transform into a new you.
Photo by Mack Fox (MusicFox) on Unsplash

We can all benefit from more exercise.  If you live in a pedestrian-friendly city, you have a real benefit.  You can walk to the supermarket, convenience store, shopping district, take public transportation, and get off before your usual stop and walk home.  One doesn’t have to become a runner to enjoy open exercise outdoors, not everyone has joints equipped for running.  Another option can be to join a gym and ask an attendant to help you with using equipment, planet fitness is great for this, they’re also extremely affordable.  But if you lack the time or desire to go to the gym, there are many low impact exercises that can be done in exchange.


Walking is a low impact activity.  I don’t even know if it should be considered an activity since it is so necessary for survival.  We have to walk around to perform menial tasks, throughout our daily lives.  If you live in a pedestrian-unfriendly city or town, more effort has to be made to perform this activity.  But there’s no need to feel like it’s impossible.  Since you have to put more of an effort to walk a distance, you appreciate the effort more.

Walking has cardio benefits, however, in order to burn a substantial amount of calories one has to walk a few miles. According to ( ), one burns between 65 and 100 calories/mile. The heavier you are the more calories you burn while walking. Although you might have to walk further distance to burn more calories, but that’s more time to either think, enjoy listening to music, or a book, or even enjoy conversation with a loved one.  One thing I like to incorporate into my walks are ankle weights, 2lb ankle weights will do the trick, otherwise using too much weight will put more stress on the joints.  If you already have knee problems, you’d probably just want to skip the weights.


A favorite of and my daughter’s and mine.  Both Ice and roller skating can be a great cardio exercise.  In 1hr skaters burn 548-683 calories, of course, it depends on speed and intensity of your skating. Weight and metabolism also play a factor. According to livehealthy.chron ( ), a 160lb person will burn approximately 548 cal/hr, and a 200lb person can burn up to 683 cal/hr. Skating is an amazing workout.  While skating you work muscles that you’re not used to working, unless you are a habitual skater. Most muscles are engaged, such as Glutes, quads, calves, hamstrings, and core. If you use proper form while skating, your arms are also engaged. The great thing about roller skating is, you can absolutely do it outdoors. Just remember to wear protective gear.


Swimming has a great benefit, you work all muscles in your body and you use your arms, so it’s really a great exercise. According to (, a 130lb person can burn between 413 and 590 cal/hr, swimming freestyle, depending on speed. The calories burned per hour is also increased, depending on the weight of the individual. If you don’t own a pool, or live in a subdivision with one, a membership might be costly.  However, if you are lucky to live in a city with parks and recreation pools, the membership is more affordable, but it could be limiting since you might have to rely on weather conditions to swim outdoors. But if they have an indoor pool the weather wouldn’t be an issue.


This might require the purchase of a bike, but if you enjoy the outdoors, it could be a purchase well worth the money.  According to calories burned hq ( ) Cyclist burn between 450 and 750 calories per hour of cycling. Calories burned also depends on speed and weight. Its low impact, and easy on the joints.  Cycling is also dependent on weather conditions, since it is done outdoors. Just remember to wear protective gear, mainly, a helmet while cycling.

Getting started

Once you are ready to implement your plan, it’s a good idea to start slow.  If you have a weight loss goal, try to make small goals and increase as you go.  For example: you need to lose a total of 25lbs, you would focus on losing your first 5 lbs. and then your next  5lbs, and so forth.  Tackling a weightloss goal of 25lbs can be a bit challenging, as well as, feel unattainable for some.  So, making smaller goals becomes more realistic and attainable, in the end you meet your goal by shedding 5lbs x5. 

Start moving at least 3days/week with the  long term goal of 5days/week.  As you get used to it, you will look forward to your daily walks, etc.

Celebrate small victories, not exactly by overeating, but you can reward yourself.  Maybe allow yourself a cookie, or a serving of gelato.  A proper gelato has lower calories and fat than regular ice cream, containing less cream than your average Ice cream. Frozen yogurt is also a treat that you can reward yourself with, it’s low calorie and delicious! The key is to pay attention to serving sizes.  If the serving suggests two cookies, only allow yourself one or two, not 3 or 4.  Remember, too much deprivation, might cause you to slip into old habits.

What were your New year’s resolutions?  Did you make any? Are you keeping your end of the bargain?  Comment below!  Until next time…


  1. Greek Yogurt Nutrition | Dannon® Oikos®. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  2. Ken’s Foods | Salad Dressings & Marinades | Official Site. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  3. Wish-Bone® Dressing | Salad Dressings, Marinades and More. (n.d.). Retrieved from
About Meke Montuori 7 Articles
Meke is a former Respiratory therapist and sleep technologist, with a background in Chemistry. S he currently works as a Health and medical writer, while living In South Carolina with her husband, two children, and two dogs.


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