Eat Well to Be Well: 22 simple ways to be healthier in 2022 – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Eat Well to Be Well: 22 simple ways to be healthier in 2022

Say goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022! Father Time keeps ticking away with the arrival of another New Year with new possibilities affecting your life and health. Speaking of health, what plans do you have for restoring or maintaining your health this coming year and what steps will you take to reach your goals?

One thing we learned over the past two years is good health matters. COVID-19 continues to take a toll, especially on individuals with chronic health conditions, a blunt reminder that getting and staying healthy has always had distinct advantages. However, gaining good health doesn’t just happen. It takes daily dedication of practicing regular healthy habits with a lot of self-discipline added to this mix.

To start your New Year with good health in mind, here’s a list of 22 simple ways to get healthier with minimal effort:

1. Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables. High in nutrients, low in calories and carbohydrates, these valuable veggies include asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, peppers, radishes, squash, spinach, Swiss chard, tomatoes, and zucchini.

2. Drink more water. Water is calorie and sugar-free and essential for good health. A good guide for daily water intake is to divide your weight in half and aim for that number in fluid ounces. For example, someone who weighs 150 pounds should aim for at least 75 ounces or about nine, 8-ounce glasses a day.

3. Stay flexible. Every day, do some sort of stretching routine to keep your body and joints flexible and strong.

4. Dedicate at least 5 minutes of your lunch break to walking. This will keep you more active and is a great stress reliever and mood enhancer.

5. Drink green tea. One of the healthiest beverages you can drink, green tea is packed with antioxidants helping you fight free radicals shown to increase disease and speed aging.

6. Brush and floss your teeth. Get in the habit of brushing and flossing twice a day.

7. Avoid sugar beverages. Sugary sodas are bad for your health and loaded with added sugar. If you drink a lot of soda, opt for healthier beverages such as water, unsweetened tea, coffee, or green tea.

8. Go to bed 10 minutes earlier. By the end of the week, you’ll add an extra 70 minutes of sleep. Keep it up all year and you’ll have slept 60 hours more. Imagine how well-rested you’ll feel.

9. Make a grocery list before you shop. This can help you make healthier decisions when shopping and prevent impulse buying. Studies have also shown that grocery lists can help you eat healthier.

10. Limit screen time. This includes screen usage from cell phones, TV, computers, laptops, and other devices. Estimate your average screen time per day and aim to reduce it by half.

11. Eat sitting down. Sitting down while you eat can help you process hunger signals better and eat less food overall.

12. Work on your posture by keeping your head up. Several times a day, do a “posture check.” It helps if you pretend (or for real) balancing a book on top of your head and avoid slouching.

13. Unplug from technology an hour before bedtime. If you suffer from poor sleep, try avoiding technology – cell phones, laptops, TV, and other devices. Devices such as these emit blue light which can keep you up longer.

14. Always keep moving throughout the day. Even if you’re already exercising, if you spend long periods of time being inactive, it can be bad for your health.

15. Mind your manners. Saying “please”, “excuse me” and “thank you” can go a long way when interacting with others. It demonstrates respect and appreciation, and never goes out of style.

16. Enjoy yourself when exercising. Have fun with whatever form of movement you like best.

17. Everyday take time to relax. Everyone has different versions of relaxation. For example, some like to read, meditate, pray, go for a walk, or do a hobby. What is it that helps you feel less stress and more at ease? Discover what that may be and then take at least 10 minutes a day doing just that.

18. Get your age appropriate preventative exams. Make sure you are up-to-date on health maintenance exams such as mammograms, prostate checks, blood pressure, a yearly physical, and others.

19. Make sure you get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for the immune system and overall well-being. Studies have shown that over half of all American may be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. Go outdoors for daily sunshine (it helps our body produce vitamin D), eat foods rich in vitamin D like salmon, milk, egg yolks, and liver, and consult with your doctor if you’re considering a vitamin D supplement.

20. Find a new hobby. If you find yourself bored or feeling depressed due to lack of stimulation and socializing, it’s time to find a new hobby. What interest do you have or what would you like to learn more about? Take the time to research your interest and then make a plan to get started enjoying this new adventure.

21. Take a news break. Yes, it’s important to be informed. But watching, listening to or reading the news today is more an emotional experience than ever before. Being informed doesn’t mean having to endure constant doom and gloom. Instead, check in with current news of the day just once or twice (at the most) in small 10 to 15 minute increments rather than spending hours absorbing the negativity.

2022! Appreciate everything you have. It can be hard sometimes to be grateful for what life has dealt you. But being thankful for your life and the people, who mean the most to you, is a good start for recognizing what you have to be appreciative for.

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in dietetics and nutrition from the University of Kansas, and a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and institutional management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for local clinics, an adjunct professor at an area community college where she teaches basic nutrition, and a freelance health and nutrition writer. She is the author of The Nourished Brain: The Latest Science On Food’s Power For Protecting The Brain From Alzheimers and Dementia, The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook and The Heart Disease Prevention Cookbook,. Visit her website at

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