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Are You on Track for a Healthier You in 2017?

Are you finding it hard to stick to your New Year's Resolution to lose weight? Here are some tips to help you get back on track and resolve to improve your overall health.

Nashville, Ark. – Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight and eat healthier in 2017? If you are like most Americans, you may be finding it hard to stick to those resolutions. Here are some tips to help you get back on track and resolve to improve your overall health.

  • Eat breakfast. Many people think they can lose weight if they just skip breakfast. Not so! You may lose some weight initially, but keeping it off will be easier if you start your day with a healthy breakfast. Try making a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, low-fat cheese, salsa and a whole wheat tortilla. Or try a parfait or smoothie with low-fat yogurt and fruit.
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables add color, texture, flavor and many of the vitamins and minerals not found in other foods.  Plus much of the fiber in our diet comes from these foods. Strive to get at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables every day!
  • Watch portion sizes. Americans tend to eat too much! Use measuring cups to measure how much you are eating. Remember, portion size is the amount you choose to eat. Serving sizes are suggested amounts you should be eating. Find out serving sizes at
  • Be active. With warmer weather, there is no reason to stay inside. Get outside and play with your children or go for a walk. Walking is one of the best exercises around. Check out Walk Across Arkansas at Spring walk begins February 27!
  • Fix healthy snacks. Think snacking is off limits because you are trying to lose weight? Think again! Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources such as low-fat cheese, yogurt, peanut butter or nuts.
  • Read food labels. Compare foods by reading the nutrition facts label on food items. Pay special attention to fats, carbohydrates, and sugar. Look for higher protein and high fiber foods.
  • Get cooking. You can control calories, fat and carbs by preparing your meals at home from scratch. If you need help improving your cooking skills, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517. Basic cooking classes are offered periodically.
  • Dine out without sabotaging your diet. All restaurants offer healthy foods. The key is to plan ahead, ask questions and choose carefully. Look for words such as grilled, baked, broiled or steamed instead of fried.
  • Drink more water! Cut back on sugary drinks! Water does a much better job of quenching your thirst than sugary drinks. Water is especially important for older adults.
  • Make mealtime family time. Turn off the TV, sit at the dining table, banish the phones from the table and enjoy eating together as a family. Involve your children in meal planning and preparation. Teach them the life skill of cooking and good nutrition. Set the example!
  • Explore new foods. Add more nutrition to your diet by expanding your range of food choices. When shopping, add a new fruit, vegetable or food that you don’t normally eat. Who know, you might find a new favorite food!

            Finally, recommit to getting healthy in 2017. There are numerous tools to help you stay on track. Check them out at or visit the Howard County Extension Office located on the second floor of the courthouse.

            Information for this article was adapted from a similar article from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Recipe of the Week

            This recipe is a great source of protein, low in fat, sodium and calories. It also tastes great and is easy to prepare. Just add a salad, steamed broccoli and glazed carrots for a complete meal.

Sautéed Chicken

4 (6 oz.) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup fat-free chicken broth OR ½ cup broth and ½ cup wine

1 ½ teaspoons dried herbs de Provence

1 teaspoon butter

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

            Place each chicken breast half between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a mallet or rolling pin, pound until fillets are ½” thick. Season chicken with salt and pepper.

            Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Cook chicken about 6-7 minutes on each side or until done. Remove the chicken and keep warm.

            Add garlic to the pan and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Deglaze the pan with the broth or win then add herbs de Provence. Allow sauce to come to a boil while stirring the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until mixture is reduced by about half – 2 to 3 minutes.

            Remove pan from heat and stir in butter and lemon juice. Serve the pan juice over the chicken. Yield 4 servings.

Note: Herbs de Provence is an herb mixture that contains rosemary, marjoram, basil, bay leaf, thyme and lavender. You can substitute any single herb or combination that you like. Herbs de Provence is found in the spice aisle. It may also be used on fish or vegetables.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 248, Fat 8g, Protein 40g, Carbohydrates 1g, Fiber .5g, Sodium 376 mg.

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.