Commit to Small, Healthy Changes in 2017

By Laura Coti Garrett, Guest Blogger


Laura Coti Garrett is a Registered Dietitian and Chairwoman for the 2017 Northern NJ Go Red For Women Luncheon.

New Year’s resolutions are about goals. When we are younger, our goals are obvious: Do your homework, get an A on a test, and get into college. When we finish that phase of life, our goals aren’t as explicitly set out for us. If you don’t deliberately set concrete goals, a whole year can slip by without attaining what you hoped to achieve.

Cue the distant echo of party horns, fireworks and festive ball-drops: Happy New Year!

We’ll begin 2017 by breaking down big goals into smaller, attainable achievements. For instance, if your house is a mess and your resolution is to clean your whole house, that’s a big goal. So, break it down, starting with the worst room in the house. Let’s say it’s the kitchen, begin, one cabinet at a time. It’s a metaphor for decluttering your life, people!

Instead of saying you need to lose 20 pounds, commit to being more conscious of portion sizes and weighing yourself every day. If you don’t exercise, commit to three days a week. If you already exercise 20 minutes a day, make it 30 minutes. You’re likely to go farther when you take smaller steps.  If you lack discipline, put it on the calendar. At the end of every month, look back and assess.

One of my 2017 goals is to stretch every morning. I already exercise five or six days a week and I do stretch after that. But, I want to add that morning stretch because my joints are telling me to. Okay, they’re begging and I need to listen.

That morning alarm is like the gunshot starting a race. We need to give ourselves a deep cleansing breath in the morning, get on the floor, and stretch. In less than five minutes, you can feel – and hear – your body crack back into place. Don’t tell me you don’t have time. You have time to brush your teeth, take a shower, and put that cream on your face. This, too, is about taking care of your body.

So is eating healthfully (you know what I’m going to say) by planning in advance. This is an achievable goal. This month, I’m all about soups. Store bought soups are typically full of salt. When you make your own, you keep the sodium level under control. Stick with fresh cut vegetables and broth-based soups. That way, even if your kids don’t eat the vegetables, they’ll get the nutrients. I know, very crafty!

There are so many benefits to homemade soup. When I make soup and my kids are enjoying it, I feel I’ve taken care of them in a special way. I’ve updated my mom’s soup, we call it Grandma’s Soup, and I love adding white pinto beans for a fiber boost. Make a big pot, serve leftovers, freeze it, and have soup as a snack on a cold day or as another meal.

Enjoy, be well, and stay warm. I’ll see you next month when we’ll talk heart health!  And don’t forget we’re celebrating women’s heart health at the 8th Annual Northern NJ Go Red For Women Luncheon on Thursday, February 23.  I’m excited to chair to this wonderful event and will also be doing a live cooking demonstration.  Visit for tickets and sponsorship information.


Laura Coti Garrett is a Registered Dietitian and Chairwoman for the 2017 Northern NJ Go Red For Women Luncheon. This post is part of a monthly series featuring Laura’s healthy eating tips.

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