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New year, new resolve

Published:Wednesday | January 20, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Charlyn Fargo, Contributor

Make the decision to eat at least one more fruit each day.

Oh, the New Year helps us renew our resolve for better living, healthier eating, more motivation to exercise. Take advantage of that. We can all make changes in our lifestyle, especially with food. The older we get, the more important daily choices become. Here are a few tips to make some positive changes:

1. Forget the big goals. Take small steps toward a smaller goal. Don't think about losing 15 pounds. Shoot for two pounds this week. Think about how you can cut 500 calories a day - give up a cookie, soda or French fries. Make a goal to work out three times this week. Make a goal of eating at least one fruit a day or to eat a dark, green leafy vegetable. That could be a huge step to make a change for the better. Switch from white rice to brown rice; try whole-wheat bread instead of white bread.

2. Write it all down to make it concrete. It helps you be accountable to yourself. Stick with a plan for two weeks, and reward yourself with a new pair of tennis shoes.

3. Take an honest inventory of yourself. Where are you now and where do you want to be at the start of 2011? Real change happens when you really want it.

4. Be patient with yourself. Those extra pounds didn't appear overnight and they won't melt away overnight. Start some healthy habits. Weigh yourself weekly so you track your progress.

5. Learn about the change you want to make. Want to cook healthier? Subscribe to a cooking magazine or take a cooking class. Start reading labels for foods lower in sodium and fat. Learn new ways to flavour food with herb and spice blends. Sign up for a new exercise class. Learn what yoga can do for you. Sign up for a running club or renew your membership to a fitness club and find out what's new in fitness.

Red meat and vitamin B12

Q: Is it true that people who don't eat red meat should get vitamin B-12 injections?

A: No. Seafood is just as high or higher in vitamin B12 as beef and pork. Poultry, eggs and dairy products are also good sources of B12. Vegetarians can meet their B12 needs with several daily servings of dairy products or eggs.

However, vegans - those who eat no animal products at all - need B12-fortified foods (such as fortified soy milk and some cereals and nutritional yeast products), since no unfortified plant foods (including fermented soy foods) are reliable sources. It's important to note that most people who don't eat enough of those foods can still meet their B12 needs with an oral supplement, without need for injections.

The people likely to need B12 injections are those who had weight-loss surgery or have diseases such as celiac or Crohn's disease.

- American Institute for Cancer Research

Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian at www.creators.com.