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Tips for a healthier diet and lifestyle in 2020

When it comes to achieving health resolutions in the new year, a recent WalletHub study ranked the city of Greensboro 126 out of 182 cities.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — It's easy to make New Year's resolutions focused on health. The hard part is keeping them. In fact, studies show, about 80-percent of New Year's resolutions fail by the second week of February. But, before you blame yourself entirely for not reaching New Year's resolution goals in the past, you might want consider placing some of the blame on your neighborhood. 

A recent WalletHub study ranked the best and worst cities for keeping New Year's resolutions.Researchers compared 182 cities across five key dimensions: health resolutions, financial resolutions, school and work resolutions, bad-habit resolutions, and relationship resolutions. When it comes to achieving health resolutions in the new year, the city of Greensboro ranked 126 out of 182 cities.

If you set a New Year's resolution to be healthier in 2020, You're not alone. A recent Ipsos public opinion survey of 2,011 Americans on behalf of Urban Plates shows that 38-percent of Americans set New Year's resolutions in 2020. Out of those surveyed, about 51-percent plan on eating healthier for the new year. 

If you're looking for a way to stick to a healthy diet in 2020, you might want to consider participating in a heart-healthy cooking class. The American Heart Association is also offering new healthy cooking classes at the Historic Magnolia House located at 442 Gorrell Street in Greensboro.

"We are very excited," said Chef N’Gai Dickerson with The American Heart Association’s Triad Mobile Kitchen. "Thanks to Healthy Blue, the new Medicaid plan from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the AHA's Triad Mobile Kitchen has been able to acquire a new "home kitchen" here at the Historic Magnolia House and we are expanding healthy cooking classes to communities in need across the Triad."

The American Heart Association will be holding a heart-healthy cooking class at the Historic Magnolia House on Thursday, January 23rd from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. During the class, you will learn knife skills and cook chicken roti. The best part is: the cooking class is free. For more information, click here. You can also contact Chef N'Gai Dickerson at 336-905-3348 or ngai.dickerson@heart.org.

The American Heart Association also recommends the following healthy-eating tips for healthy adults and children older than age 2 as well as people who already have health problems, such as coronary artery disease , diabetes , metabolic syndrome , or heart failure:

  • Eat a variety of fruit and vegetable servings every day. Dark green, deep orange, or yellow fruits and vegetables are especially nutritious. Examples include spinach, carrots, peaches, and berries.
  • Eat a variety of grain products every day. Include whole-grain foods that have lots of fiber and nutrients. Examples of whole grains include oats, whole wheat bread, and brown rice.
  • Eat fish at least 2 times each week. Oily fish, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, are best for your heart. These fish include tuna, salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, and sardines.
  • Stay at a healthy weight by balancing the amount of calories you eat with the activity you do every day. If you want to lose weight, increase your activity level to burn more calories than you eat.
  • Eat foods low in saturated fat and trans fat . Try to choose the following foods: Lean meats and meat alternatives like beans or tofu. Fish, vegetables, beans, and nuts.Nonfat and low-fat dairy products. Polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, like canola and olive oils, to replace saturated fats, such as butter. 
  • Read food labels and limit the amount of trans fat you eat. Trans fat raises the levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol and also lowers high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good") cholesterol in the blood. Trans fat is found in many processed foods made with shortening or with partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated vegetable oils. These foods include cookies, crackers, chips, and many snack foods.
  • Limit sodium. Most people get far more sodium than they need. Try to limit how much sodium (salt) you eat. For good health, less is best. This is especially important for people who are at risk for or already have high blood pressure. Try to limit the amount of sodium you eat to less than 2,400 milligrams (mg) a day. If you limit your sodium to 1,500 mg a day, you can lower your blood pressure even further. And if you can't reach these goals right now, try to eat 1,000 mg less sodium a day than you are now eating.
  • Limit alcohol intake to 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women.
  • Limit drinks and foods with added sugar.
  • When you are eating away from home, try to follow these heart-healthy guidelines.

Special considerations include the following:

  • Older people: As you age, you do not usually need to eat as many calories. Although the general dietary guidelines remain the same, older people should be careful to choose foods rich in nutrients to meet their nutritional needs without too many calories.
  • Children: Children over the age of 2 can follow the AHA diet and lifestyle recommendations and maintain normal growth while lowering their risk of heart disease in the future.
  • People with kidney disease: Cardiovascular disease can develop in people who lose normal function of their kidneys. If you have kidney disease, you may need to limit some nutrients including protein and sodium. 

Other heart-healthy diets:

  • Other heart-healthy eating plans are the DASH diet, the TLC diet, and the Mediterranean diet.