(Family Features) - Whether it's fitting in time for exercise, packing tasty and nutritious snacks, or cooking a balanced meal at home, Americans are committing to healthy lifestyles. A recent survey conducted by Kelton Research found that as the new year approaches, health is on many Americans' minds - more than 50 percent of those surveyed are resolving to exercise or eat healthfully in the new year.
Kim Lyons, fitness trainer and star of NBC's "The Biggest Loser," applauds Americans' desires to commit to fitness and smart, nutritious diets. "There's no better time than the start of a new year to commit to an exercise plan or introduce healthier foods into your diet. Just a few small adjustments can help you stay on the road to a new self in 2008 and beyond," she says.
Lyons offers the following tips and tricks to help Americans keep their healthy New Year's resolutions.
Get moving: Feeling tired is not an excuse to sit on the sofa. Exercising actually gives you more energy because the body releases endorphins, "feel good" hormones, which result in a natural high. Try going for a 20 minute walk next time you are feeling sluggish.
Simple substitutions: Cut calories wherever you can. For example, swap whole or two percent milk for skim. Instead of ground beef, try JENNIE-O TURKEY STORE Extra Lean Ground Turkey, which has less fat and fewer calories.
A family affair: Make healthy eating fun for the whole family by getting the kids involved in mealtime preparation. Let the kids pick the menu from a few good-for-you meal options. When dinnertime rolls around they will be proud of their choice and will be excited to eat nutritious dishes.
Protein power: Your body uses more calories digesting protein than it does breaking down carbohydrates and fat. To optimize your metabolism and keep you feeling full longer, include protein choices like lean turkey, almonds or dry beans in meals and snacks.
Stay positive: Replace negative self-talk with inspirational mantras. For example, replacing "I can't do this" with "I'm getting better at this every day" will keep your mind motivated.
To remain on track, be realistic about your goals. It's more likely that you will commit to a healthy lifestyle by making changes gradually, rather than all at once. Try one new recipe each week, incorporating vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. Add exercise to your routine in a frequency that works for your life. If you can only start with one or two days a week, do what you can and work to increase your frequency gradually. Slowly but surely, these diet and lifestyle changes will add up and you will be on your way to a new you.