Five, four, three, two . . .

Wait! Have you made your New Yearís Resolution yet? Better question - have you broken your New Yearís Resolution yet? A recent national survey reported that 65 percent of respondents report that they give up on their nutrition resolutions within the first three months of the year. Plan now to avoid New Yearís resolution disappointments by changing your eating attitude. Start slowly and develop a plan you can live with. Base your resolution on long-term solutions rather than short term fixes.

-- Focus on the "do"

-- Concentrate on making healthier choices

-- Focus on enjoying feeling better, healthier and more energized

-- Establish flexible, short-term, attainable goals

-- Leave room for indulgences

-- Adopt an eating plan that encourages variety

-- Emphasize healthy eating and exercise

New yearís resolutions you can keep

It may be a new year, but the nutrition guidelines are still the same: your daily calories should consist of no more than 30 percent fat, 10 percent saturated fat, 300 mg cholesterol and 4000 mg sodium. So why are Americans still eating too much fat, too much cholesterol, too much salt, too much sugar, too much, period? One reason is that itís tough to translate those far-reaching recommendations into tomorrowís meals.

To make life easier, weíve identified several specific steps to a healthier diet - steps that donít require a food analysis kit! So get out your list of excuses and cross off "donít know what changes to make." Itís easier than you think.

Learn to read food labels. Food labels are a consumerís best source of nutrition information. Whether you are trying to eat less fat or more calcium, the Nutrition Facts Panel can help you. Use labels to compare the nutrition of similar foods and to choose foods for an overall diet thatís varied, moderate and balanced.

Cut your portion sizes in half. It is not always WHAT you are eating, but rather HOW MUCH. Remember - extra calories, from any food source, are stored as fat.

Look at your plate as a pie chart. Fill 80 percent of your plate with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Reserve 20 percent for protein foods (lean meats, dairy or legumes), higher fat goodies.

Drink at least eight cups of water each day. This will help keep you hydrated and may even help to stave off snacking.

Plan meals and snacks ahead of time. If you stick to your plan, youíll avoid overeating.

A weighted issue

Having just turned the corner on the most food-obsessed time of the year, many people are heading straight for diet season. If you are among the many new yearís resolution dieters, you may need to watch more than your waistline. The promotion of nutrition misinformation has become a multi-billion dollar business: Americans spend more than $30 billion in the weight loss industry every year on diet plans and gimmicks that donít work.

Thereís almost no end to the nutrition tests and treatments, special food and food supplements, pills, gadgets, diets, books and magazines that are produced daily to take advantage of the publicís new health and fitness awareness. Because there are virtually no laws to regulate the diet craze, most of these items only create false hope and slim the wallets (not bodies) of the people who use them. Your cash is better left in your wallet if the product or service:

-- Claims or implies a large or fast weight loss (more than one to two pounds per week)

-- Implies weight can be lost and maintained without exercise and other lifestyle changes

-- Is described as miraculous, a breakthrough, exclusive, ancient . . .

-- Relies heavily on undocumented case histories, before and after photos, and testimonials

-- Is sold by self-proclaimed health advisers or "nutritionists," selling the product door-to-door

The best advice: Aim for a healthier you - the trimmer you will come. Work on making small dietary changes each day, and donít forget to include physical activity in your daily routine. Seek the advice of a nutrition expert. For a Registered Dietitian nearest you, just contact the American Dietetic Association at (800-366-1655 or

Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at