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New year, new you! Smart food choices add up to a healthier, happier you!

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The holidays are officially over. Most schools are back in session after the holiday break, employees are returning to work after vacation. Perhaps after all the unrestricted eating that is traditionally part of holiday celebrations, you have noticed unwanted pounds and resolved to lose weight and eat healthier. Taking charge and making small changes in your diet and eating habits could equal a big payoff, don't delay.

Try reducing salt, sugar and butter as a first step. Add in a piece of fruit at breakfast time. Fruit is a low calorie, nutrient rich way to replace fats and unhealthy breakfast foods. With a bit of practice, you can manipulate most of your favorite recipes by replacing fatty, ingredients with better choices. For instance, the oil in a cake mix can be replaced with applesauce! Who would have thought.... be creative and compare notes with friends for even more ideas. Pinterest, the online organizing board, is a great source of diet and fitness ideas. You may want to create a group board with like-minded friends to have a central place to share your ideas and hints.

Remember, small changes over time are much more effective in the long run than trying to restrict yourself to a low calorie, unrealistic diet. Below are links to fabulous healthy, reduced calorie recipes and healthy eating ideas to get you started. Best of luck and please be sure to comment on this article if you have any tips for improving health through diet and eating habits, please do be so kind as to share with other readers!

Healthy eating links:

- Healthy 30-Minute meals (Oprah.com)

- How to curb your cold weather cravings (Oxygen Magazine)

- 10 rules for healthy eating (Oprah.com)

- Healthy entree recipes (MedicineNet.com)

- Making healthy food choices (American Diabetes Association)

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