Get a Jump Start on the New Year

Potato Soup

The average person gains about 1 pound over the holiday season. That may be less than you might expect, but is still concerning if that weight is never lost. By middle age, a pound a year really adds up. So it's important to take action as soon as possible to drop that holiday weight. Knowing this, many people are starting to plan their goals and resolutions for the New Year. But as many of you may know, it can be challenging to know where to start when trying to pick realistic goals to achieve a healthier lifestyle filled with good nutrition and exercise. Follow these simple tips from the St. Louis District Dairy Council to start your new year with a healthier you!

Stay positive: Focus on foods you should be eating (3 servings of dairy, 5 cups of fruits/vegetables, and whole grains) rather than those you shouldn't be eating.

Plan ahead: Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy foods for all meals and snacks so you can resist the urge to eat out. Restaurants and fast food can derail your plans. Try these simple meal ideas that can be made in 30 minutes or less.

Monterey Jack Pizza (Makes 2 servings)


*1 (6 inch) whole wheat pita bread
*½ cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese
*2 (1/8- inch think) slices cooked deli chicken (1-oz each) cut into strips
*½ cup diced fresh pineapple or canned pineapple tidbits in its own juice, drained
*3 teaspoons pizza or pasta sauce
*2 teaspoons finely chopped green onion
*Chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Split pita into 2 rounds by placing pita flat on work surface and carefully cutting around the edge. Separate the 2 rounds and place, cut side up, on a work surface.

Spread each pita round with 1 ½ teaspoons of pizza sauce. Top each pita with half of the cheese, chicken, and pineapple, onion and parsley if desired.

Bake 8-10 min or until cheese is melted.

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 230, Total Fat: 7 grams, Calcium: 25% daily value, Protein: 20 grams

Low Fat Potato Soup

5 servings

Prep/total time: 30 min


*1 cup diced potato
*1 medium onion
*¼ cup chopped celery
*1 can (14.5 ounces) low sodium chicken broth
*1/8th teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
*3 Tablespoons cornstarch
*1 can (12 ounces) fat free evaporated milk, divided
*1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese


1) In a large sauce pan, combine potatoes, onion, celery, broth and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-18 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
2)Combine cornstarch and 1/4th evaporated milk until smooth; stir into potato mixture. Add remaining milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted. Yield:5 servings

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1 cup, calories: 178, Fat: 2 grams, Protein: 14 grams, Calcium: 40 %

Note: If/when you are eating out; focus on healthy choices. Many fast food and sit down restaurants are offering healthy dairy products -- particularly milk and yogurt -- as options for kids and adults. Yogurt as a side and milk as a beverage beat chips and soda any day. Also choose fruits, vegetables, and whole grains whenever possible.

Set specific goals: How many pounds do you want to lose? How many minutes will you exercise each week? I am only going to eat meals away from home 3 times a week compared to the 6 that I am now. Once you meet the goals you set; make a new list of goals.

Write it down: Make sure you're getting in your 3 servings of dairy, 5 cups of fruits/vegetables, 30 minutes of exercise etc. by keeping a log of your choices in a notebook or electronically.

Use the buddy system: Find a family member or friend to help you stick to your plan. Plan meals, shop, and cook together, exercise together, or just check in with each other about how things are going. Any type of support can help.

Make exercise part of your dairy routine: Healthy eating and exercise go hand in hand when you're trying to improve your health and fitness over the long term. Adding exercise to your day can help you achieve your goals faster than just dieting alone. You burn more calories, which can help you lose weight faster.

Forget the fad diets that make big promises -- achieving weight loss and better health is a marathon, not a sprint. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can decrease your risk of heart disease and diabetes and increasing that time to 45-60 minutes is needed for weight loss.

Follow these simple steps to get on the right track to a New Year's resolution you can keep. For more information on dairy, check out, or contact Kelly Maher R.D., L.D., with St. Louis District Dairy Council by calling 314-835-9668, or emailing at