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Off to a Healthy Start by Johanna Hicks



Off to a Healthy Start

               You have probably heard, “New Year, New You.”  I, for one, prefer being myself, but there are some improvements that can be made. The start of the new year is the perfect time to establish new goals, habits, and a healthy lifestyle.  Teas A&M AgriLife Extension Service recommends starting this year off on the right foot by getting active and eating right!

               Lack of time or a busy life doesn’t have to stand in the way of healthy habits.  According to Extension’s “Walk Across Texas” program, 30 minutes a day is all it takes to start the journey of improving your health.  Physical activities that increase your heart rate and get you moving can range anywhere from moderate to vigorous, depending on the level of intensity you want to achieve.  Everyday activities such as cleaning, gardening, taking the stairs, or even raking the leaves counts as exercise.  Additional exercises include:

  • Walking
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Water aerobics
  • Biking on level ground
  • Running or jogging
  • Swimming laps
  • Shooting basketball hoops with the kids

Besides aiding in weight loss, exercising regularly can increase energy levels and strength, and reduce stress.  In addition to helping you feel better overall, physical activity has also been proven to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, while helping to maintain healthy blood pressure, or reduce high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes.

If you’re new to the active lifestyle, remember to start slow and set manageable goals for yourself.  Like losing weight, getting in shape doesn’t happen overnight.  Here are some recommendations for those just beginning their fitness journey:

  • Get out of your comfort zone.
  • Establish specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals.
  • Try different workout activities to minimize boredom and increase muscle strength.
  • Keep your body fueled properly with healthy foods.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Dress for comfort.
  • Get up and stretch at work to prevent being sore or stiff.

In order to achieve maximum results and become healthier, supplementing your exercise with healthy foods is key.  Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s “Dinner Tonight” offers a variety of delicious snacks, meals, and desserts that are low in calorie and high in nutrition.  Sometimes even small changes in your favorite recipes make tremendous differences in terms of calories and fat.  Eating healthy doesn’t mean giving up flavor.  “Dinner Tonight” offers some substitutions for healthier ingredients:

–        Replace butter with unsweetened applesauce in recipes

–        Reduce sugar by 1/3 cup

–        Use 2% or fat-free Greek yogurt instead of sour cream

–        Use whole grain flour instead of all-purpose

To find recipes and more ingredient substitutions, visit https://dinnertonight.tamu.edu

New Master Wellness Volunteer Training approaching

               If you would like to learn more about becoming healthy and helping others do the same, the 2019 Master Wellness Volunteer training is for you!  The Hopkins County AgriLife Extension Office will be hosting two face-to-face sessions, beginning Tuesday, January 22, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m..  You’ll have the opportunity to hear from Extension Specialists from across the state and learn about some of the programming that takes place in Hopkins County.  Lunch will be provided.  A face-to-face wrap-up session will take place on Tuesday, February 19 at the Extension Office.  The three weeks in-between can be used for on-line study to complete the training at your own leisure.  Cost of the training is $75.  To register, go to: http://agrilife.org/mwv.  Deadline to register is January 14.  Please contact our office at 903-885-3443 if you have questions about the training.

Closing Thought

Never regret anything that has happened in your life.  Take a lesson learned and move on.

Recipe of the Week:

Cabbage Rolls


  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 6 slices low-sodium turkey bacon, minced
  • 1 ½ cups onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 cabbage leaves, thick veins trimmed


  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup tomato sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 375ᵒF.
  2. Brown turkey and bacon together.  Add onion and cook until softened; mix in rice, carrots, and seasonings.
  3. Warm water in a large pot over medium heat – do not boil.  Core head of cabbage and place in pot until tender and wilted, about 5 to 10 minutes.  Gently peel leaves off as they soften, being careful not to tear them.
  4. Measure about 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture into the center of each cabbage leaf.  Tuck in sides and roll up.  Place rolls folded side down on a baking dish.
  5. Mix together all the sauce ingredients and pour evenly over cabbage rolls. Cover and bake for 25 minutes.

Nutrition facts per serving: 170 calories, 7 g total fat, 45 mg cholesterol,  15 carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 11 g protein

Source:  Dinner Tonight






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