5 Steps to Improve Your Health in the New Year

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Susan Akers, dietitian with MetroHealth Medical Center, shared the following tips to improve your health in the new year:

1. Know your starting point

  • Plan to visit your primary care doctor to help understand your baseline -- BMI, lipids, blood pressure, etc.
  • Everyone is at a different starting point & trying to focus on too many areas can overwhelm anyone.

2. Set realistic & achievable goals

  • Include a dietary and fitness goal, but start with something little to work on each day.
  • Example: Sleep. Studies have found that people who sleep less than 5 hours a day are 30% more likely to be obese. Ideal gaol is 8 - 10 hours depending upon your age.

3. Diet

  • Focus on real foods, single ingredient items and less processed foods.

*Scroll down for Lemon Chia Seed Muffins recipe

4. Eat more fruits & vegetables

  • The goal is at least five a day, but start with your typical intake and increase from there.
  • Focus on greens and fruits with skin for added fiber.

5. Activity and fluids

  • Take the stairs, park further away from the entrance of the building, stretch for 30 minutes while watching the news.
  • Increasing your physical activity can add up to increased muscle mass, increased metabolism and weight loss.
  • Drink more WATER. It's free and can increase metabolism, improve digestion and improve muscle function.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins (recipe adapted from Nutmeg Nanny and posted on Dinners, Dishes and Desserts)


  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 T chia seeds
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 8 T butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 cup Greek vanilla yogurt (non fat)

For glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 - 2 T fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Prepare 12 cup muffin tin with non stick spray or liners.
  2. In a small bowl combine flour, chia seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside, In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well each addition. Mix in lemon zest and vanilla. Using a spatula mix in the flour and yogurt until just combined. Fill muffin tins about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. allow the muffins to cool in the pan for a few minutes, before removing to a wire rack.
  3. While the muffins are cooling prepare the glaze. Whisk together the lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle a little over the top of each muffin. Allow glaze to set before serving.

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