The Statesman Journal featured some of my best–and easiest tips–to get a jump on your good health for the new year. If you’re in the Portland area, I hope you’ll join me on January 19th when I present a lecture based on my new book Eat Your Way to Sexy at the Community Health Education Center on the Salem Hospital campus. For all my tips, read on!

StatesmanJournal.com, December 27: For the past 27 years, Salem-based nutritionist, dietitian and author Elizabeth Somer has lectured and coached individuals about nutrition and how it affects the quality of life. For several decades, she has been featured on national television including NBC’s “Today Show,” ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “The View,” and CBS’ “Morning Show.”

On Jan. 19, she’ll present a lecture and sign copies of her book “Eat Your Way to Sexy” at the Community Health Education Center on the Salem Hospital campus. Here, she shares some healthy tips to consider for the new year.

Move more. While the likelihood of you sticking with an hour workout at the gym is slim, you can boost activity and shed pounds by just adding more movement to your daily routine. Walk up the escalator or take the stairs instead of standing like a statue as the elevator and escalator work for you. Park at the end of the lot, rather than drive around for 15 minutes looking for a closer parking spot. Throw out the remote control, and get up every time you want to change the TV station. Use a hand-held can opener rather than an electric one. Studies show that adding little 10-minute bursts of activity to your day add up to significant health benefits and even a few inches off the waistline.

Cook in cast iron. The numbers vary, depending on the study, but somewhere between 20 percent and 80 percent of women in the childbearing years are iron deficient. They’re not so deficient that they are anemic, but the symptoms are the same: They’re tired, more susceptible to colds and infections, can’t think clearly and might even sleep more fitfully. Besides pumping up the iron content of your diet, throw out that expensive cookware and return to Grandma’s cast iron. The iron leaches out of the pot into the food, boosting iron content several fold, especially in acidic foods such as spaghetti sauce and tomato-based soups.

Start dinner or lunch with a bowl of soup. It’s the volume or weight of food that fills us up. For example, if it takes a pound of food to feel satisfied, you can gobble a pound of french fries for a zillion calories or a pound of carrots for 50 calories. The best way to boost volume is to eat foods that have water and fiber in them. Vegetable soup is a perfect example. A recent study found that when people ate a bowl of soup before a meal, they consumed 200 calories less and still felt full and satisfied, so add a bowl of chicken noodle or cream of tomato to your sandwich for lunch every day and you could lose up to two pounds a month Drink a small glass of OJ with breakfast. It doesn’t get much easier than this, and the benefits are amazing. A 6-ounce glass of orange juice every morning reduces your risk for stroke (by up to 20 percent), lowers the “bad” cholesterol called LDLs and boost the good cholesterol called HDLs, thus reducing heart-disease risk, colon-cancer risk and blood pressure. A glass of orange juice supplies up to 140 mg of vitamin C, potassium, folic acid and a phytochemical called D-limonene that detoxifies cancer-causing substances. Not bad for a little cup of juice.

Eat nuts. Not only are nuts a good source of protein, magnesium, vitamin E and B vitamins, but recent research shows that a handful of nuts as a snack several times a week lowers cancer risk plus heart disease by 35 percent. The fat in nuts is heart-healthy, mono-unsaturated fats. A study from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston found that women on low-calorie diets that included nuts lost just as much weight as women on low-calorie, low-fat diets, but they were more likely to keep the weight off long-term.

Add milk to your coffee. Studies show caffeine might contribute to osteoporosis by increasing calcium loss, but you can side step this risk by adding milk to your coffee. Even 2 tablespoons of low-fat milk will offset the effects of caffeine on calcium. A nonfat latte is the best because you get the equivalent of almost a cup of calcium-rich milk (with 300 milligrams of calcium) along with your coffee jolt, and while that mocha can pack in up to 500 calories, a nonfat latte comes in at about 120. So you’re saving your waistline at the same time your protecting your bones.

Use a power toothbrush. Your outer beauty is a reflection of your inner health. A diet based on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other real food will reflect in your glowing skin, shiny hair and radiant smile. Also, a few simple, time-conscious outer tricks can boost that first impression. A power toothbrush is the best way to keep your smile bright and your teeth clean, and studies show that healthy gums also help lower your risk for heart disease.
Chew gum while cooking. This one sounds silly, but it just might work. Women unconsciously chow down on hundreds of calories while cooking meals. They taste the sauce not once, but several times. They grab a bite of last night’s leftovers while rummaging through the fridge for tonight’s meal. They munch on a cookie from the cookie jar while stirring the stir-fry. They finish off the scrambled eggs and toast on their children’s plates in the morning. You can put away as many calories in this form of nibbling as you would sitting down to a full meal. So, chew sugarless gum when cooking or drink ice water to keep your fingers out of the food and to satisfy your need to munch.

Take a multiple. Even if you think you eat pretty good, take a moderate-dose multiple vitamin and mineral anyway. While up to 90 percent of Americans think they eat pretty well, according to national nutrition surveys, only one in every hundred of us meet even minimum standards of a balanced diet. So, while you continue to try to eat better, take a multiple to fill in the gaps on those days when you eat less-than-perfect.