Make realistic  resolutions to lose weight
(StatePoint) Millions of Americans resolve to lose weight and commit to healthful eating at the beginning of each year, but many resolutions are notoriously broken. Why? Many registered dietitian nutritionists say that fad diets are partly to blame.
“It’s tempting to focus on losing weight fast, which can lead many to turn to dangerous fads and crash diets,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson, Jessica Crandall. “However, research shows that slow, healthy weight loss is more likely to last than dramatic weight changes.”
Crandall says that forgetting fad diets and getting back to the basics of moving more and eating smarter are your best bets for success in the New Year.
Be Realistic, Be Specific
“Planning to hit the gym for four hours every day or stick to a super restrictive fad diet is overwhelming for your body and mind,” says Crandall. Instead, choose smaller, healthy changes you can stick to over the long term.
One large goal can seem overwhelming. Instead, build a plan that works for your unique nutritional needs and lifestyle, A registered dietitian nutritionist can help you develop a plan that’s right for you. Here are some challenging, reachable resolutions to consider:
• Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
• Make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains.
• Get active! Fit in physical activity where you can in your day, whether taking a family walk after dinner or hitting the gym.
• Serve regular, balanced meals and snacks with a variety of nutrient-rich foods.
Also, make sure the goals you set are measurable, so that you can easily review and track your progress, as well as reward yourself. Allow time to achieve each smaller goal so you are not discouraged if you haven’t met them.
Build a Support Network
Enlist family and friends to try new healthy recipes with you or to be your workout buddy. Having a support network can help you overcome midnight snacking urges and hit the gym in even the coldest of months.
“It’s important to be sure to track your progress towards your health goals, and give yourself encouragement and solutions along the way,” says Crandall. “To make things easier, it’s always a good idea to have a food and nutrition expert on your side!”
For more tips on setting effective New Year’s Resolutions and to learn more about healthy weight loss, visit
This New Year, don’t be disappointed. With a smart plan in place, you can make fitness and nutrition resolutions that are easier to keep.
New Year’s resolutions for small businesses
It’s not just individuals who can benefit from New Year’s resolutions. Businesses can also use the new year as an opportunity to reflect on how to improve in the year to come.
With that in mind, here is a resolution checklist for small business owners:
• Get your books in order: Make sure to update balance sheets, compile income statements and assemble cash flow statements.
• Evaluate goals:  Did you meet your goals this year? What helped you achieve success? How can you improve the following year?
Clearly documenting your goals and making them accessible to your staff will keep them top-of-mind. This can be anything, from bringing on a certain number of new employees to hitting a sales goal or expanding product offerings. Once you‘ve set your goals, devise a plan that will get you there, with monthly or quarterly checkpoints, so you can ensure you‘re on track.
• Protect data: Small businesses say that data is their most valuable asset. Are you adequately protecting it? Many small businesses only back up files once or twice a month, which can result in a tremendous loss. Cloud backup is the best way to ensure you get all your files back easily in the event of a disaster.
Save yourself a headache and protect your files automatically. A secure and affordable service, such as Carbonite for example, will continually create copies of all your files and store them in the cloud. Once the files are backed up, you can remotely access them from nearly any Internet-connected device — which can help keep you connected in an emergency or when you’re traveling.
Make sure data protection is a key component of your end-of-year planning — it will help set up your business for success in the new year. More information about small business backup can be found at
• Mitigate your current tax burden: Understand your tax deductions and book all deductions before the end of the year. Implement new tax strategies to mitigate your 2014 tax burden. Remember, all business models are different. Consider consulting an expert tax analyst to find out what’s best for your business.
• Be social: Explore new avenues for advertising. Social media provides an easy and inexpensive platform for gauging your customer’s desires, branding and getting the word out about your product or service.
There’s no time like the new year to reassess what’s working for your company and what isn’t. Take the opportunity to set your company up for a successful 2014.
Resolve to cut spending  on your daily expenses
At the start of a new year, many American families begin looking for ways to cut spending in order to pay bills accrued during the holidays.
Some helpful advice from the discount experts at Dollar General can help you save money to allocate toward credit card payments at the start of 2014, and set you on a path to save all year long.
Switch and Save
For the items used most such as laundry detergent, health and beauty supplies, paper towels and more, switch to retailers’ private brands, which offer great quality at much more affordable prices.
Chances are, the quality is as good as its national brand competitor, and the savings to your wallet can be great.
Grocery Savings
While you can dramatically limit spending in areas like entertainment, certain expenses, such as groceries, are a must. Make sure your dollars are well spent.
Look for brands that carry a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. For example, Clover Valley, available exclusively at Dollar General stores throughout the country, offers a complete refund if you aren’t fully satisfied with the product quality. That means you can try new things without worrying about whether your family will like them, and save even more on items like coffee, cereal, potato chips, pasta and more.
Digital Coupons and Offers
Digital coupons are becoming increasingly popular with retailers. Sign up to receive coupons and special online offers via text message, or look in smartphone application stores for retailers’ apps.
You can also search for and print coupons online to use in stores.  For example, the Dollar General Coupon Center at can help save you more money, providing numerous coupons to use in addition to its everyday low prices.
For social media users, also look for exclusive deals available online through Facebook and Twitter pages.
With these easy tips, you can save money this New Year without sacrificing quality on your daily and weekly needs.
Resolve to give your cooking  a bold makeover in the New Year
Bored with your everyday cooking? This New Year, resolve to give your meals an exuberant makeover. You won’t even need to look across an ocean for bold flavor inspiration from other cuisines. You can start at home, say experts.
“American cuisine has been crafted from the stupendous ingredients, flavors and dishes derived from all people who have stepped upon its shore — east to west, northern tip to southern gulf. All of it has merged into a single fabulous, kaleidoscopic menu,” says Susanna Hoffman, anthropologist and food writer and co-author of the new book, “Bold: A Cookbook of Big Flavors.”
Hoffman, along with long-time cooking collaborator with whom she helped found the famed Chez Panisse restaurant, and co-author Victoria Wise, are encouraging home chefs to highlight the range of bold flavors of the American melting pot in their cooking — whether they are making a traditional classic or incorporating new styles, tastes and trends.
In the book they venture away from the small plates phenomenon of the last several years by offering an array of recipes of plate-filling proportions comprised of lively global and domestic influences.
Try this recipe for Lamb Chops with Scallions in Cola Glaze, which celebrates a ubiquitous, truly all-American product and repurposes it for the main meal:
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 8 lamb shoulder or sirloin chops
• Kosher or fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 6 bunches scallions, white and light green parts only, cut lengthwise into thin strips
• 1 1/2 cups regular Coca-Cola or Pepsi-Cola
• 3 teaspoons anise seeds
• Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a saute pan large enough to hold the chops without crowding. Sprinkle the chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Add them to the pan and saute until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.
• Add the scallions, cola and anise seeds to the pan and continue cooking, turning three times until almost all the liquid disappears and the chops are glazed on both sides and still pink in the centers, about 8 minutes altogether.
• To serve, arrange the chops on a platter; heap the scallions on top and pour the remaining pan juices over all. Serve right away.
More information about the new book can be found at
A new year is a perfect opportunity to try new things in the kitchen.
From slow-cooked roasts and braises to brimming soups and hearty pastas and grains, you can make meal time more exciting by thinking bigger and bolder.
Saving money in the New Year starts  at the grocery store
An overly ambitious New Year’s resolution probably won’t stick. This year, ditch the desire for all-at-once dramatic transformation. Instead, consider simple, sustainable changes to your everyday routine that can make a big impact over time.
For example, if you wish to get smarter about personal finances, start by cutting back on grocery expenses, which is our third largest expense, according to US government statistics.
It’s a way to save thousands annually.
“Saving money at the grocery store can seem tedious. But smart strategies can eliminate time-consuming coupon clipping and save you big at the store,” says Erin Chase, the “$5 Dinner Mom,” author, blogger and frugal living expert.
To help you kick off the year right, Chase is offering hassle-free tips for cutting expenses:
Compare Prices
You can save up to 70 percent on groceries by comparing prices across stores, which adds up to hundreds, even thousands of dollars annually. But manual comparison shopping can be tricky and involve running all over town.
Let technology do the work for you. Over half of all consumers currently use technology to grocery shop. Get on board the trend to save money and time.
For example, with a new app called Favado, you can view sale prices from multiple stores to locate the best deals. With just a few clicks from your computer or smartphone, you can enjoy the satisfaction of having paid the lowest price possible. You can also use the app to create and share shopping lists. For more information or to download the app, visit
Loyalty Programs
For additional savings, sign up for loyalty or club cards. Items on sale with loyalty cards change periodically, so stock up on things you buy regularly when prices are low. Make tracking sales easier with an app like Cardstar that stores all your loyalty, rewards and
membership cards in one place. This can help you rid your wallet and keychain of all those loyalty cards from multiple stores.
Follow the Cycles
Most groceries you purchase regularly will eventually go on sale. In fact, most items go on sale every eight to 12 weeks. The key is to buy as much of the item as you need while it’s on sale to last you until the next cycle.
Buy In-Season
In-season fruits and vegetables tend to be more affordable. Find out what is in season in your local area and purchase accordingly. A new app called Seasons can tell you what’s in season locally. With 214 entries that include an image, description and seasonal stats, users can easily decide what to buy.
Buy One, Get One
Many grocers offer buy-one, get-one free sales. This is a great way to save without clipping coupons. You can easily uncover these sales on a shopping app like Favado.
Don’t waste money paying more for groceries than necessary. With a little planning, you can score great deals on the things your family needs and wants.