Welcome to the Heart of New Ulm Project's blog! Here, our team members and members of the New Ulm community offer great tips for heart- healthy living, talk about some of the fantastic events and programs happening as part of the project, and share how they are doing on their personal journeys toward better heart health.

Join the discussion and support one another in making heart-healthy lifestyle changes and helping New Ulm become the healthiest community in the country!

The art of motivation: Switch your thinking from the negative to the positive!

Let me ask you a question: When was the last time you decided to make a behavior change based on negative motivation? Hopefully you answered never, but I suspect you have at least one instance in mind. Now let me ask another question: How did that work out?

Start a Lunch SWAP!

Tired of eating frozen meals from a box, searching restaurant after restaurant for healthy lunches, grabbing plastic-wrapped sandwiches from the convenience store or bagging the same old foods day after day? Start a lunch SWAP!

Animal, vegetable, miracle! Share your gardening tips and vegetable recipes

I am a big fan of the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s a humorous story about how a family “vows to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it.” It makes a “passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life …”

Tips for making exercise easy and enjoyable

For me to make aerobic exercise a regular part of my life, it needed to be easy and enjoyable.  It needed to be simple and part of my daily routine with very little forethought. It also needed to be something that I would look forward to doing.

Eating at a buffet? Try these go-to strategies to save calories

Recently, I traveled with my son’s soccer team to Kansas City for a three-day soccer tournament. Our days were filled with watching soccer games and eating meals at convenient places that could accommodate 45 people, which meant we found ourselves eating from buffet tables three times a day. The overflowing tables of food looked and smelled great!

Would you like to dine with a dietitian?

Have you been told to eat less salt, but don’t know how to do that when you eat out? Do you ever wonder why you should care if your french fries are cooked in trans fat- free cooking oil? Do you ever try to guess how many calories are in your favorite restaurant meal?

Do what you can’t? Really?

I recently attended a conference in San Diego. One of our morning keynote speakers was talking about behavior change and told us to “Do what you can’t.” Of course this peaked my interest, because this isn’t something we usually hear.

Create some new heart-health grilling traditions: Give us your suggestions!

My family and I had our first official grill out this past weekend, and I realized how quickly we can slip into old food habits once the charcoal is lit. Standard grilling fare is burgers and brats, with potato salad and beans on the side. As I started pulling ingredients together, I had to stop myself and try to figure out how I was going to change my family’s grilling habits and create some heart-healthy traditions. 

Cross train to avoid boredom and keep your metabolism going

Variety can be the spice of life when it comes to an exercise routine. Finding a couple of exercises that you like to do and alternating between the two of them can be beneficial to your body and mind. Cross training can help you:
  • Decrease the boredom factor. Building more than one activity into your routine can help prevent workout boredom. So if the thought of walking your same route almost makes you ill, try incorporating another activity into your routine that day.

Don’t get tripped up when traveling; try these healthy strategies

I recently helped chaperone a high school robotics trip to Duluth and was reminded how challenging it is to make healthy lifestyle choices while traveling. The first challenge was when we stopped in Hinckley for a mid-morning break. The bakery there was so tempting and we ended up with caramel rolls that covered the whole plate.