Have a great new year

State Sen. Chuck Wiger
District 43

Every new year I like to remind myself and others of a great Benjamin Franklin quote that sums up the idea of new year’s resolutions, “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man.”

I encourage you to use this quote as encouragement as you think about making your 2014 resolutions. From the more difficult resolutions like quitting smoking, losing weight and finding a better job to the lighter side such as taking a trip, reading more and adding extra play dates, resolutions can be good for your body and soul. I encourage you to pick one or two and see what type of difference it can make in your life.

If your goal is to make 2014 a healthier year, WebMD has a checklist for you and your family. This “Mom’s Guide for Family Health” has several great ideas that will work for everyone:

• Cook with canned or frozen vegetables. On busy weeknights, pull out frozen or canned produce to make healthy meals quickly. Look for frozen vegetables without sauce, or low-sodium canned vegetables.

• Look for alternatives to red meat. Get the benefits of protein with limited amounts of fat by serving your family skinless chicken or turkey breasts and other proteins such as beans, soy, and nuts.

• Prepare healthy snacks in advance. Bring home a melon, cut it up, and keep it in a bowl in the front of the fridge for snack time. Or slice cucumbers, celery, and carrot sticks to put in small bags. When the mood strikes, the kids can grab and go.

• Plan active family outings. Depending on your kids’ ages and interests, you might plan family outings at the park, ice-skating, or hiking on a nearby trail.

• Enjoy what you have. It’s easy to overlook what’s going well in your life in the rush to get fit, eat healthier, and be a better person. Take stock of what you feel grateful for -- your family, friends, or simply a beautiful sunset. When you stop and notice what makes you happy, you can celebrate your life anew.

The entire checklist can be found at www.webmd.com

Another top resolution every year, which I always endorse, is spending more time with friends and loved ones. Life can get busy and we often have to put off the fun parts of life to keep up. Take time this year to have fun and be with the people you love. It sounds odd to have to add a “fun date” to your schedule, but it will be worth it.

Finally, make sure you take some time to reflect on what you are grateful for. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent District 43.  It is a true honor to work at the state Capitol and I appreciate all of your support and input.

As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions regarding any issue. I encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment.  Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?,” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16. I can be reached by email at sen.chuck.wiger@senate.mn and by phone at 651-296-6820.

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