The best way to shed pounds is with exercise and a diet that includes key power foods. Studies show that milk can help dieters get leaner, according to the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB), the creator of the 'got milk?' campaign.
The milk board has teamed up with fitness blogger Carmen Melgoza, a trainer and social media guru, to provide free online fitness and nutrition tips to help Californians meet their New Year's health resolutions.
"It's about lifestyle change that begins with the right foods and exercises," said Melgoza.
"Milk is a key part of my day," she added. "It helps me stay full longer when controlling my portion sizes and it gives me all the protein I need for a good workout."
Nonfat milk is Melgoza's favorite drink after her daily workout, she said, noting that at just 90 calories per glass, it contains nine essential nutrients, protein, calcium and vitamin D.
Melgoza outlined these five tips for a healthy new year:
1. Start small. Kick off your day with a well-balanced breakfast. Skipping meals slows down your metabolism while a 15-minute workout three times a week can boost your results. Some little steps are to take the stairs at work or park your car further away at the mall.
2. Include -- not exclude. The more variety you include on your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. Try incorporating more fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk and dairy products, lean proteins such as salmon and chicken breast and whole grains like brown rice in your meals as much as possible.
3. Break it up. Eat smaller portions three times a day and incorporate snacks to curb hunger. Add a glass of low or nonfat milk to keep you feeling full longer when cutting back on portion sizes.
4. Buddy up. Whether exercising or dieting, a support system will ensure you pass on the dessert and keep you from canceling your exercise plans. Keep a journal and have your buddy check it.
5. Take your gym outdoors. You can exercise anywhere, like the park. It's an ideal place for a run, a bike ride or a brisk walk. For those who prefer exercising at home, try an online yoga class.
A recent study in the International Journal of Obesity showed that people who were dieting and consumed more dairy, like nonfat milk, lost more weight as compared to dieters who didn't. Increased milk and dairy consumption in dieters also led to increased lean muscle, reduced body fat and more inches lost around their waistline.
For more info on nutrition and fitness or to access free recipes and Melgoza's healthy lifestyle tips, visit www.gotmilk.com. Tweet about your experience using #gotmilkfitclub and follow us on Twitter @GotMilk.
Banana Breakfast Shake (serves two)
1 medium banana, sliced
1 cup fat-free milk
3/4 C fat-free vanilla yogurt
1/4 C pineapple juice
1/2 T honey
Combine milk, bananas, vanilla yogurt, pineapple juice and honey in a blender until smooth. Serve in a tall glass.
Silky Rich Flan
2 C milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C sugar
Place sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and constantly stir until melted and turned a golden amber color, about 8-10 minutes. Carefully pour the melted sugar into a baking mold. Let caramel cool.
In a blender mix the milk with the eggs. Pour this mixture into the baking dish with the cooled caramel and cover with foil.
Place baking dish in a larger pan and add boiling water to the larger pan. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Let flan cool completely before unmolding.