Does weight loss top your New Year’s resolution list? Now is the time to adopt a healthier lifestyle for you and your family. Make small, gradual, realistic changes that will build upon one another, creating a healthier future. Start today by reviewing these strategies to help you control your weight:
(1) You shall think “choose well” not “diet.”
Instead of trying to minimize the amount of food you are eating and starv- ing yourself to lose weight, choose foods that allow you to fill up on fewer calo- ries. These are foods that are:
• minimally processed, • high in fiber and • low in fat and sugar.
Examples include fruits; vegetables; whole grains such as barley, oatmeal, whole-wheat products and brown rice; and legumes. For protein, always pick leaner choices such as white breast meat of poultry (without skin); pork loin; lean beef; legumes such as black beans, lentils or split peas; and seafood. Prepare these items with little added oil.
(2) You shall make exercise fun.
Find a reason other than cosmetic to exercise, then stick to it. Take up several aerobic activities that are enjoyable, such as an aerobics class, walking, bike riding, swimming, running, hiking, softball, etc. and work out aerobically at least an hour a day, five or six days a week. Exercise should make you feel good!
(3) You shall not eat for boredom.
Tune into emotions and hunger cues.
Feed hunger, and avoid eating to relax, cure boredom or overcome depression. Instead, take a walk or call a friend.
(4) You shall eat out wisely.
Try to prepare more meals at home. If you do eat out, choose soup and salad or smaller dishes that are low in fat. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side. If portions are large, take half home!
(5) You shall shop smart.
• Fill grocery carts 2/3 full of perimeter aisle foods. These include fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables, seafood, chicken and leaner cuts of meat. Don’t forget to include the beans and rice aisle in this part of your cart!!
• Aim for 5+ servings of fruits and veg- etables each day. Naturally sweet, low in calories, full of flavor, fiber, vitamins and minerals, aim for at least one serving of fruit or vegetable at each meal and snack. Keep them lowfat.
(6) You shall snack right.
• Healthful snacks can round out a nutritious diet and ward off overeating by maintaining blood glucose levels. Keep them nutritious.
• Instead of packaged snacks, think “out with the bag” and enjoy fresh fruits, vegetables with lowfat dips or fat-free, light yogurt. Most Americans have trouble meeting the recommended number of servings for fruits, vegeta- bles and dairy/calcium groups.
• Keep snacks to less than 150 calories and 5 grams of fat. Snacks are not meant to be another meal or dessert.
(7) You shall be adventurous.
• Be adventurous and expand your range of food choices. Explore new tastes. Try exotic produce, and sample lowfat ethnic cuisines to get a break from the everyday norm.
• Buy a lowfat cookbook to help you modify traditional high-fat favorites, and to introduce appealing new dishes.
(8) You shall use less fat.
• Prepare foods using lower-fat cooking methods such as baking meats on a rack, broiling, grilling, roasting or steam- ing instead of frying. When sautéing, use broth or add only 1 tablespoon of oil for every four people. This only adds a conservative 4 grams of fat per person.
• Eliminate “extra” fats. Trim visible fats from meats prior to cooking. Rinse cooked ground meat to “wash away” grease. Remove skin from poultry to reduce added fats.
(9) You shall limit sugar & refined starch.
• Try “diet,” “no sugar added,” and “lite” products. Sugar substitutes such as Stevia® for Recipes have greatly improved the taste and acceptance of sugar-free products.
• Limit refined starch foods that are made with white flour and are low in fiber. Fill up instead with high-fiber choices such as corn, potatoes, yams, limas, peas, dried beans and whole grains. Balance these with plenty of nonstarchy vegetables.
(10) You shall not skip breakfast.
Remember the most important meal of the day – breakfast!! A breakfast that includes cereal, fruit juice and skim milk not only starts the day the lowfat way, but also helps to meet your need for fiber.
Good luck – you are now on your way to better health and weight management for a lifetime!
By Vicki Adcock, RD, LD.
Food for Thought