Trying to shed pounds or manage your weight is hard when you can’t eat the foods you love. So don’t set yourself up for failure, just plan smaller. Here are some ideas that allow you to indulge in moderation:
Set the scene. If your favorites come in a large package or are part of a big family meal, divvy it up and give yourself a single-size serving; guesstimate if you’re not sure what that is and put the rest out of sight.
Snack away. If you find yourself hungry between meals, grab a healthy snack, like a piece of fruit, small salad or handful of almonds. This way, you won’t feel overly hungry later and overeat.
Don’t sweat the menu. If you’re out and about, don’t panic. When ordering, ask your server to split your meal: half for now and the other half in a doggie bag. Skip the bread and other pre-meal fillers.
Our eating habits, along with activity levels, affect our health more than anything besides smoking. When life gets busy, though, nutrition is often the first thing we let slip. Sometimes, getting a burger from the drive-thru just seems easier. But the meals we get away from home usually have less fruit, vegetables, whole grains and dairy — all of which are important for a healthy diet.
Food for thought
It takes some extra time, but planning ahead and making healthy meals and snacks can add years to your life.1 But with different diets becoming popular all the time, it’s hard to know what we should really be eating. Is it healthiest to cut out all breads and rice, and just eat steaks and eggs? Is it better not to eat any meat?
A healthy diet isn’t as simple as skipping entire food groups. All types of food add different nutrients that our bodies need. The key is to get the right balance of all of the food groups, and to choose the best sources for the nutrients you need.
Follow these tips to get the right balance in your diet:
Carbs give your body the fuel it needs for physical activity and help your organs work properly. But some kinds of carbs are better for you than others. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans are good choices. They’ll give you vitamins, minerals, fiber and more nutrients your body needs. Bad carbs come from refined grains, which make them easier to digest. Skip things like white bread, white rice, pastries, soda and highly processed foods, like packaged snacks.
Protein from plant-based foods like beans and nuts is healthiest. Fish and poultry are also good sources. If you want to eat red meat, pick the leanest cuts, watch your portion size and only eat it once in a while.
Fiber can help protect you against certain health problems. A diet with a lot of whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits will help you get the fiber your body needs.
Vegetables and fruits: These foods can also help protect your health. Go for color and variety: dark green, yellow, orange and red.
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