Eating Tips

The following is from one of the great articles available on SparkPeople.com. I have a hard time eating healthy and thinking healthy, and these are some good tips:

Small Changes Mean Big Rewards
If you can’t stand the taste of broccoli, then vowing to eat it more often is pretty unrealistic. But if increasing the number of vegetables you eat each day is one of your goals, start by finding a few different ones that you can painlessly work into your diet. Make sure you select a variety of colors (dark green, red, orange, etc.) to get the most nutrients per bite. Add some shredded carrots to your muffin batter or top your pizza with fresh tomatoes, for example.

If you know you need to eat more fruit, start by adding some sliced bananas to your cereal in the morning or bake an apple with a bit of brown sugar for a yummy, low-cal dessert. Fresh berries and yogurt make a nice, light breakfast or snack too.

As you adopt this new style of eating, you will find that your food preferences will gradually change—when you cut out high-sugar, high-fat goodies, your cravings will actually go away in time. Your body wants healthy food!

One of the biggest challenges to eating healthier is finding substitutions for existing foods in your diet. Here are some tips to make the transition easier:

* Use mustard instead of mayo on your sandwiches. You’ll get lots of flavor with much fewer calories and fat.

* Select whole wheat bread over white bread. Be sure to read the label to ensure you’re getting whole grains, not just colored white bread.

* Eat the white meat of turkey or chicken, which is lower in fat than dark meat, red meat and pork. Animal fat is the number one dietary source of unhealthy saturated fat.

* Start using lean ground beef, pork tenderloin or fish instead of high-fat cuts of meat.

* Change your cooking methods. Bake, grill or broil your meals instead of frying. Use non-stick sprays—or better yet, non-stick pans—instead of oil.

* Drink more water. Slowly reduce the amount of soda you drink and replace it with herbal tea or water. Aim for eight cups of pure water each day.

* Don’t drink your calories. Eat a whole orange instead of drinking a glass of juice, for example. Real food is usually more filling and more nutritious than juices, fruit drinks, and other high-calorie beverages.

* Serve sauces and dressings on the side. Dip your fork into the sauce, then dip your fork into the food. You’ll still have the flavor but with fewer calories.

* Gradually switch to skim milk. Milk commonly comes in four varieties: whole (4% fat), 2%, 1% and skim (0% fat). Gradually wean yourself from the higher-fat varieties to the lower fat milk every two weeks. For example: continue drinking your normal 2% milk for two weeks, then move to 1% for two weeks, and then your palate will be ready for the consistency of skim milk.

* Switch from full-fat cheeses to reduced-fat or fat-free cheeses the same way you would with milk (see tip above).

* Order vegetables on the side instead of fries. Flavor them with lemon juice or herbs instead of butter.

* Snack on fruit and nuts instead of sugary treats. The fiber, protein and healthy fats in this combo will sustain you to your next meal and you won’t have the energy slump that comes after eating candy.

* Reduce your portion size. Most people will eat whatever amount of food is in front of them, so start putting your meals on smaller plates. You will be just as satisfied because your mind “sees” that you’re eating a full plate of food.

Eating a healthier diet doesn’t have to mean deprivation. You don’t have to cut out your favorite foods completely—you just have to make a few changes. Treat yourself to a mini chocolate bar instead of a full-sized one, for example. By trying to eat the most nutritious foods possible, you are creating a healthy lifestyle that will help you reach your best weight. You deserve the very best!

My body does deserve the very best! Maybe it’s possible that one day I will actually crave vegetables instead of potato chips! Speed the day!

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