Simple suggestions to help you eat well – and still enjoy eating.
1. Always eat 3 meals a day
In fact, 4 or 5 small meals are even better. Skipping a meal in order to “splurge” later usually leads to eating more, not less.
2. Start your meal light
A clear or light soup, shrimp cocktail, or salad with nonfat dressing fills you up and takes a while to eat, taking the edge off your appetite. Studies show this strategy reduces the total amount of calories eaten at a meal.
3. Eat slowly
Choose foods that take longer to eat – soup, shrimp in their shells, cherries with pits, artichokes, whole apples, leafy salads. Swallow before taking another mouthful. Put down your fork often and start a conversation.
4. Don’t eat on the go
You can save thousands of calories each year by not eating in the car or while walking. Snatch-and-grab foods are often higher in fat, calories, and sodium, and lower in vitamins and minerals.
5. Eat whole foods
Oranges, tomatoes, apples, carrots, and other fruits and vegetables take longer to eat and are lower in sugar than drinks made from them. Studies show that people eat less when they choose foods over beverages. Chewing is satisfying. Meals in a bottle can leave you less than satisfied.
6. Eat whole grains
Whole grain bread, cereal, pasta, brown rice, popcorn, fruits, and vegetables add fiber, fill you up, keep you regular, lower your cholesterol, and protect you against diabetes. Aim for at least 3 servings a day.
7. Buy favorites in snack sizes
Fun-sized candy bars, small bags of chips, ice cream bars, pudding, snack cakes…same great taste but smaller amounts. Some food companies now offer snacks in 100-calorie portions, a nice option.
8. Cut down on fat
Cutting out even a small amount of fat on a regular basis can remove hundreds of calories from your diet. Switch to nonfat yogurt, sour cream, and milk. Try reduced fat cheese, ice cream, and salad dressing. Broil instead of frying. Measure gravy and oil; don’t just pour freely.
9. Dilute alcohol
Adding plain seltzer, mineral water or fruit juice makes a taller, longer-lasting drink with fewer calories.
10. Go easy on calories by the glass
Soda, beer, sweetened tea and coffee, and fruit drinks (heavy on sugar and low on fruit juice) all pack calories. A typical medium-size soda has 190 calories. Mineral water has none.
Don’t be afraid to be adventurous with eating – try new foods, experiment with variety because a moderate amount of any food is a good choice.