Changing dietary habits can be confusing and difficult, especially if we’ve been doing the same things for a long time. But simple changes can yield impactful results. Here are five things you can do right now to make positive changes to the way you eat.
Add an Extra Vegetable to Your Next Meal
Add an extra serving of vegetables to your next meal: breakfast, lunch, or dinner, whatever it is. Pick one that’s green or brightly colored for the maximal nutritional benefit. Steam some broccoli to go with your sandwich at lunch, and make two vegetable sides for dinner instead of one. Or eat a bigger salad. This even works for breakfast—add spinach to your scrambled eggs or make a green smoothie.
Eat Fresh Fruit
Next time you’re in line at the lunch counter, grab an apple or pear instead of a cookie or piece of cake. Or, if you’re eating dinner at home, enjoy a bowl of berries for dessert. You don’t have to give up your dessert if you’re used to a nightly bowl of ice cream. Just cut back — serve up about half the amount you normally eat and fill the rest of the bowl with fresh fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, or sliced peaches. You’ll cut back on the calories, plus get better nutritional value. And it still tastes awesome.
Drink More Water
A lot of excess calories from sugar and fat come from the beverages you consume. Drinking more water might help you lose weight if you drink it in place of sugary soft drinks. And if you drink alcohol, add in a glass of water between drinks. If you hate the taste of water, you can disguise it with a slice of lemon, lime, cucumber or fresh pineapple. Water helps to lubricate your joints, it is important for digestion, it carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, and helps to regulate body temperature.
Make Your Next Grain a Whole Grain
Whole grains are higher in fiber than regular refined white grains, and since most people could use more fiber, it might be time to switch. The next time you eat bread, be sure to choose 100-percent whole-grain or 100-percent whole-wheat bread. Swap out your sweet cereal for a bowl of oatmeal or a 100-percent whole-grain cereal at breakfast. Choose brown rice or whole wheat pasta for dinner.
Pay Attention to Portion Size
There’s an old saying about your eyes being bigger than your stomach. Although technically that’s certainly not true, it’s easy to load up a bigger portion of food than you need, especially when you’re hungry. So, at your next meal, stop a minute to think about your portion sizes.
Your protein source (meat, poultry, fish, etc.) should take up about one-quarter of your plate, and any starchy foods like potatoes, rice or pasta, should only take up another quarter. The other half of your plate can be filled with nutritious low-calorie fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, peas, green beans, or a garden salad. That will probably be enough to fill you up, but it if you’re still hungry, go for extra vegetables.
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