- Eat breakfast, even if you are not a breakfast eater. Beginning your day with breakfast helps you focus and gets you through the morning. Try eating whole grain cereal, pancakes or French toast with fruit. For light eaters try non-fat plain yogurt with fruit or honey and granola, grab a homemade muffin, make a smoothie, or grab a piece of fruit.
- Choose healthy snacks. If you plan ahead on what you will have to snack on, you won't grab the closest most convenient food around. I like to grab a small piece of fruit, a handful of nuts (preferably in the shell because you can't eat them by the handful) or crackers with hummus or a nut butter. Homemade muffins or granola also make great snacks. Remember a snack is not supposed to make you full, it's just supposed to get you through to the next meal.
- Add one more serving of fruit and one more serving of vegetables to your diet. These are nutrient rich and low in calories. They make wonderful snacks and can also be added to many recipes. I like adding vegetables to homemade muffins, soups and casseroles. If you have picky eaters make sure to puree the vegetables well to help disguise the texture. Eating raw fruit and vegetables with a homemade dip makes them seem a little more festive.
- Eat more whole grains. If you are unsure how your family will like this idea, try using 1/2 whole wheat pasta and 1/2 regular pasta when making a pasta dish. You can also use brown rice in casseroles. (You will need to follow package cooking directions because brown rice takes longer to cook.) Make sandwiches with one slice whole wheat and one slice white bread.
- Gradually change your eating habits. Unless you are under a doctor's orders to radically change your diet, it's best to change the way you eat gradually. It's easier to stick to changes if you make them gradually. Choose one or two things you think will be easiest to change, then stick to it. Eventually you and your kids will get used to the changes. That is the time to select a couple of other things to change. Slowly you will have changed your families eating habits.
- Balance your food intake over the course of a week. Sometimes we eat too much sodium, salt or fat in a day, but that's ok if you just cut back the next day or two to make up for it. You also don't have to worry about eating an exact amount of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats every day. Shoot for an overall approach that will balance foods over the whole week.
- Use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. My research into plate sizes has shown that back in the 1960's plate sizes used to be 9 inches in diameter. Now plate sizes are 11-1/2 to 12 inches in diameter, salad plates are 8 inches in diameter.
- Place the serving bowls and platters in the kitchen and portion out your plate, then sit down to eat. This makes it a little more difficult to have a second helping. Hopefully once you get up and bring your plate into the kitchen you'll just rinse it off and walk away.
- No food is off limits. If you love to eat certain foods, don't ban them completely. Try to serve a smaller portion or to eat it every other day. If you're like me when you try to eliminate something completely you just want to eat it more.
- Ask if you really need it. Before I eat something (whether a snack or an extra serving of something I love), I always ask myself if I really need it-the answer is usually no. Sometimes I still have the serving but usually a smaller portion.
- Buy low fat dairy products and lean meats. If you are used to eating whole dairy products switch to 2% or if you are used using 2% then switch to 1% and so on. Buy lean meats, like fish, chicken, turkey and lean cuts of beef.
- Make more homemade meals. For every homemade meal you make you are eating healthier. You are using less chemicals, good fats, lower fats, less sodium and less sugar than anything you would buy pre-packaged or pre-made.
- Bonus tip. Use heart healthy oils like olive and canola oil in place of corn and palm oils.
Healthy Eating Tips
Ring in the New Year with these tips for healthier eating. Whether you want to lose weight or just eat a little healthier, these healthy eating tips will get you started on the right track. Have a happy, healthy New Year and check back for more of my useful tips!
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