Tips to eat healthy and losing weight
NUTRITION is a hot topic these days, yet many still struggle with consistently following through with “the basics,” and the stats show that missing the mark on many healthy habits is the norm. For example, the median daily intake of produce for adults is 1.1 servings of fruit and 1.6 servings of veggies, far below the minimum recommended five daily servings.
If you’re going to set just one goal for 2015, eating more produce should be it. You’ve heard them before, but they are without a doubt the most tried-and-true, impactful eating habits you can foster — both for your waistline and your health. And despite knowing them, you may not be achieving them, so they’re worth considering as you choose your resolutions.
If taking them all on at once seems overwhelming, try a “stepladder” approach: Focus on one change until it feels like a normal part of your daily routine, then add another, and another. Sometimes taking it slow ups the chances that behaviours will stick, so come December 2015, you’ll be celebrating a year of accomplishments.
Eat produce at every meal There are numerous benefits to making produce a main attraction at mealtime. In addition to upping your intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre, eating at least five servings a day is tied to a lower risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.
Fruits and veggies also help displace foods that pack more calories per bite, a plus if you’re trying to lose weight. For example, one cup of non-starchy vegetables contains about 25 calories, compared to 200 in a cup of cooked pasta. And reaching for a medium-sized pear in place of a handful of chips, crackers, or cookies can slash anywhere from 50 to 200 calories.
How to do it: A good rule of thumb is to include a serving of fruit in each breakfast and snack, and two servings of veggies in every lunch and dinner. One serving is 1 cup fresh, about the size of a tennis ball. Whip fruit into a smoothie, add it to oatmeal or yogurt, or just bite right in.
Make water your beverage of
choice You’ve heard about the unwanted effects of drinking both regular and diet soda, but you may not be aware of some of the benefits of drinking more H2O. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who get much of their daily fluid intake from plain water tend to have healthier diets overall, including more fibre, less sugar, and fewer high-calorie foods.
And in addition to hydrating you, water may be a helpful weight loss aid, by curbing appetite and boost- ing metabolism. One study found that people who drank about seven cups of water a day, ate nearly 200 fewer daily calories compared to those who gulped less than one glass.
Another found that when adults drank 2 cups of water right before eating a meal they ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories. And a German study concluded that consuming 16-ounces of water upped calorie burning by 30 percent within 10 minutes, an effect that was sustained for more than an hour.
How to do it: Reach for 16 ounces (2 cups) of water four times a day. And if you dislike the taste of plain H2O, spruce it up. Add wedges of lemon or lime, fresh mint leaves, cucumber slices, fresh grated ginger or organic citrus zest, or a bit of mashed juicy fruit, like berries or tangerine wedges.
Choose whole-food starches People are eating far too many refined grains, including white versions of bread, pasta, rice, crackers and pretzels, in addition to baked goods and cereals made with refined starch.
The intake of whole grains, like brown rice, whole wheat, and quinoa is on the rise, yet the average intake of whole grains is less than one serving a day. Research shows that a higher whole grain intake is tied to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
The latter may be because whole grains are filling: Their fibre helps delay stomach emptying, which keeps you fuller longer, delays the return of hunger, and helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, which are tied to appetite regulation.
In 2015, strive to replace refined grains — which have been stripped of their fibre and natural nutrients — with 100 percent whole grain options (including gluten-free varieties if you need to or prefer to go gluten-free). Or choose non-grain nutrient-rich starches, such as skin-on potatoes, root vegetables, squash, beans, and lentils.
If weight loss is a goal, moderate your portions rather than cutting out carbs altogether so you don’t miss out on the nutrients and sustained energy they provide, which are important for enhancing mood and exercise endurance, two other keys to successfully shedding pounds.
How to do it: Aim for just one to two servings of whole food starch in each meal, more if you’re more active, less if you’re less active. Great choices include oats or a puffed whole grain cereal at breakfast, quinoa or chickpeas in a salad at lunch, and sweet potato, squash, lentils, or wild rice at dinner. One serving is generally a half-cup of a cooked starch, or the serving stated on the nutrition label for packaged foods.
Budget your sugar intake In all my years counseling clients, I’ve found that for most people, moderation works better than deprivation. Currently, the average American takes in a whopping 22 teaspoons of added sugar each day. Added sugar doesn’t include the type put in foods by Mother Nature (like the sugar in fruit) but rather the kind added to foods, like sweetened yogurt, or the sugar you spoon into your coffee.
According to the American Heart Association, the daily target for added sugar should be no more than 6 level teaspoons for women, and 9 for men — that’s for both food and beverages combined. It’s strict, but the target isn’t zero, which means you don’t need to banish sugar completely.
Allowing yourself some of the sweet stuff can be a helpful way to
Become more mindful One of the most powerful resolutions you can make for 2015 is to work on raising your eating awareness, which includes tuning into hunger and fullness cues, as well as slowing your eating pace, and identifying non-physical eating triggers (boredom, habit, or a bad day). Paying attention to body signals has been shown to be as effective as a formal class for weight loss. And slowing down your eating can naturally help you eat less while feeling more satisfied.
One University of Rhode Island study found that fast eaters downed more than 3 ounces of food per minute, compared to 2.5 ounces for medium-speed eaters, and 2 for slow eaters. Finally, becoming more mindful can also help you realize when you’re drawn to food even though you’re not physically hungry, which can help you address your emotional needs in non-food ways.
How to do it: To hone your mindfulness skills, start keeping a food journal to record not just what and how much you eat, but also your degrees of hunger and fullness before and after meals, as well as any emotional notes, such as craving something crunchy because you feel angry, or wanting to eat while watching TV. — CNN
Water should be your number one drink of choice, this helps with digestion and curbs your appetite.