Is one of your 2002 resolutions healthier eating?
Try these 10 easy new habits and you’ll be fast on your way to improved health.
- Honey, I shrunk the food! Unfortunately, the opposite has happened: Portion sizes have grown to T. rex dimensions, increasing our waistlines, and the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. To combat the trend, shrink your portions by using smaller plates, asking for a small ice cream cone, beverage or sandwich instead of a large, splitting restaurant entrees with a friend or ordering a lunch-size portion even at dinner and vowing to never supersize.
- Pump up the volume. Choose low-fat, high-fiber foods whose lower calorie density fills you up without filling you out. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes are high-volume foods that not only help trim your waistline but also provide nutrients essential for health.
- Add to your meals — fruits and vegetables, that is! Add one fruit or vegetable to every meal, and you’ll be on your way to lower blood pressure and improved health. Try grapes for breakfast, raw broccoli with low-fat dip with lunch and fruit salad with dinner.
- Drink up. Get a water bottle and carry it with you everywhere you go. You’ll find yourself drinking water while you’re driving, at your desk, during meetings and watching TV. Drinking water instead of coffee, soda, fruit punch or other sweetened beverages saves calories as it keeps your body functioning optimally.
- Go meatless. Eat a meatless meal at least once each week — two or three times if you’re feeling adventurous! Choose a bean tortilla, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, veggie burger instead of hamburger, chili with beans instead of meat, or a tofu stir-fry. You’ll consume less fat and saturated fat, plus increase your fiber intake!
- Breakfast with champions. Studies show people who start the day with breakfast cereal have higher intakes of vitamins and fiber and lower intakes of fat and saturated fat. For the healthiest cereal, choose one with at least five grams of fiber and no more than eight grams sugar per serving. Pour on skim milk for a double bonus!
- Must-not-see TV. Stop eating meals while watching TV or snacking during your favorite show. Research plus common sense tells us we eat more when we’re watching the tube.
- Make friends with Charlie and his pals. Water-packed tuna, salmon and mackerel are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that protect our heart and cardiovascular system. Experts recommend eating these types of seafood twice each week.
- Say “moo.” Calcium not only builds strong bones, it also helps reduce blood pressure. Get adequate calcium by drinking milk, enjoying yogurt or low-fat cheese, or trying a calcium-fortified orange juice. If soy or rice milk is your beverage of choice, make sure it’s fortified with calcium.
- Brown bag it. Instead of buying lunch every day, or worse yet, skipping lunch altogether, pack your lunch at least one day each week. Make a sandwich with whole grain bread, low-fat meat, and lots of veggies like dark green lettuce, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, and grated carrots. Add a piece of fresh fruit or a container of no-added-sugar mixed fruit or applesauce. Satisfy your sweet tooth with yogurt or fat-free pudding and your need for crunch with pretzels or baked tortilla chips. You’ll save money and eat less fat, salt and sugar.