Better Eating Habits
Timeless Nutrition Tips...
The first bit of knowledge one needs in your efforts to begin better eating habits is that the best way is to make changes slowly.
Focus on eating in such a way that in time the improved eating habits will allow you the ability to reach a desirable weight that can be maintained indefinitely and will be the least "painful" as possible.
Things You Can Do to Develop Better Eating Habits
- Increase exercise. Not always easy, but a fact if you are to be successful at losing weight in manageable manner.
- Avoid what is commonly known as empty calories such as excess sugars and alcohol.
- Try to watch your portion size. Slowly reduce it and train yourself to think twice before taking that second helping.
- Try to focus more on low calorie foods such as vegetables, salads and fruits.
- Support. It can be so beneficial to join either a support group, or have a family member be there for you to support. They can encourage your efforts and you can talk to this person when you slip up or are having difficulties.
- Include a large variety of foods in your diet. This will help prevent the monotony of eating the same foods which can become very discouraging.
- Do your best to give up fried foods. Fried foods can dramatically be coined as a killer to your health and to your efforts.
- Broccoli for breakfast, orange juice before bed, apple chips with dinner. It is really okay to be unconventional in your choices. Your body welcomes the nutrients anytime.
- When beginning a new diet seek your doctor's advice and approval.
5 Easy Nutrition Tips
Improving your nutrition does not have to be difficult. Start with one of the following suggestions.
- Keep a bowl of fresh fruit available. If it's there, you're more likely to eat it.
- Eat breakfast. Spreading your food intake over the day is the best way to burn calories.
- Plan ahead for routine meals and snacks. People who eat regular meals get a more balanced, healthier diet and are closer to their goal weights.
- Pack your lunch the night before. If you don't eat breakfast or pack a lunch because you rush too much in the morning, set everything up the night before.
Fats, Carbs or Proteins?
Basically, 3500 calories added to the diet equals a pound of fat gained. What difference, if any, does it make if the calories come from fat, carbohydrates, or protein?
We really are what we eat. The five basic nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals) are necessary to sustain life. Each nutrient has an important role to play in our diet.
Proteins form the basic building blocks of muscle, bone, hair, blood, fingernails, antibodies, enzymes, hormones, and other body tissues.
Carbohydrates furnish the body with energy and give bulk to food. Sugars and starches supply energy to the body in the form of glucose, which is the only energy source for red blood cells and is the preferred energy source for the brain.
Fats nourish the skin, aid in the absorption of certain vitamins, help form cell membranes and hormones, help provide stamina, and serve to insulate the body from extreme temperature.
Vitamins are needed to maintain a variety of vital functions in the body. Minerals are essential for various functions, such as formation of bones and teeth. Generally, daily calories should be divided according to the following percentages:
- 55 percent carbohydrate.
- 30 percent fats.
- 15 percent protein.
Switching to Whole Grains
Switching to whole grains is one of the easiest of the more healthy ways to help you make nutritious changes in your diet.
Most grain based foods, like breads, cereals, muffins, crackers, bagels and tortillas are available in whole grain varieties. You can determine if the product is whole grain by looking to see if the word "whole" or "whole grain" appears before the grain name in the list of ingredients.
Replace white rice with brown rice and regular pasta with a whole-wheat variety.
If you are hesitant to make these changes, start out with a mixture and gradually phase out the white rice or regular pasta to help yourself become accustomed to the changes. You can also give other whole grain products a try:
- Barley: Barley contains significant quantities of beta-glucans, which are beneficial in human diets.
- Whole-wheat couscous: Couscous is simple to prepare - just add boiling water and let it sit. You can add exotic spices or sauces or leave it plain.
- Quinoa: A nutrition treasure. It's protein content supplies all nine essential amino acids.
- Bulgur (cracked wheat): Bulgur is high in carbohydrate, mainly complex carbohydrate (starch) which is a primary source of energy.
Another way to incorporate whole grain and is barely discernible is in baking. When flour is called for, replace half of the amount with whole-wheat flour.
Avoid the Salad Bar Trap
Unless you know how to beat the salad bar trap, you could end up with an extra 1,500 calories, 90 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol and 1,500 milligrams of sodium.
Salad bars have many healthy food choices. However, it is important to be able to distinguish healthy salad choices from the high-fat at salad bars. Look for fresh vegetables. Start by piling on chopped green lettuce, one cup has only ten calories and a trace of fat. If you dare, try spinach as your salad base.
What to avoid. Avoid pasta salads, mayonnaise based tuna, and chicken and seafood salad. Avoid any vegetables dripping in oil. Avoid cheese and pepperoni chunks on your salad plate.
So now, how do you dress your salad? First, if the restaurant offers it, use reduced calorie dressings. Limit yourself to one tablespoon of a reduced fat dressing. Croutons are good for topping your salad in moderation. You might want to avoid bacon bits - or at least go very light on them. They do add a lot of flavor. But, you don't even need to pile them on. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on your salad, but go easy on that, as well. In short, be sensible and take advantage of the healthy choices and you will save many calories!
Fast Food Fixes
Try apples with fat-free caramel dip, brocco-flowers with low-fat ranch dressing, carrots with peanut butter, or tomato slices topped with a little olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese.
If you practice the above suggestions faithfully but still are having difficulty shedding pounds, you may need nutritional intervention or a diet aid. As to your eating habits, a doctor can give you some good, safe dietary counsel based on your personal needs.
Plant Based High Protein Snacks
Does the perfect high protein snack exist? Only plant based foods have fiber. Protein will be from a plant source if you are looking for a single food to do the job. The legume is probably your best choice, so something such as roasted soy beans would make a great high protein, high fiber snack.
However, plenty of combination foods or combinations of foods could also fill your needs. For example, many sports bars on the market are high in both protein and fiber, for example, the Clif Bar. You can make your own fast, high protein and high-fiber snacks too. Following are some ideas that fit the bill.
- Hummus spread on whole-wheat crackers or a whole-grain bagel.
- A quick bowl of whole-grain cereal with milk and berries.
- Peanut butter on apple slices.
- Homemade bran muffins made with milk and eggs.
- A fruit smoothie made with plain yogurt and fruits.
- Celery dipped in low-fat cottage cheese.
- Yogurt sprinkled with granola.
Add Color to Your Diet
A book came out entitled "What Color Is Your Diet? " due to the fact that nutrition experts now feel the more color in our diet, the healthier we will be. This obviously points us toward more fruits and vegetables, which is not a new concept at all. However, the more we learn about our fruits and vegetables and the good they can do us, the healthier we can be.
The Colors of Fruits and Vegetables
Color enters the picture because some phytochemicals are responsible for the pigments in produce. The substance that makes the blueberry blue has antioxidant characteristics that can be powerful cancer fighters. Tomatoes are red because of an antioxidant that links to lower rates of cancer as well as decreased rates of heart disease.
Scientists believe that phytochemicals work in combination with one another. It is not enough to eat red or blue -- on must use a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables with beige -- as in chicken breast and whole-wheat bread -- as an accent color.
Suggestions for adding color to your diet:
- Reduce your meat portions
- Switch from mashed potatoes to sliced carrots
- Switch your corn to spinach
- Add more color with red pepper, tomato sauce, garlic, onions or broccoli
- Top off chicken or fish with rinds of oranges or lemons
- Have mixed berries for dessert
- Aim for multicolored fruit salads
- Throw every color you find at a salad bar on your plate
In addition to gaining weight by eating excessive calories, a nutritionally poor diet can cause many other unhealthy conditions. Approximately one-third of the cancer deaths and a large number of heart disease related deaths are linked to high-fat, high calorie foods.