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Be food smart!

Posted Jan 02 2012 2:32am

Now that 2012 is upon us, “diets” and “weight loss” are the number one Googled item – no surprise there! Instead of going on a strict diet try eating cleaner and smarter.
This is why “diets” do not work. It is all about lifestyle changes – changes for life! I wanted to share some of my go-to ways to think healthy and eat healthy, and to cut out unwanted calories and change unhealthy techniques. These techniques are for everyone - meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans. 
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1. Eat your protein during breakfast. Eggs, Greek style yogurt, tofu or beans will help your energy level and reduce your cravings during the day.
2. Changing the way you cook. Instead of sautéing or frying, try poaching, steaming or roasting.
3. Substitutions are a great alternative to cooking. Use plain Greek style yogurt instead of sour cream, mustard or hummus instead of mayo, and lean ham or turkey bacon instead of pork bacon.
4. Think before you drink. You can easily drink more calories than you know. Drink seltzer water with citrus (orange, lemon, lime), use non-fat milk in your coffee and lattes, STOP the soda, and if you must drink juice, make it be 100% juice with no added sugar.
5. Check your portion size!  Eat on smaller plates to help cut down on over plating and portion out your plate with this ratio: 1/4 meat/protein 1/4 carb 1/2 vegetable. Also visualize your helpings: protein should be a deck of cards, starch should be a tennis ball and eat as much veggies/fruit as you like.
6. Measure your olive oil instead of “winging it”. You don’t need as much as you may think.
7. Reduce over all meat consumption by subbing with beans or tofu. Although you can buy lean meat, subbing 1-2 nights a week can help get more variety in your everyday diet.
8. Think ordering a salad is a “safe” choice? Salads can easily be just as unhealthy as a burger with fries! Order salads with dressing on the side, cut down on croutons and cheese. Use baby spinach instead of lettuce and add raw nuts for texture and healthy fat.
9. Add fat free flavor. Using a lot of herbs when cooking cuts down on the use of oils and sauces. Experiment by using basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley, red pepper flakes or anything that catches your eye.
10. Fill up on fiber. Eat plenty of beans, legumes and whole grains throughout the day to maintain your energy levels and helps keep you full longer.
11. Snack a better snack. Avoid cookies and chips and replace them with carrot sticks with hummus, fruit, nuts and low fat cheese.
12. Smarten up your soup. Broth soups are generally lower in calories and a good choice when you are craving comfort food. Steer clear of the cream based soups as they are loaded with calories and fat.
13. Take time to eat. It can take up to 30 minutes before you realize your are getting full. Sit, relax and enjoy your meal for once.
14. Don’t ever deny yourself. If you want dessert, enjoy! Just keep your portion size in check. Try enjoying a few pieces of dark chocolate with fruit for a great ending to any meal.

Losing weight can be a struggle but the more tools you have, the easier it will be. Good luck and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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