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Go Ahead, Be Dense

Posted by Heather J.

To lose or maintain a healthy weight, health experts recommend a high-density diet, which basically means foods that help you feel comfortably full for a longer period of time. For example, you might be hungry ten minutes after you eat that doughnut, but if you ate the same amount of calories in the form of high fiber cereal and lowfat milk, you’d be satisfied through most of the morning. Here’s a few tips to add some density to your diet. Hint: Most of the general rules of healthy eating apply here.

* Add fruit or vegetables to cut calories. Diced grapes, celery, carrots and water chestnuts lower the calories in chicken or tuna salad and add flavor and texture. Use mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, spinach, and other vegetables on pizza in place of pepperoni and sausage. Add spinach, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and other veggies to pasta dishes while cutting back on meat.

* Get more fiber. Fiber helps dilute calories and increases satiety. Add beans to taco fillings, salads and soups. Switch to whole-wheat bread, pasta and cereal.

* Add a salad course to lunch and dinner. Start your meal with a large salad of dark, leafy greens with plenty of vegetables and low-fat or nonfat dressing. This practice can cut an average of 100 calories from the main meal without affecting fullness.

*Sip soup. It's filled with water, which helps you feel full on fewer calories. But avoid cream-based soups, which are packed with fat and calories.

* Cut fat, but not flavor. Choose fat-free or low-fat cheese instead of full-fat varieties, particularly in casseroles and mixed dishes where other ingredients can take up the slack. Try flavored vinegars and a pinch of sugar in place of mayo on coleslaw and other creamy salads.

* Save room for dessert. Sure, you can have dessert, just make sure it’s fruit, which is low in calories and high in water, fiber and flavor. 

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