Weight control is all about making small changes that you can live with forever. As you incorporate these minor adjustments into your lifestyle, you’ll begin to see how they can add up to big calorie savings and weight loss. Here are my top 10 habits to help you turn your dream of weight loss into a reality:
- Evaluate your eating habits. Are you eating late at night, nibbling while cooking, finishing the kids’ meals? Take a look around, and it will be easy to identify a few ‘behaviours’ you can change that will add up to big calorie savings.
- If you fail to plan, plan to fail. You need a strategy for your meals and snacks. Pack healthful snacks for the times of day that you know you are typically hungry and can easily stray from your eating plan.
- Always shop with a full belly. It’s a recipe for disaster to go into the grocery store when you are hungry. Shop from a prepared list so impulse buying is kept to a minimum. Eating right starts with stocking healthy food in your pantry and refrigerator.
- Eat regular meals. Figure out the frequency of your meals that works best in your life and stick to it. Regular meals help prevent bingeing.
- Eat your food sitting down at a table, and from a plate. Food eaten out of packages and while standing is forgettable. You can wind up eating lots more than if you sit down and consciously enjoy your meals.
- Serve food onto individual plates, and leave the extras back at the stove. Bowls of food on the table beg to be eaten, and it takes incredible will power not to dig in for seconds. Remember, it takes about 20 minutes for your mind to get the signal from your belly that you are full.
- Eat slowly, chew every bite, and savour the taste of the food. Try resting your spoon or fork between bites and drinking plenty of water with your meals.
- Don’t eat after dinner. This is where lots of folks pack on the extra pounds. If you are hungry, try satisfying your urge with a non-caloric beverage or a piece of hard candy. Brushing your teeth after dinner helps reduce the temptation to eat again.
- If you snack during the day, treat the snack like a mini-meal. The most nutritious snacks contain complex carbohydrates and a small amount of protein and fat.
- Start your day with breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day. After a long night’s rest, your body needs the fuel to get your metabolism going and give you energy for the rest of the day.
Delicious, Filling Foods That Don’t Pack On Kilos
Eat More Fruit Guilt-Free
Cookies, chips, and other high-fat foods can taste great. But they have little nutritional value, and they pack a lot of calories in a small portion — so they’re energy-dense. You can help family eat more without overloading on calories. Here’s how: Choose low-density foods. These foods — such as apples, oranges, and other fruits — have fewer calories for a larger portion. And they keep you feeling full longer.
Fun With Fruits and Vegetables
A little creativity can go a long way to get family, especially kids, more interested in low-calorie dense foods. Cut fruit and vegetables into fun shapes — like carrot flowers or watermelon stars. Use veggies or fruits to make a funny face on an open-faced sandwich or a bowl of cereal.
Look for Water-Rich Foods
Fruits and vegetables contain more water and fiber than processed foods, making you feel fuller. For example, a whole, juicy tomato has the same calories as five dry pretzel sticks. Try swapping out dry foods with water-rich ones to make you feel fuller.
Try Beans, Peas, and Lentils
Beans, peas, and lentils are packed with powerful nutrients and energy for growing bodies. They have similar amounts of protein as meat but less fat. Their high fiber content can also leave your family feeling full and can help prevent constipation. So try adding them to soups, making a chilled bean salad, or substituting them for meat in a main dish.
Get Whole Grains in the Morning
The rush to get out the door can sometimes make even the most health-conscious parents lose focus on the all-important healthy breakfast. So take your breakfast to-go. Pack cereal for kids to eat in the car. Choose whole-grain over high-sugar options for better weight control. And grab a protein bar or high-fiber cereal to eat when you get to work. Fiber and protein can keep you feeling fuller, longer.
Update Your Main Dishes
You don’t have to eat a big bowl of broccoli to get the benefits of low-density foods. Try mixing them into your family’s favourite meals. Sneak veggies like spinach, celery, and carrots into stews, casseroles, and chili. Add spinach, green pepper, or carrots to omelets, lasagna, and spaghetti sauce. With those healthy additions, you can reduce the amount of high-fat ingredients like meat and cheese.
Start Dinner With Salad
For the most impact, work in low-density foods at the start of your meal. In one study, women ate 12 per cent fewer calories when they had a large salad 20 minutes before eating pasta for lunch. So dish up a healthy salad with low-fat dressing as your family’s first course. Wait a few minutes to notice feelings of fullness before digging into your next healthy course.
Slurp Some Steamy Soup
Soup is another way to start your family’s meal with a low-calorie choice — as long as you choose a broth-based, not creamy, one. High water content makes soup filling. So a bowl before dinner decreases the risk of overeating high-calorie foods later in the meal. Interestingly, drinking water doesn’t have the same effect. Foods with lots of water in them curb hunger, but drinking water alone doesn’t.
Win Over Veggie-Haters
Is your family reluctant to try new vegetables and fruits? Slowly add them into your menu. List all the fruits and veggies that your family likes. If the list is short, each week have them pick one fruit or vegetable to try. Steam, roast, or stir-fry vegetables. Also, let kids be involved in the cooking. When kids cook, they’re more likely to eat. (It might work for other picky eaters too).
Get the Family Involved in Healthy Eating
Get your kids on the healthy bandwagon by having them help you make vegetable pizzas. Cut up a variety of veggies and let each person pick what to put on his pizza. Slowly wean your family off high-density, fattier options like pepperoni. They’ll realise that vegetables — and even fruit, like pineapple — can make pizza toppings that look and taste good.
Add Fruit and Enhance Flavour
You’re not depriving yourself of flavour when you eat low-density foods — you’re enhancing it. For example, putting apples in a chicken salad adds a touch of sweetness and crunch. What if your family’s dessert ritual is two scoops of chocolate ice cream? Reduce the calorie density and add zing by making it one scoop of reduced-fat ice cream (or frozen yogurt) topped with tasty berries.
Parents, Walk the Walk
Of course, if you want your family to eat foods with less fat and fewer calories, you need to do it, too. Kids’ main mode of learning is watching their parents. Don’t order a double bacon burger and expect your child to get the grilled chicken salad. Remember, eating low-density foods doesn’t mean eating less — it’s eating more of a healthy food. That’s one choice you can make to feel more satisfied and energised.
( Reviewed by Kathy Empen, MD ).
Source : WMD