Healthy Eating and Exercise for Life. It’s not only the Calorie Control Council’s motto, it’s also a good philosophy for healthy living.
When it comes to healthy eating and weight management, there are lots of ways to build a more nutritious meal, and adopt more sensible eating habits. Registered Dietitian Neva Cochran has these five tips to get you started. You might also want to check out our article here for more ideas.
Start your day with breakfast.
Mom always said it was the most important meal of the day and science confirms this. People who eat breakfast are not only more physically and mentally alert but also eat less the rest of the day. Choose a balanced breakfast with whole grains, fruit and lean protein: scrambled eggs, whole-grain toast and a banana or light Greek yogurt, frozen berries and whole grain cereal. Looking to lower your breakfast calories? Try our Breakfast and Brunch recipes.
Pick protein at every meal.
Protein is key to building and maintaining all the body tissues – bones, muscles, and organs – but new studies attest to its value in promoting satiety, or the feeling of satisfaction and fullness, after eating and keeps you from reaching for a snack an hour or two later. Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, low-fat dairy, beans, soy and nuts. Wonder how much protein is in the foods you eat? Our Food Calorie Calculator also features protein counts.
Focus on eating more fiber.
Like protein, fiber has a filling effect; particularly the soluble fiber found in dry peas and beans, oats, apples, pears, strawberries, cucumbers and carrots. Fiber-filled foods such as crunchy whole grain bread, cereal and pasta require more chewing and provide a texture that makes eating more pleasurable and satisfying. Check the fiber in your meal plan with our Food Calorie Calculator which — in addition to calories — shows fiber, protein and other nutrients.
Fill up with fluid.
Sometimes when you feel hungry you may actually just be thirsty. That’s because the thirst and hunger centers are near each other in the brain so people can mistake thirst for hunger. So drink up but be sure to stick with low and no-calorie beverages like diet soda, light lemonade, iced tea with a sugar substitute or water.
It’s not always the foods you are eating but the amount that causes weight gain. You can still enjoy some of your favorites but in smaller portions. For instance, choose a kids meal vs. a large burger and fries at a quick service restaurant, opt for two slices of pizza and a side salad instead of the whole pizza and a half-cup of pasta rather than a cup.
Neva Cochran, MS, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Dallas. Her background includes work as a nutrition communications consultant to a variety of food and nutrition organizations, including the Calorie Control Council. She is passionate about promoting fact-based food and nutrition information to help people enjoy nutritious eating. Follow her on Twitter @NevaRDLD and check out her blog at www.NevaCochranRD.com.