only will you lose weight, you will
live longer and disease free
There is a huge amount of sometimes conflicting, often confusing, nutrition and
diet information available. Therefore, itís very understandable when people become discouraged about selecting an eating plan for themselves. Even scientific studies often contradict each other. How can we figure out how best to eat for overall health or weight loss?
We can focus on the basics. Unless youíre going to follow a strict diet that restricts or eliminates certain food groups (which should be carefully studied prior to starting), you can begin by striving for balance in your diet. Below are some common-sense guidelines that you can use to identify what kind of an eating plan works best for your lifestyle and your body.
Start drinking more water. Most experts recommend eight (8-ounce) glasses per day. The easiest way to do this is to spread out your water intake throughout the day and use containers that will help you keep track how much you drink. If you arenít drinking much water currently, try easing into it. You can add one cup every few days until you reach 8 or more per day.
(Related article: Water
helps with skincare)
2. Strive to eat 1-2 servings of fruits or vegetables at each meal or
snack. This will add up to several servings a day which is recommended for optimal nutrition.
3. Switch to whole
grains. Go for the healthier whole grains in breads, pasta, tortillas, and cereals. Also eat brown rice instead of white. Youíll be taking in more beneficial fiber and gaining all the other benefits of whole, rather than processed, grains.
4. Get your sweet tooth under control. Start to slowly reduce the portion sizes and frequency of your intake of any sugared treats. Try switching to unsweetened breakfast cereals. Go from full-sized candy bars to bite-size. And, if you are accustomed to eating
dessert after every meal, switch to fruit as a dessert a few times per week. The less
sweets you eat, the less youíll crave over time (really!).
5. Switch to lean meats. Avoid highly marbled beef, high fat pork ribs and chops, regular ground beef and other fatty cuts. Try substituting lean ground beef and turkey, pork tenderloin and flank steak, along with fish and shellfish.
6. Switch to lower fat dairy products. You can really influence your calorie and fat daily totals by switching to lower fat milk, cottage cheese, cheese, sour cream and more. If you enjoy fat-free, work your way down to that. If you really donít enjoy the taste, then go to the lower fat varieties (thatís what I do!).
7. Find a couple of lower fat salad dressings that you enjoy. With all the vegetable youíll be eating as part of your new eating style, a couple healthier dressing options will go a long way toward making them more enjoyable. In addition to using on
salads, you can use dressings for marinade, dips,
sandwich spreads, and whenever you can use some extra flavor.
8. Slowly reduce your portion sizes. Most people who are carrying around some
extra weight probably are eating too much food. By slowly reducing your portion sizes, youíll feel less deprived as you make your way down to a portion size you feel comfortable and satisfied eating.
9. Learn how to read and compare nutrition label information. This will help avoid common mistakes made by people experimenting with healthier foods, such as overeating
low fat items even though they contain as many calories as the full-fat varieties. Look at things like fiber, protein and sugar content to help you understand what youíre feeding your body and how it makes you feel.
10. Although this isnít directly an eating issue, increase your activity! Healthy eating is only half of the equation. For ideal health, your body needs to move and move often. Again, start slowly and gradually increase your activity. This doesnít necessarily mean hard exercise; walking, housework, gardening and running around with your kids can lead to healthy changes in your fitness level. Many experts recommend 30 minutes of exercise three times a week as a minimum for overall health. Each person should talk with their doctor, and determine what type and level of exercise will best suit them.
(Related article: Jump
rope to lose weight)
Even though you may determine you want to make additional
lifestyle changes, these basic healthy tips will give you a great start toward improved health. Take it at your own pace and make changes that fit into your lifestyle. You donít need to eat foods you donít enjoy just because they are healthy. It would be better for you to experiment to find foods you do enjoy, so that you are motivated to keep eating them. Always keep in mind that youíre making these changes to become a healthier person that will
live a longer, more active
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About the author
Erin Rogers, a work-at-home mom of two, is the founder of
Health-E-Meals.com, providing practical healthy living resources for busy people. Visit her website to sign up for the FREE newsletter, 'Dinners on the Double' - offering a quick and healthy, no-recipe dinner idea each week. Other available services include quick and healthy recipes, healthy cooking articles, fitness and motivation tips, healthy living web links, and lots more! Erin can be reached via
email. A FREE copy of the
book of recipes is available here for