March 16th, 2004
If you’re like most Americans, eating is like breathing - it happens
frequently and without much thinking. Poor nutrition is at least half of what’s
behind America’s record, belt-busting waistline (the other half being a lack
Too many calories, too much fat and not enough fruits and vegetables are the most
common dietary deficiencies. But with just a little effort, reforming your diet can
help you lose weight while steering clear of heart disease, high blood pressure and
The following tips can help you make the little changes that deliver big results.
- Eating isn’t the only way to absorb excess calories. Drinking alcoholic
beverages and sugar-packed sodas can bring them in to. Switch to water, unsweetened
tea, coffee or 100% fruit / vegetable juices.
- 3 to 4 servings of dairy products a day is a good idea, but they can carry a lot of
fat. Try buying reduced fat cheeses, nonfat yogurts and skim milk. If skim doesn’t
taste quite right at first, transition yourself from whole milk to 2% to 1% and then try
- Get into the habit of trying new foods. Variety is the spice of life, and it’s
- You should get 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. But what’s a
serving? Does the lettuce on a Big Mac count? According to the Centers for Disease
Control a serving is one of the following: 6 fluid ounces of 100% fruit or vegetable
juice, 1/2 cup cooked or canned vegetables / fruit, 1 cup raw, leafy vegetables, 1/2 cup
of peas or beans or 1/4 cup dried fruit.
- When you’re looking to snack, you often go for what see first; make sure to
keep a bowl of fruit on the countertop, or vegetables right up front in your refrigerator.
- When you’re preparing pasta, skip the heavy cream sauces and go for
tomato-based sauces instead - they’re much lower in fat and calories.
- Eating out can be a nutritional minefield. It can seem easier to just get
what’s on the menu rather than what you know is best. Don’t be afraid to
ask for your order to be specially prepared, or to ask for something that’s not
even on the menu. Go with your gut, restaurants stay in business by making customers
- If you’re eating out with friends, share an appetizer or desert instead of
getting a full one - that way, you share the calories too.
- Work fish into your diet at least once a week. Compared to meat and poultry,
it’s light, low-fat and easy to prepare.
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