by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
You can manage a healthy diet without deprivation, a cartful of unusual vegetables, and hunger pangs. Here’s how to make healthy eating doable …
The novelty of a new year is already fading, along with the initial energy dedicated to fresh goals. Complicated diets are usually the first fad to be ditched. Instead of following weight-loss meal trends, make smaller, more adaptable improvements to your overall eating.
Once these healthy swaps become a habit, losing excess weight can be part of a maintainable healthy lifestyle.
Feed Your Workout
Exercise can make you hungry by burning all that fuel. Schedule snacks and meals accordingly. Have a small portion of protein shortly before you work out to help build muscle and maintain stamina. Schedule main meals after exercise to satisfy post-workout hunger. You won’t need to snack on extra calories to carry you until mealtime.
Respect Your Efforts
You managed to hit the Fitness Floor, despite bad weather, a stressful commute, and that confrontation you had with your boss. Do not undo this effort with post-workout junk food. Your body works hard. You deserve better than that.
You have heard it many times. Now, do it– followed by reducing consumption of juice, sweetened tea, and other sugary beverages. Give yourself an ultimatum: soda or a warm, chewy cookie fresh from the oven. No brainer—pour it down the drain and replenish with water, coffee, or unsweetened tea instead.
Eat More Soup
Choose broth-based options with plenty of veggies and beans for fiber and protein. This can be a low-calorie, nutrient-packed meal itself. A small serving can be a calorie-reducing appetizer. Eating soup before a meal can reduce your calorie intake by up to 20 percent, according to one study.
Switch from white breads and pastas (refined carbs) to whole grains. This includes crackers and rice. Once you convert, you will be hooked on the rich, heartiness of these options, which helps lower the risk of unhealthy weight gain.
Choose dark chocolate when your sweet tooth strikes. It contains less calories than a cupcake or ice cream, and it is good for your heart and emotional well-being. Heck, have two pieces!
Spice Up Your Plate
Flavor does not have to come from fat and sugar. Shake on some spices! Many spices have their own healthful properties, along with being flavor-boosters. An example we love: the capsaicin found in hot peppers may actually increase your metabolism, helping you burn calories long after your last bite. Add some heat to your meals on a cold winter’s day.
Learn Portion Sizes
Along with discovering nutritional facts, food labels also indicate calories per serving. Determine a healthy serving size based on your nutritional needs. Take a picture of it. Then, measure accordingly. A nutritionist can help you customize the correct combinations and amounts based on your fitness and weight goals.
Avoid eating directly from the bag, box, pot, or pan. Serve yourself, preferably in the kitchen, and take your plate to the table. Getting seconds will require you to stop, think, and make a physical decision to return for more.
Convenience Outweighs Decadence
Keep healthful snacks within easy reach. Have nuts, fruit, and low-fat sugarless snacks readily available in your desk, gym bag, or car. Chances are you will reach for them before making the effort of going to the conference room for donuts. We love convenience, even when it means carrot sticks over cookies. If you do choose the cookies, at least you’ll have the jaunt of getting up and finding them.
Dining out can pack on the calories. Eating processed food at home also can be fattening and loaded with unhealthy ingredients. Make an effort to eat most meals at home, or pack and take on-the-go. Stock your pantry with healthy staples to create quick weeknight meals. On the weekends, double recipes for plenty of leftovers later in the week. Sixty minutes of cooking can burn up to180 calories. That will compensate for a few forkfuls!
“57 Ways to Lose Weight Forever, According to Science,” by Christine Mattheis at health.com.
“32 Ways to Reverse Holiday Weight Gain in 1 Week,” by Kathleen Mulpeter at health.com.