1. Breakfast is a habit to cultivate
Research shows that breakfast eaters consume fewer calories at lunch and dinner, and are less likely to snack compulsively during the rest of the day. What you have for breakfast matters. A study found that people who kicked off the day with eggs or pastries ate more saturated fat throughout the day than people who had cereal and fruit for breakfast.
A breakfast that’s high in fiber and carbohydrates but low in fat gets your metabolism moving faster. Breakfast skippers burn fewer calories.
A good grab-and-go breakfast is a banana or a bag of dry cereal such as oat meal (oats lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels). Homemade yogurt can be healthy, delicious and inexpensive. Yogurt with fruit is a breakfast option full of calcium and antioxidants.
2. Think “portion control”—size it up!
A serving of meat, fish or poultry is equal to a deck of playing cards.
Don’t feel you have to clean your plate when you’re eating out. Most meals are a lot larger than the average adult requires. Try splitting dinner with a friend. There are so many healthy advantages to eating a balanced diet featuring plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. So make sure you eat enough of them. Remember:
- A serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards or your palm.
- Be sure to read the food label. Many snacks are sold as single servings but actually provide two servings or more.
- Substitute one or two “first course” dishes for the main; you’ll get a variety of tastes without huge portions.
- Water works. Drinks lots of it at the table to slow eating and hunger.
- If you’re opting for an energy bar, check the label carefully and pick the one with the least calories and saturated fat.
3. Plan ahead for snacks
Replacing sugar or corn syrup with fruit is a great way to save calories. Sliced fruit is a healthy snack.
Snacking isn’t a bad habit if you’re mindful of how many calories you’re eating. You could keep a food and exercise diary to stay on track. In fact, eating frequently instead of waiting until you’re ravenous might help avoid overeating. It also keeps blood sugar levels normal and brain chemistry in balance.
4. Small changes make a big difference, to your waistline
Cupcakes don’t have to be a bad thing, just choose lower-fat versions.
Choose low fat. Switching to skimmed milk slashes the percentage of milk fat by at least half. Eat your fruit instead of drinking it. You’ll get more fiber and antioxidants and fewer calories (an orange has 90 calories and an 8-ounce glass of orange juice has 110 calories). Other changes that make a difference:
· Knock the word “club” off your sandwich—drop the bacon, cheese, and extra bread. Go for mustard to add flavor and save calories and fat.
· Hold the butter on your movie popcorn and you’ll save over 200 calories.
· Switch from sugary sodas to water.
5. Fit in fitness throughout the day
You don’t have to be a runner to stretch. Try stretching while talking on the phone.
Lifestyle activities can provide health benefits similar to a traditional gym-based workout. Get moving by parking in the farthest space, climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or walking or stretching while you’re on the phone.
The goal for good health is to accumulate 10,000 steps a day, experts say. To help keep track, some people use an electronic pedometer, a palm-sized gadget that clips to your waistband and measures the number of steps you take.
Balance on one foot while brushing your teeth. Balance on the other foot while combing your hair.
Take your dog for a walk every day. If you don’t have a dog, borrow your neighbor’s, or just walk your “inner dog”.
6. Remember the basics of good nutrition
For a healthier diet, consume a variety of healthy foods.
There are three “rules” for healthy eating. They’re easy to remember and easy to follow.
- Expand the variety of foods in your diet.
- Add more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to the foods you already eat.
- Select more low-fat food choices.
7. Treat yourself
Yoga can exercise the body and quiet the mind.
Pick a day or two in the week and have a treat that is planned, such as a dessert or entrée that you especially enjoy. The extra 100-200 calories you’ve eaten will then be easily burned off with a 1 to 2 mile walk. Other ideas include:
- Challenge yourself with a 5 kilometre run or walk.
- Treat yourself to a massage.
- Try meditation, yoga, or an old-fashioned nap.
- Take care of yourself as often as you can.
- Have a corner in the fridge reserved for good-for-you nibbles. Wash some carrots, cherry tomatoes, peppers, shelled peas, strawberries and other fresh fruits. Place them in an airtight see-through container or a plastic bag.
- Put some cut-up veggies or sliced fruit on the table to help you through those starving moments just before dinner is ready.
- Snack only when you’re hungry; it’s not the cure for a glum mood
Health is wealth so please eat and stay healthy.
Written by ERU KOBE GODWIN