Healthy eating requires some planning, purpose, and an effort to include a variety of foods in your meals. If you look closely at how you eat, you might find you aren't getting enough nutrients because you don't get the recommended number of servings from each food group. Not only is it important to pay attention to what you eat, but also to what food groups you may not eat enough of. To accomplish this, keep a food journal of everything you eat and drink for 1 week or so. It will help you see trends, both good, and bad.
The National Network News ran a story in mid July on a study published by Kaiser Permanente on 1500 subjects regarding food behaviors and weight loss. Those that kept a food journal lost twice the weight of their non journaling counter parts. Two theories come to mind. If we have to write it down, we are less likely to consume it, and if we don’t write it down, we can’t remember what we ate, or its caloric content. What did you have for lunch yesterday, two days ago? Journaling is a good tool to help you stay the course and make more conscientious choices on what and why you're eating.
Paying attention to serving sizes is SO important. You may not know that a serving size of cereal is only 1 ounce, which is ½ to ¾ cup for most cereals. That means a typical bowl of cereal is usually far more than a serving. So instead of a big bowl of cereal and milk for breakfast, have one or two servings (1 to 2 ounces) of cereal with a sliced banana, and have a small glass (1 cup) of juice. Try low-fat, or nonfat milk, or soy milk instead of whole milk on your cereal to reduce the amount of fat calories.
Eating out: When you eat out, you are relinquishing control over how your meal is prepared. You really don’t know the hidden calories and fat. Most dine out meals are super sized, compounded by sodium loading to enhance the flavor. Both are generally bad for us. Skip the condiments, sauces, and dressings, or at least have them served “on the side” so you can control the portions. Water with lemon anyone? How about sorbet or fruit for dessert? Sharing a meal, or eating half, and taking the other half home, is always a great way to keep your caloric intake down, and spread out the economics of dining out. You’ll find once you get home, half was plenty, as it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register the “I’m full” notion.
On the go: Fresh Fruit, baby carrots, Low fat cheese sticks, almonds, trail mix, meal replacement shakes. Try to limit processed foods and watch for high sodium content as our first reaction to thirst is hunger. Also, too much sodium makes you retain water and then bloat.
Grocery Store: Make a list! Don’t go hungry! Whole, natural foods are at the perimeter of the store, so most of your time shopping should be done there.
I was raised having to eat all the food on my plate before I could leave the dinner table (or have dessert!), as I’m sure many of you were. The key to this is…………WHAT is on THAT plate? Eat smart, journal, WIN!!