Are you tired of diet tips handed out by someone with apparently unlimited income and time? For some of us, it may just not be practical to spend half of our Sunday preparing carefully portioned meals for the rest of the week, or financially feasible to buy all our meals prepackaged in just the right portions. And there are those of us who cringe at the thought of weighing food to achieve ‘optimal portion sizes’. Here are ten real life diet tips for the rest of us.
- Eating out? The portions in restaurants are usually huge, and when it’s on the plate, we usually eat it. If possible, order from the kid’s menu, where the portions are more reasonable.
- Keep healthy snacks nearby and easily accessible. A bowl of fruit on the kitchen table, a bowl of celery or carrots in the fridge, or a few flip-open cans of fruit salad on your desk at work will help you grab something healthy when those first hunger pangs start. In other words, you’re more likely to grab something low in calories and good for you if it’s easy to eat.
Replace frozen vegetables for canned. Canned vegetables often have a lot of sodium, which you don’t need, and little real nutrition, which you do. Buy economical sized bags with zip closures to make it easy to serve a single serving before a meal.
Buy a vegetable steamer. Steaming is one of the healthiest ways to cook vegetables. The food retains almost all of its natural nutrients instead of leaching it into the cooking water. In fact, it makes your vegetables taste great – which means eating them rather than eating fatty foods that are heavier.
Never eat while standing. One of the easiest ways to sabotage your diet is to ‘eat without thinking’. Treat food with the respect it deserves. Make yourself a plate. Sit down and eat well. You will be less likely to put food in your mouth without paying attention.
- Spread out your meals. If you eat three meals a day, your body tends to store what it doesn’t need at that point. By adopting a ‘grazing’ habit, you will keep your metabolism working throughout the day. Have a small breakfast, a piece of fruit with crackers or toast mid-morning, a light lunch, and an ‘after-school snack’ mid-afternoon. Just remember to split the same amount of food into smaller meals and not ADD more food to your daily diet.
Take a fruit juice or flavored water instead of soda. Soda is nothing but empty calories. No nutrients, lots of sugar. Instead, grab a bottle of 100% fruit juice or water flavored with a squeeze of fruit.
Drink water. Even the FDA recommends at least 8 full 8-ounce glasses of water a day for your body to function properly. If you are on a diet, you should drink even more. It’s not just that full feeling – water helps your body digest food properly and cleans your system.
- Can’t afford a gym membership? Make a pact with friends to exercise together. Date at least three times a week to play volleyball, take a walk, or be active for half an hour.
- Skip the chips. Fatty snacks fried in hydrogenated oil like potato chips contribute fat and calories and not much else. Instead, grab a handful of dried fruit or a cup of yogurt for the same amount of calories and a lot more nutritional benefit.