Living a healthier lifestyle relies on a foundation of making informed food choices, developing sound physical activity plans and healthy eating habits, says Helen Ramsey, RD LD CDE, a registered dietitian with Ascension Via Christi Weight Management in Wichita.
Here are five recommendations from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help turn healthy choices into habits:
1. Enjoy your food, but eat less – Use a smaller plate, take smaller portions and ask for a to-go box. When dining out, you might consider packing away half of your meal right away or sharing a meal with someone.
2. Rethink your drink – Drinking water instead of sugary drinks such as energy drinks, juice and soda can help you manage your calorie intake. On average a 12 oz. soda = 10 sugar packets.
3. Find out what is really in your food – Study the ingredients list on the ‘Nutrition Fact’ labels. The foods listed first are the foods with the highest concentration in that particular food item.
4. Be on your guard at the salad bar – Although salad bars are becoming less and less popular, you can often find them at dining courts, grocery stores, hospitals and some restaurants. Be careful when picking foods on a salad bar, because while some are great, like veggies, other toppings like bacon, fried noodles, and croutons can really add the fat and calories. Opt for fat-free and low-fat dressings.
5. Make dessert special – Save dessert for a special night or choose a piece of fruit or yogurt parfait to satisfy your craving. Cut back on foods high in sugars, salts, and solid fats like ice cream, candy, and sweetened drinks.
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