Weight Management Diets don't work. People who completely change what they eat quickly go back to their old ways. The best way to lose weight is to eat less and be more active. Focus on changing one food habit at a time. Identify what pattern is a problem for you. It could be snacking too much, skipping breakfast, or eating too much of one food, like chips or meat. Then, work hard on trying ways to change just that one habit. A trigger food is a food that tastes so good it is hard to stop eating it. Buy trigger foods in smaller amounts and less often instead of keeping a regular supply at home. If you like ice cream, go out and buy a kiddie‐size cone instead of keeping a half gallon in the freezer all the time. Many people give up on a healthy eating or exercise plan after a bad day or week. Make it a learning experience instead. Start again the next day. What caused your bad choices? Were you trying to change too much at once? Were trigger foods readily available? Did you eat enough food? Did you have to eat out because you did not plan ahead? Work on changing what led to your bad day. Shopping/Budgeting/Seasonality Save money by eating dried beans and lentils more often. Find recipes at http://www.americanbean.org Plan a few meals before grocery shopping. Check your food supplies. Make a shopping list of the things you need for those meals. One key to saving money is to stick to your list! Fruit is nature's fast food. What could be easier than having an apple or some grapes for a snack? Buy foods in season. In the spring, check for cabbage, melons, fiddleheads, asparagus, spinach, pineapple and rhubarb. Buy foods in season. In the summer, check for greens, peas, strawberries, summer squash, zucchini, green beans, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, beets, eggplant, corn, cucumbers, cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, and watermelon. Buy foods in season. In late summer and early fall, check for tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, winter squash, potatoes, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, kale, Swiss chard, onions , pears and apples.
NUTRITION TIPS: Below are some nutrition tips that will
help you in your journey to becoming healthier.
Buy foods in season. In the winter, check for oranges, grapefruits, clementines, grapes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pomegranate, dates, and cauliflower. Plan ahead before grocery shopping. Check out what you have in the refrigerator and cupboards. What meals will you eat during the next week using what you have? Make a shopping list of the things you need. Look for sales. Buy foods you would usually use. Store brands are less expensive than name brands. Compare the unit price tags on the edge of the store shelf. In the upper left part of the tag is the price per pound (or other unit). Buy the product with the lowest price per pound or other unit. Sometimes the larger “economy” size is not the best buy. Snacking It is easy to eat too much when you snack from a bag or box. Try packing snacks like crackers, nuts and cookies ahead of time in snack‐size baggies. A snack should be small, not the size of a meal. Aim for less than 120 calories. Fruit is nature's fast food. What could be easier than having an apple or some grapes for a snack? Try baked pita chips with hummus. Bake leftover tortilla triangles and serve with salsa for a snack. Strawberries or apple slices with low fat yogurt make a healthy snack. Add chopped scallions and a salt‐free seasoning mix, such as Mrs. Dash, to nonfat or low fat yogurt for a dip. Skipping meals may make you hungry. After you skip a meal, you might eat too much snack food! Instead, eat three meals made up of healthy food. Eat small snacks between meals if you are hungry. Choose fruit, vegetables, light yogurt, cheese, or fiber‐rich crackers with hummus or peanut butter for a snack if you are hungry between meals. Add half a chopped tomato to low fat cottage cheese for a healthy snack. Beverages and Water Break a soda habit by making small changes bit by bit. Cut your intake in half for a couple of weeks. Fill a glass with half regular and half diet soda during the next few weeks. After a month, switch to water, diet soda or tea. You will save lots of calories. Choose water to drink when you eat out. It’s a great way to save calories. Restaurant food is already very high in calories. Sweetened drinks add even more calories to a meal eaten out.
Milk is a healthy choice. Drinking too much can add too many calories to your diet. Use a small glass (4‐6 ounces) for milk with your snack. One cup is plenty of milk at a meal. It’s easy to drink too much juice. One half cup (4 ounces) a day is plenty! Better yet, have fresh, canned or frozen fruit instead. Fruits and Vegetables All fruits and vegetables count: fresh, frozen, canned and dried. A serving of fruit costs less than a can of soda, a bag of potato chips or a candy bar. Eat vegetables, raw or cooked, in a variety of ways: steamed, sautéed, stir fried, roasted, grilled and boiled. Use vegetable “odds and ends” in soups, stir fries, casseroles and salads. Leftover spinach, celery, broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, or turnip work well. If you know someone with a garden, ask for their extra veggies. Offer to help them with planting or weeding in exchange. Plan for several meals from one vegetable purchase. A head of broccoli can be used several ways. Add berries to cereal. Have a side of vegetable with lunch instead of chips. It could be soup, salad, cole slaw, raw vegetable (carrots, cauliflower, green pepper) or tomato and lettuce in a sandwich. Add a fruit to lunch. Fresh fruit in season is delicious. Try strawberries in the summer or apples in the fall. Canned fruit costs less, and is just as good for you. Fruit is nature’s fast food! Make it an easy choice. Wash and cut it up ahead to make it handy to have as a snack. Add an apple, pear, orange, or canned fruit to your lunch. Dress up your breakfast every day with fruit. Add it to cereal, oatmeal or yogurt. Try banana, blueberries, applesauce, frozen raspberries, dried cranberries or raisins. Use fruit in your peanut butter sandwich instead of sugary jam or jelly. Try sliced apples, banana, dried fruit, or berries. When you grocery shop, buy some fruit that is ready to eat, like grapes or canned fruit. Pears, peaches, nectarines and kiwi are usually not ripe when you buy them at the supermarket. Buy just a few, 1 or 2 per person. Leave them on the counter for a few days to ripen. Check clues for when fruit is ripe: aroma, squeeze test and weight. The aroma is sweet. The fruit is firm, but gives a little when you squeeze it. Fruit is a little heavier when it is ripe.
Cantaloupe usually needs to ripen for a few days before you can really enjoy its sweet flavor. A sweet smell at the stem end is a great clue that it is ripe. It will give a little when you squeeze it. A rock‐hard cantaloupe is not ripe. Choose red, purple, yellow, orange, blue and green fruits. Each color is a sign of a different food chemical that protects health. Add chickpeas (also called “garbanzo beans”) to a salad for a quick summer meal. Add rinsed canned vegetables or beans to chicken and pasta recipes. Use leftover bits of fresh or cooked vegetables to pasta sauce, lasagna, meat loaf, mashed potatoes and rice. Celery, onion, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and spinach work well. Make a big pot of homemade vegetable, bean or pea soup to have for lunches during the week. It is a good way to use up leftover bits of fresh or leftover vegetables. Visit the Farmer’s Market from May through October to buy vegetables in season. Now and then, choose a vegetable you have never tried. Eat some red and orange vegetables every week for health. Squash, pumpkin, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and red peppers have great nutrition power. Eat some dark green vegetables every week for health. Broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, kale and bok choy have great nutrition power. Eat 8‐10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day to help prevent high blood pressure. That may sound hard to do! Eat two servings at three meals, and one at two snacks. Peas, corn and potatoes are starchy. Starchy vegetables, in small portions, are good for you! Put vegetables instead of meat on pizza. Spinach, mushrooms, and onions are delicious pizza vegetables. Be creative! Try other veggies on pizza. Snack on a few low fat crackers or whole wheat pita chips with hummus for a dip. Roasted root vegetables are delicious. Use the leftovers in a wrap the next day, with hummus for a spread. Add tomatoes, spinach leaves or chopped bok choy. Add nutrition to your salad by adding more color! Use dark greens, tomatoes, peppers, red onion, carrots, dried cranberries or canned apricots. Snack on raw veggies if you are hungry while making dinner. Add tomatoes, spinach, scallions or other vegetables to omelets. For breakfast, enjoy a leftover bean burrito or veggie wrap. Top a baked potato with plain nonfat yogurt and crumbled broccoli instead of just butter or sour cream. Keep a container in the freezer for leftover vegetables. When they add up, make a vegetable soup with canned tomatoes and white kidney beans or chickpeas. Add a bay leaf and other herbs for flavor.
Add canned or frozen vegetables to casseroles or soups. Whole Grains Not all multi‐grain or wheat breads are whole grain. Look for the words “100% whole wheat” or “100% whole grain” on the package. Brown rice, whole grain cereal, oatmeal and popcorn are whole grains. White whole wheat flour has the same nutrition value as whole wheat flour. It is made from a different wheat grain that is lighter in color and has a milder flavor. Cook a double amount of brown rice. Save leftovers for another meal. It freezes well. Choose whole grain foods by reading the ingredient label. Look for “whole wheat”, “whole rye”, “whole oats”, “oatmeal”, “brown rice”, “bulgur” or “whole‐grain cornmeal” listed first. The front of the package can be misleading. Wheat bread is not whole wheat. Bread that states it is “100% wheat” is made from refined wheat, meaning that the fiber has been removed. Look for bread that says “100% whole wheat” on the front of the label. “Whole wheat” will be listed first on the ingredient list. Finding whole grain bread can be tricky. Labels that say “multi grain”, “100% wheat”, “stone ground”, “made with whole grains” and “cracked wheat” may mean the food has very little whole grain. A brown color can mean that there is coloring added, like caramel coloring. Choose breakfast cereal with 3‐5 grams of fiber per serving. Oatmeal is a whole grain cereal. Use whole wheat pasta. Many brands are very tasty. If you are used to eating only white pasta, start by cooking half of each. Over time, use more whole wheat pasta. Air‐popped popcorn is a great whole grain, low‐calorie snack, with lots of fiber. Brown rice is very tasty. If you are used to only white rice, start a change by cooking half of each. Over the next few months, gradually add more brown rice. Breakfast Eat within 1‐2 hours of getting up. Eating breakfast helps you stay at a healthy weight. Choose foods not usually eaten at breakfast. Try leftover pizza, a toasted chicken sandwich or a wrap. Make your own breakfast sandwich with leftover turkey, tomato, lettuce, cheese and egg. Check out Power Up With Breakfast at http://www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets/
Add half a cup of frozen berries to fat‐free or low fat yogurt. Eating breakfast helps you stay at a healthy weight! Try peanut butter and sliced banana on whole wheat toast for a breakfast on the go. Try low fat string cheese, whole grain crackers and an apple for a breakfast on the go. In a hurry at breakfast? Keep homemade muffins in the freezer. Grab a muffin and half a cup of 100% fruit juice for a breakfast on the go. Make your own breakfast sandwich! Try a wrap filled with a scrambled egg, salsa and low fat cheese. Dress up a bagel for breakfast. Put a sliced hard‐boiled egg, low fat cheese and a sprinkle of tarragon on half of a whole grain bagel. Sodium/Salt Restaurant and fast food are very high in sodium. Frozen meals and canned food are also very high in sodium. If you must choose any of these, have only one a day. For example, if you eat fast food for lunch, don't have canned soup or a frozen meal for supper. Make delicious homemade soups instead of buying salty canned soups. You will save money and eat less salt. Cheese on pizza is a salty treat. Adding pepperoni or ham adds too much salt. Top pizza with vegetables instead, such as broccoli, fresh spinach, onions or mushrooms. There is too much salt in prepared foods like deli meats, cheese, sausages, hot dogs, frozen meals, packaged meals, soups and canned goods. If you choose a high salt food, choose no more than one a day, with less than 800 mg of sodium. Deli meats and hot dogs are high in salt. Make a low‐sodium sandwich or wrap for lunch with leftover chicken or turkey, canned tuna, canned salmon or peanut butter. Go ahead and use a little bit of salt from the salt shaker in homemade foods. It will be far less than what you get in prepared, packaged and canned foods. Natural food stores sell herbs and spices in bulk. You can buy a small amount for under a dollar. A large jar at the grocery store has more than you need and may cost over $5.00. Herbs that go well with Italian foods are oregano, basil, bay leaf and crushed red pepper. Herbs that go well in Mexican foods are cilantro, cumin and chili powder. Make your own taco blend, without the salt. If you use it to thicken hamburger, just add a tablespoon of flour to the herbs. Stir the mixture into the browned hamburger. Add thyme leaves and a bay leaf to homemade soups for flavor.
Tarragon adds a wonderful flavor to eggs. Start stir fries with fresh ground ginger and chopped garlic warmed in a little bit of canola oil. Use thyme, savory and parsley, together or alone, with chicken. Lemon and parsley go well with vegetables. Add a salt‐free seasoning (like Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb) to potato and pasta salads. Ask for a quart of fresh parsley from a gardener in the fall. Rinse, chop and freeze. It is easy to grab a handful or a smaller amount as needed all winter. Use it in soups, tabouli, eggs, sauces for fish and meats, salads and vegetable mixes. A canned, frozen or boxed food or prepared meat with more than 800 mg of sodium per serving is high in sodium. If you do choose a high sodium food, have no more than one a day. Fast food and restaurant meals are very high in sodium. You have more control when you make your meals at home. If you do eat out, be sure that you eat foods with low salt content in the rest of your meals and snacks that day. Fat/Cholesterol Use just jelly or jam on a toast, without using margarine. Peanut butter, nuts, and oils have good fats. Fish like tuna, halibut, salmon and swordfish have good fats. Eat 2 servings of fish a week for good health. Ground flax seed (“flax meal”) has healthy fats. Add 1‐2 tablespoons to cereal, oatmeal, casseroles, yogurt and baked goods. You can find it at supermarkets in the baking section. Check the labels of store‐bought foods for “trans fat”. That is a kind of fat to stay away from. “Partially hydrogenated” on the ingredient list means that the food has trans fat. Choose lean meats. Use low fat cooking techniques like grilling, baking, broiling and roasting. Fried foods add too many calories. Try a yogurt and fruit parfait for dessert if you have a sweet tooth. Baked goods have too many calories for every day. Dairy
Aim to eat 3 servings of milk and dairy foods every day. Milk, yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, and cheese all count as dairy foods. Add cheese to casseroles and sandwiches. Add milk to oatmeal, tomato soup and fruit smoothies. Enjoy string cheese for a snack. Top a baked potato with fat‐free or low fat yogurt and chopped broccoli. Add chopped scallions and a salt‐free seasoning mix to yogurt to make a dip for veggies or crackers. Layer canned or fresh fruit with vanilla yogurt for a dessert or snack. Choose low fat or fat‐free yogurt. Add sliced or grated cheese to a sandwich or wrap. Nuts Make a breading mixture for fish or chicken with crushed pistachios, cracker crumbs and Mrs. Dash. Dip floured fish or chicken in stirred egg white, then into the breading mixture. Bake or pan‐fry. Pistachios make a great snack because they have fiber and healthy fats. Choose about 30 nuts for a snack of about 120 calories. The fat in natural peanut butter is good for you. Low‐fat peanut butter is not a good choice, even if you want to lose weight. One to two tablespoons of peanut butter is just the right amount. Protein Seafood has fats that are good for your heart health. Have a fish meal at least twice a week. Choose lean meat and chicken. Eat chicken without skin. Use 90% lean meat ground beef or ground turkey. Eat a meat portion that is the size of a deck of cards for a healthy amount. You will save money when you buy less meat! Buy more fruits and vegetables with the money you save. Steamed mussels with a salad and some bread can be prepared quickly. It will take less time than driving to a fast food place. Buy a small piece of fish at the seafood counter. Ask for a quarter of a pound, or half a pound. Buying a whole pound all at once can give you the impression that fish is too expensive. If you buy a whole pound, freeze some, cook some for a meal and save some of the cooked fish for the next day’s sandwich.
Added Sugar Breakfast cereals with less than 5 grams of sugar are a healthy choice. Buy plain, nonfat yogurt. Jazz it up with a few frozen raspberries, fresh berries, banana, canned fruit or grapes. Check out the big difference in calories between plain nonfat yogurt and the kinds with added sugar. Find the calorie amount on the Nutrition Facts label. Add your own fruit or sweetener to plain nonfat yogurt. Drink water instead of drinks with added sugar. You could save yourself lots of calories! Two cans of soda a day has about the same number of calories as what is recommended for a whole meal! Some small candy bars have over 220 calories per serving. They taste so good we can eat twice that amount. Eating 500 calories is the same as what as what is recommended for a whole meal! Why should we avoid added sugar in food? Drinking beverages or eating foods with too much sugar fills us up. We then end up eating fewer foods that are good for us. There is lots of sugar in a soda. A can of soda has 8 or more teaspoons of sugar. Portions Eat more slowly to enjoy the flavor of each bite. You’ll feel more satisfied! You may not feel that you need to rush to get second helpings. There is room in a healthy diet for all foods. A treat now and then is OK! Have a small serving and don’t feel guilty! Make healthy foods your everyday choices. Eat a meal every 4‐5 hours, adding a snack in between if you are hungry. Skipping a meal can make you overeat at the next meal or snack. A meat portion should be about the size of a deck of cards. Watch your portions of potatoes, peas or corn. The right amount is about the size of a computer mouse. Too much of a good thing, like milk or juice, can lead to weight gain. Use a small glass, ½ to 1 cup for milk, and ½ cup for juice. If you are trying to lose weight, keep a journal to help you see problem areas around overeating. When did you eat? What foods? Where were you? Why did you eat – were you hungry, mad or sad? Who were you with? Was the food in plain view? You will learn what diet changes to focus on. Make small goals to make changes.
Brown Bag Tips A rule of thumb for a packed lunch is to include a sandwich, a vegetable and a fruit. Add milk, yogurt or cheese. A vegetable in a brown bag lunch could be vegetable soup, a raw veggie (carrots, cauliflower, pepper strips, cucumber slices, and broccoli florets), salad or cole slaw. Jazz up your sandwich or wrap with spinach, chopped tomato, grated zucchini or carrots, or chopped bok choy. On The Run/Away From Home/Dining Out Choose water instead of a sugary drink when eating out. Sweet drinks have lots of calories. Restaurant and fast food meals already have too many calories for one meal. Restaurants serve bread or tortilla chips before a meal, when you are hungry. It’s easy to go overboard on bread or chips. Make a guideline for yourself. Serve yourself a small amount, and don’t have seconds. Or, wait to eat some bread or a roll with the meal. When eating out, share a dessert with everyone at the table. Slow down and enjoy each bite. When eating out, be sure to include a vegetable. It could be veggies in a sandwich, soup, salad or steamed vegetables instead of fries. Even fast food places have some veggies. On a busy day with appointments or errands near lunchtime, be prepared. Pack a raw vegetable or salad, a can of light fruit and water. Instead of fast food, buy a sandwich, and you’ve got a healthy lunch on the go! When eating out, choose lower fat items to save calories. High fat menu items use words like batter‐fried, pan‐ fried, buttered, creamed, crispy and breaded. Check out Healthy Eating on the Run: A Month of Tips at http://www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets/