Healthy Snacks and Noshes

May 20th, 2015 | Comments Off on Healthy Snacks and Noshes | Posted in Lifestyle

7 Principles of Healthy Eating

May 20th, 2015 | Comments Off on 7 Principles of Healthy Eating | Posted in Lifestyle

The remedy for eating better isn’t deprivation, blandness, or a rigid diet―it’s incorporating good habits into your life.

vegetable-scissor_300The key to eating right and maintaining weight is a plan that fits your life. Consider these points:

1. Know yourself. Some people revel in the art of food preparation. For others, the microwave is a lifesaver. What matters is that you find a healthy way to cook and eat that works for you. If you love a large, sit-down dinner, for example, ignore conventional wisdom that says it’s best to eat lots of small meals (just be sure not to snack all day if you plan to feast at night).

Knowing yourself also means planning for pitfalls. If, say, you often nosh while you work, keep food as far from your desk as possible or bring in a healthy snack from home. If your downfall is salty junk food, don’t eat directly from a multiserving package; take out a handful and put the rest away. Slight changes don’t feel like sacrifice, says Brian Wansink, a professor of marketing and nutritional science at Cornell University, but they do make a difference: “Eating 200 fewer calories a day can mean 20 pounds of weight lost in a year.”

2. Give peas (and peaches) a chance. It’s easy to say “Eat more vegetables,” but what about people who don’t like spinach and broccoli? With a little attention to food prep, even vegephobes should be able to find greens (and oranges and reds) that are appealing. “People, when they cook, focus on the recipe for meat,” says Margo Wootan, the director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “Then they serve plain steamed broccoli on the side. And that’s boring. You need to put the same care into vegetables.” Wootan suggests dipping Brussels sprouts in Dijon mustard or sautéing spinach, collards, or Swiss chard with garlic―or bacon. “Why can’t we add some of the fat in our diet to our vegetables, or some sweetener to our fruit?” she says. “What’s wrong with a little bit of sugar left clinging to a peach?”

Think about using leftover or fresh vegetables in risottos, soups, casseroles, and stews and putting leftovers in breakfast frittatas or pureeing them with olive oil to make a spread or a dip for a sandwich or an appetizer, suggests Laura Pensiero, who cowrote The Strang Cancer Prevention Cookbook ($17, amazon.com) and owns the Gigi Trattoria, in Rhinebeck, New York.

Another benefit of piling on the vegetables is that you can pump up the volume of a meal, even as you trim calories. People tend to eat the same weight of food, not the same number of calories, over the course of a day, says Barbara Rolls, a professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University, in University Park. By adding water-rich vegetables and fruits and substituting leaner cuts of meat in a recipe, you can create lower-calorie, healthier meals–and trick yourself into thinking you’re eating as much as you always have.

Finally, if chopping broccoli or picking through raspberries isn’t your thing, buy frozen. You get the same nutrients without the hassle.

How to Start Eating Healthier

May 20th, 2015 | Comments Off on How to Start Eating Healthier | Posted in Lifestyle

eatbettertodayMost people are creatures of habit. We go to the grocery store on the same day every week and fill our carts with the same stuff. If it’s Monday, chicken’s for dinner and Wednesday always means spaghetti. We are comforted with knowing what to expect—even if our meals aren’t that exciting, we know what we’re going to eat.

That’s what makes eating healthier so scary sometimes. We are so used to eating a certain way that we rarely think about what we’re actually putting into our bodies. So to eat a healthier diet means actually waking up and paying attention to what’s on your plate.

Make Healthy Eating a Habit
Eating healthier doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you want to adopt healthy habits that will last, then the easiest way to do it is by making small, gradual changes. Don’t expect too much from yourself too soon—it takes about a month for any new action to become habit.

Before you start making any changes to your diet, take a week or two to observe your current eating habits. Track everything that goes in your mouth, including drinks and treats, no matter how small. Keeping a food journal will really open your eyes—realizing that you ate 10 cookies over the course of the week might make you think twice before reaching into the cookie jar again tonight, for example. You might not realize how bad your present eating habits are until you see an unhealthy pattern right there in black and white. Once you see that some changes are in order, then you’re ready to take the next steps.

Small Changes Mean Big Rewards
If you can’t stand the taste of broccoli, then vowing to eat it more often is pretty unrealistic. But if increasing the number of vegetables you eat each day is one of your goals, start by finding a few different ones that you can painlessly work into your diet. Make sure you select a variety of colors (dark green, red, orange, etc.) to get the most nutrients per bite. Add some shredded carrots to your muffin batter or top your pizza with fresh tomatoes, for example.

If you know you need to eat more fruit, start by adding some sliced bananas to your cereal in the morning or bake an apple with a bit of brown sugar for a yummy, low-cal dessert. Fresh berries and yogurt make a nice, light breakfast or snack too.

As you adopt this new style of eating, you will find that your food preferences will gradually change—when you cut out high-sugar, high-fat goodies, your cravings will actually go away in time. Your body wants healthy food!