As the old expression rightly indicates we truly are what we eat. Consume excess calories and junk food, then we become overweight. Exclude key nutrients from our diet, such as fruits and vegetables, then we easily become vulnerable to diseases we would have otherwise been protected from. Routine exercise is crucial to help us keep fit and boost our defenses to all kinds of diseases. However, the key factor that contributes to overweight is excess calorie consumption. Therefore, weight reduction programs should combine a good dose of exercise with reduction of calorie consumption. Weight gain mostly has to do with portion size – the amount of food consumed during a meal. Remember that prevention is easier than a cure. It is a lot easier to maintain a healthier weight than lose it after gaining excessive amounts. A healthy eating plan that helps you manage your weight includes a variety of foods you may not have considered. If “healthy eating” makes you think about the foods you can’t have, try refocusing on all the new foods you can eat.
Fresh fruits ― don’t think just apples or bananas. These are great choices, but try some “exotic” fruits, too. How about a mango? Or a juicy pineapple or kiwi fruit! When your favorite fresh fruits aren’t in season, try a frozen, canned, or dried variety of a fresh fruit you enjoy. One caution about canned fruits is that they may contain added sugars or syrups. Be sure and choose canned varieties of fruit packed in water or in their own juice.
Fresh vegetables ― try something new. You may find that you love grilled vegetables or steamed vegetables with an herb you haven’t tried like rosemary. You can sauté vegetables in a non-stick pan with a small amount of cooking spray. Or try frozen or canned vegetables for a quick side dish — just microwave and serve. When trying canned vegetables, look for vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces. Commit to going to the produce department and trying a new vegetable each week.
Calcium-rich foods ― you may automatically think of a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk when someone says “eat more dairy products.” But what about low-fat and fat-free yogurts without added sugars? These come in a wide variety of flavors and can be a great dessert substitute for those with a sweet tooth.
A new twist on an old favorite ― if your favorite recipe calls for frying fish or breaded chicken, try healthier variations using baking or grilling. Maybe even try a recipe that uses dry beans in place of higher-fat meats. Ask around or search the internet and magazines for recipes with fewer calories ― you might be surprised to find you have a new favorite dish! If you would like to loose weight, you may want to consider the DASH eating plan which was originally developed as an eating plan to reduce hypertension. (DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.) However, the plan also represents a healthy approach to eating for those who do not have a problem with hypertension.