Healthy Food: Weight Control

Healthy food: Weight Control

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 66% of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese. When you eat too much and don’t get enough physical exercise, you gain weight. Simple. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in. But this doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself. Actually, the newest trend among the weight conscious is eating more. But not more cake, candy, pasta with rich buttery sauces, fast foods or high-sugar soft drinks. The idea of ‘more’ is not to focus on consuming less of the ‘bad’ foods, but aim to incorporate more of the good, healthy foods into your diet. It’s all about making substitutions rather than depriving yourself.

For example, at lunch and dinner, fill your plate with two or three heaping helpings of steamed or roasted vegetables drizzled with a little olive oil (a very healthy fat) or a large salad, a small portion of meat (2-4 ounces) and have a ripe juicy piece of fruit and a serving of sorbet for dessert. For breakfast, have a bowl of whole-grain cereal with added fruit and a few nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans) with skim milk. For snacks, try a piece of cheese, an apple, low-fat yogurt, chocolate milk, peanut butter on low-fat crackers, or a hand-full of nuts. Healthy snacks have minimal calories (200 to 300 is a good range) and deliver a mix of protein, fiber, and fat to make you feel fuller, faster (that's the fat), and keep you full until your next meal (protein and fiber).

Here are some nutritional superstars to add (and substitute) to your meals that will not only deliver a host of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, but taste great and are low in calories:

Weight and healthy foods

1.      Roasted potatoes, sweet peppers, onions and fresh pineapple. Chop into medium-sized chunks, toss in a bowl with two tablespoons of olive oil and sea salt and layer on a cookie sheet to bake for twenty-five minutes. This combination is loaded with a multitude of nutrients as well as great flavor. A large serving of this is less than half the calories of an order of fries and much healthier for you.

2.      Spinach. Sauté the spinach in olive oil with nuts and raisins. The olive oil helps you to absorb the nutrients from the spinach. Or try chopping a cup of fresh spinach in a Cobb salad (with olive oil and vinegar dressing) to go along with a baked chicken breast. Spinach is a great source of vitamins A and C.

3.      Eggs. In the 90s, people feared eggs because of their fat and cholesterol content, but research has shown little, if any, connection between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Now, eggs are back on the healthy menu because they provide a complete set of nutrients including all the amino acids your body requires. The protein also keeps you feeling full all morning and gives you energy.

4.      Fruit. Slice an apple and spread peanut butter on the slices. Apples are low in calories and high in fiber, soluble and insoluble. The peanut butter is a good source of protein and helps you feel full. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwis, pineapple, pears, plum, etc. – all of these fruits are high in antioxidants and vitamins. Eat them alone, in smoothies, on cereal, or in low-calorie desserts. Not only are they healthy for you, you’ll save tons of calories and feel full.

5.      Choose a variety of vegetables to have raw or cooked everyday. Whatever is in season is the best choice, but any will work to help you eat healthy and save calories. With your lean turkey sandwich at lunch, have a raw veggie medley with low-fat vegetable dip instead of a fast-food hamburger and super-sized fries. 

6.      A variety of seeds and nuts make excellent snacks even though most nuts have a high fat count – the fat in them is healthy fat that your body uses and needs. Try a hand-full of almonds in a cup of low-fat yogurt. The almonds are healthy fat and protein while the yogurt has fat-fighting calcium.

7.      Cheese is another great choice. Its combination of protein and fat curbs your appetite for hours and it’s healthy. Most cheeses come in low-fat versions. And try a small glass of low-fat chocolate milk instead of soda. Again, it provides protein and the sweet, chocolate flavor helps curb your cravings.

8.      An all-time favorite is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s healthy, especially if you choose whole grain bread and a low-sugar fruit spread. You’ll be getting fiber from the bread, protein from the peanut butter and something for your sweet cravings as well.

9.      Eat air-popped popcorn for extra fiber and add some dark chocolate, which has antioxidants and satisfies your craving for something sweet. Choose dark chocolate that is 60 to 70% cacao and eat only one or two squares. A large cereal bowl of popcorn is a serving size.

10. Choose fresh sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes or dried cranberries to have with your lunch and dinner instead of corn chips or fattening side dishes.

Give eating healthy a chance and you’ll find that you’re not only satisfied, but you’ll feel better, lose weight, and be able to eat more!

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