- Stay lean. Choose lean cuts of meat and poultry like chicken breast (without skin), pork tenderloin or sirloin steak to shave off calories and saturated fat. Or for other sources of lean protein try eggs, beans, nuts or soy products.
- Make fruits and veggies the star. Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients. Try to get rid of the notion of meat always being center stage and fruits and veggies playing supporting characters. Reverse that ratio or even go vegetarian once or twice a week.
- Swap in healthy whole grains. Choose a side of brown rice instead of white or buy a package of whole wheat bread or pasta the next time you're at the grocery store. If you want to try something new, experiment with whole grains like quinoa, barley or faro.
- Love your heart. Substitute heart healthy unsaturated fats for unhealthy saturated fats. Instead of cooking with butter or coconut oil, reach for olive or canola oil.
- Cut the (full fat) cheese. When consuming dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurt, stick with reduced fat or fat free instead of full fat products. If you love cheese and want to splurge on a full fat variety, just limit the amount- you only need a small amount to add great flavor to a dish.
- Put the salt shaker back in the cupboard. Control the amount of salt you consume especially if you're older than 50, African American or have chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes. You may not realize that many canned and packaged goods are high in sodium such as soups, vegetables, tomato sauce and beans. Read the labels and consider buying low sodium products- that way you can control the amount of salt you put in your food.
- Don't be so sweet. Reduce your consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, energy drinks, sports drinks and fruit drinks. Try to replace at least one of these beverages a day with a glass of water.
- Eat more seafood. It's good for your brain and heart and it's easy to cook. The USDA recommends two servings of seafood a week.
- Drink responsibly. Drink alcohol in moderation- that means up to one drink per day for women and two for men.
- Know your cooking methods. Choose cooking methods such as grilling, roasting and poaching that add a lot of flavor without using too much oil. Avoid cooking methods that use a lot of oil like frying.
- Spice it up! Use dried spices and fresh herbs liberally to add lots of flavor without adding calories.
- Eat often. Eat small frequent meals throughout the day (and this includes breakfast!) rather than eating one big meal at night. This will keep your insulin levels steady, your metabolism revved up and reduce cravings which lead to unhealthy snacking.
- Portion control. Be mindful of the amount of food you're eating and stop when you're not hungry anymore. When you're eating dinner, serve yourself in the kitchen rather than bringing the food to the dinner table. That way you're more likely to just eat what's on your plate and not go back for seconds or thirds.
- Eat in moderation. This is probably one of my most important tips because I love food and believe that eating is one of life's greatest pleasures. If you're craving something, treat yourself every now and then. This will lead to less binge eating. Just try to get back on track the next day and work out a little longer at the gym.
- Menu planning. One of the best ways to maintain a healthy eating pattern is to plan your meals for the week. Take a couple of hours to plan all of your meals for the week and make one big grocery list. If you go grocery shopping with a list, you'll get all of your shopping done in one day and you'll buy less snacks at the store. This will end up saving you lots of time and money and it will reduce last-minute runs to the fast-food restaurant.
- Cook at home. Not only is cooking fun, it brings people together and you have control over your ingredients. Restaurant food and frozen dinners are packed with hidden calories, fat, and sodium. When you cook at home, you know what you're putting in your food and you'll feel like a rockstar when your family and friends devour your culinary creations.
Healthy Eating Tips: