Last week The Secret to a Healthy Body talked about the physical things you should do to have a healthy body. This week, this article discusses the diet tips and more for keeping healthy and trim.
1. Timing. Try to eat every 3-4 hours so that you never get so hungry that you’re tempted to overeat at mealtime. Have breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as a mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and post-dinner snack. Don’t skip breakfast or any meal for that matter. You’ll make yourself too hungry and you’ll overeat at the next meal. If you try to starve yourself you’re body will go into starvation mode where your metabolism will slow down drastically, keeping you from losing weight and actually making you more likely to hold onto calories the next time you do eat.
2. Portions. Use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. An easy guideline for each meal is to have the plate be roughly be 1/4 carbs, 1/4 lean protein, and 1/2 fruits or vegetables at each meal. No second helpings, but if you are really hungry then take more vegetables.
3. Eat slowly. This one is one of the hardest and easiest things to do. It’s hard because the pace of our eating reflects the pace of everything around us, which is fast, fast, fast! So you must make a conscious effort at each meal to do this. Once you do this for a while you will establish a habit and from then on it will be easy. Perhaps before each meal you might want to close your eyes for 15 seconds, take a deep breathe to slow down, and then say to yourself something like “Take it slow. Taste this food. Enjoy it slowly. Release thoughts of work and other worries for now.” Then, when you do eat, take small bites and really taste and enjoy the food. This will give your body time to send your brain the “All Full” signal. If you only do one of these tips, do this one.
4. Snacks. For snacks have fruit, low calorie popcorn, or nuts (1 handful). Prepare these ahead of time so they are easy to grab. Keep junk food out of the house and you’ll be less likely to eat it.
5. Long Life Cocktail. This idea comes from the book “Fat Flush” by Louise Gittleman, a well respected dietitian. The recipe is 7 ounces water, 1 ounce pure cranberry juice, and 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seed. Have this once or twice a day for increasing your fiber, digestive regularity, and all the benefits which come from flax seeds. Those benefits are: lower cholesterol, antioxidant power, fiber, inhibiting the onset of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer, healing of inflamed intestines from Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. The pure cranberry juice will help to cleanse your liver and kidneys.
6. Dairy and Wheat products. If you find that these foods make you bloated, you might want to cut back on them. How to tell? Cut them from your diet for a week and see if you notice a difference. Just as good substitute: sprouted grain breads such as “Alvarado Street” or “Ezekial 4:9″. And there are many non-dairy substitutes such as rice milk which taste much better than you might imagine.
7. Sugar. For the most part, refined sugar is not good for you. Try to cut back or eliminate altogether. Blackstrap molasses or honey are better choices. Stevia root is a natural calorie free sweetener you might want to try. You can find it in healthstores. A good one is “Stevia Plus.” When having a sugar craving, have fruit instead.
8. Fiber. Try to get 25-30 grams of fiber per day. Fiber fills you up. It blocks the absorption of sugar and fat helping with weight loss and weight management. Having enough fiber in your diet will keep constipation away and will help lower your chances of cancer, such as colon cancer.
9. “100% Whole Grains.” Look for this exact phrase on cereals, crackers, bread, etc., but also check the nutrition labels. Anything else is not going to have as much fiber. Check the fiber count to be sure. Use whole grain pastas and breads. They will fill you up and they are healthier for you.
10. Vegetables. Learn to love them! Find a great book on how to cook vegetables that taste delicious. (Suggestion: “Vegetable Love” by Barbara Kafka) Have salad often. Be sure to measure out your salad dressing to keep from adding too many calories.
11. Chicken or Vegetable Broth and Soup. Use a cup of soup or broth as a snack. Have a cup before meals to feel full. And you can use broth to sautee vegetables instead of oil.
12. Oil. Only use olive oil or canola oil if you need it for cooking. Better yet, use flax oil on foods sauteed in broth to add flavor and health benefits. Don’t use flax oil for cooking and you must keep it refrigerated. Heat makes flax oil and flax seeds loose their healthful properties.
13. Cheese. Keep this to a minimum in your diet. The harder the cheese the better and keep in mind that a little can go a long way to add some flavor.
14. Hunger. If you are trying to lose weight, it’s ok to feel a little hungry, such as if you stay up late at night. If you’re feeling very hungry have some fruit and/or nuts. Or you could try a Long Life Cocktail or a Green Drink such as Green Vibrance. These drinks will fill you up and take the edge off your hunger so you can either go to sleep or make it until the next meal. The beneficial thing about Green Vibrance is that it contains the same kind of active cultures found in yogurt. These live cultures rid your body of yeast and help foster the healthy bacteria in your intestines for better digestive health.
15. Eliminate Toxins. Stay clear of all forms of tobacco. If you’ve tried to quit before and failed, don’t stop trying. If you keep trying you will eventually succeed! Keep alcohol to a minimum. Wash all fruits and vegetables with soap, water and a sponge. Try to buy organic if you can especially for produce where it really matters:
7. Red Raspberries
8. Imported Grapes
2. Bell Peppers
5. Hot Peppers
16. Chewing Gum. This is a good distraction between meals.
17. Calories. This totally free diet website has everything you need to know about how many calories you should eat, metabolic calculators, diet calculators,weight loss guides and more!
18. Eating Out. Think about what you will have before you go into the restaurant. Ask for extra vegetables instead of fries. Have salad or clear broth soup to fill up. Stay away from bread and butter.
19. Cheats. Allow yourself one cheat meal per week and do so in moderation.
20. Read labels. Stay away from anything with hydrogenated oils (trans fats). Beware that products are allowed to say “0 Trans Fats per serving” if they are below a certain percentage. But if the ingredients say “hydgrogenated” then know that you are getting trans fats. Stay away from too much saturated fats. And look for items that are high in fiber.
21. Green Tea. Scientific studies have shown many benefits from green tea consumption such as lower cancer rates and lowered cholesterol. Some studies show it can help with weight management. It certainly can’t hurt. If caffeine bothers you then try naturally decaffeinated or you can decaffeinate it yourself by brewing the tea bag twice. Drink the second cup and it will have very little caffeine, but most of the taste. A key point: don’t drink with cow’s milk “as proteins called caseins in milk decrease the amount of compounds in tea known as catechins” which aid in protecting against heart disease. Try rice milk instead if you want to add milk.
22. Get Enough Sleep. If you are very tired during the day, your body is going to crave more food to get energy. So, rest up!
What are your best dietary health tips? Please share in the comments.
K. Stone is author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements. A few of her most popular articles are Building a Smarter, Stronger Brain – Part 1, How to Write a Book in 60 Days or Less, Should You Start Your Own Work at Home Business?, and Set Yourself Up for Diet Success.