Taste Buds vs. Cartilage; YOU decide who wins
For at least four days, fill out at food journal
The weight loss payoff: The simple act of writing down what you eat promotes weight loss because you become aware of all the foods and beverages you consume in a day. It may help you realize what excess calories you can easily eliminate or pinpoint one or more specific food issues to improve.
What to look for in your food journal:
- Are my meals balanced? Nutritious, balanced meals means that at each meal you're getting at least three food groups such as starch: (bread, pasta, rice, cereal), protein (meat, fish, turkey, tofu, beans and, at breakfast, yogurt or milk), a fruit or vegetable and a little fat. If not, your meals may not satisfy your body’s needs.
- How much time lapses between my meals? If it's more than four hours, you're most likely letting yourself get too hungry, which may lead to overeating at later meals.
- When is my danger zone? What time of day do you crave salty or sweet snacks. If it's late afternoon when you grab sweets, have healthier snacks available. If you become hungry before bedtime or late at night, you might not be eating enough during the day.
- How many "extras" am I eating? Anything that falls outside the five food groups: grains, protein, fruits, vegetables and dairy is extra. Extras include soda, cookies, candy, chips, ice cream sugary coffee drinks.
Online food journals make tracking calories and exercise accessible from any computer or phone. Free online journals available to you can be found at:
Grocery shopping to stock up on healthy foods
Before you head out to the grocery store take the time to make a list, it will save you time, money and make things a little less complicated. Keep in mind what you will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner each week. If you know you are in for busy week list some healthy fast alternatives like rotisserie chicken and low sodium vegetable soup or healthy choice frozen entrees paired with ready to eat produce.
Knowing what to shop for in each isle ensures that you will leave with a cart full of healthy products.
Fresh produce is a great choice, but it can spoil fast. Buy what you know you will eat for the next few days and stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables, they’ll last longer.
Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables
- Canned – check for low sodium versions
- Watch out for frozen vegetables in high fat cheese or butter saucers
Cereals, Grains, rice and pastas:
Opt for whole grains with fiber. Buying whole grain or whole wheat products have healthful benefits.
- Whole wheat pasta
- Whole grain or whole wheat bread or pita
- Whole grain English muffin
- Whole wheat tortilla
- Brown rice, long grain or wild rice
- High fiber cereal (more than 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving)
It has been clinically proven that people who consume 3 servings of low fat dairy per day along with a reduced calorie diet loose more weight than dieters who do not get 3 servings of calcium. Dairy can play a role in our bodies’ fat burning system. It also aid with satiety and makes a great snack
- fat free or 1% milk
- plain or light fruit flavored yogurt
- 2% milk fat, reduced fat or fat free cheese
- Low-fat (1%) cottage cheese
- Fat free or light sour cream
- Part skim mozzarella cheese
- Part skim ricotta cheese
- Neufchatel or light cream cheese
- Low fat or reduced fat half n half
Meat, fish and poultry and beans:
Choose lean versions of meat. Eat more chicken, fish and turkey
- Low fat cold cuts, fat free lunchmeats
- Low fat or turkey hot dogs
- Bean burgers or veggie burgers
- 97% lean ground beef
- Pork tenderloin trimmed of external fat
- Lean smoked ham
- lean ground turkey
- Canadian bacon or turkey bacon
- Turkey sausages
- Chicken or turkey without skin
- Fish, shrimp, shellfish (un-breaded, frozen or canned in water)
- Tuna canned in water
- Egg whites or egg substitute
- Kidney Beans
- Black Beans
- Hummus Spread
Fats, oils and salad dressings:
Fats should be consumed in very small amounts. You can spare many fat grams by making these healthful choices:
- Light spread margarines, diet margarine, whipped butter or spray butter
- Almond or Peanut Butter
- Light or fat free mayonnaise and miracle whip
- Reduced calorie of fat free salad dressings
- Non stick cooking spray for stir frying or sautéing
- Use applesauce as a substitution for oil in baking
- Use plain low fat yogurt as a substitute for mayonnaise
Snacks and sweets:
When fruits and vegetables won’t cure cravings for snacks and sweets try these low fat snack options: **Be sure to stick to the servings size!!!
- fat free pudding snacks
- Baked chips
- skim milk with chocolate syrup
- Mini rice cakes
- sorbet or sherbet
- Soy crisps
- fat free frozen yogurt
- Wasa crackers
- fat free fudge pops
- Pita chips
- vanilla wafers 94%
- fat free microwave popcorn
- graham crackers
Most Americans consume a large portion of calories from beverages. Our bodies do not receive the satiety cue from liquid calories as they would from food calories. It is easy to consume over 500 calories in a Biggie sized drink (more calories than one meal) because our bodies do not sense satiety from liquid calories. Wouldn’t you rather eat your calories than drink them? Choose from the following beverages:
- Sugar Free flavored water: Propel, Fruit20, carbonated water
- Crystal Light Diet Soda
- Light fruit juices or 100% fruit juice
- Skim or low fat milk 1% milk
Breakfast: Breaking the fast
Breakfast is important for refuelling your body after a night’s sleep. Since the eight or more hour time span between dinner and breakfast is the longest span between any of three meals of the day by morning, the body is essentially in a fasting mode (meaning a lower metabolic rate). The first meal of the day literally breaks the fast and wakes up your metabolism.
If you skip breakfast, blood sugar levels drop, fatigue, poor concentration, irritability and lethargy results.
More reasons to eat breakfast?
- Research has proven that people who eat breakfast weigh less than people who skip breakfast
- High fiber breakfast cereals are essential to digestive health. Fiber also helps with satiety to keep you feeling full longer
- Most breakfast cereals contain essential nutrients like iron, b vitamins and folic acid.
A balanced breakfast should consist of at least 3 food groups
Sample breakfast options: ½ cup of oatmeal or 1 cup of high fiber cereal 1 glass of skim milk 8 oz. of skim milk 1 orange ½ cup of blueberries 1 whole wheat English muffin 1 slice of reduced fat cheese 1 egg or egg substitute
*If you are a habitual breakfast skipper you may find you’re not hungry in the mornings. Eat breakfast anyway; it can take up to 2 to 3 weeks to condition your appetite. Soon you will find you have more energy and are less likely to overeat during the day.
Plan to eat a well-balanced lunch about 4-5 hours after breakfast. A healthy lunch should include 3 food groups: protein, carbohydrate and vegetables. The plate method is a great way to plan meals and cut calories without having to weigh, measure, count or use special diet foods.
The Plate Method:
Make half of your plate vegetables: increasing vegetables intake adds fiber, vitamins and minerals you might have been missing in your diet. Vegetables also help to fill you up without filing you out because they are so low in calories and full of fiber.
Examples: Side salad and broccoli, Green beans and cauliflower, Medium sized spinach salad, carrots and zucchini, cabbage and asparagus
*Some vegetables are high in starch/carbohydrate like corn, peas, potatoes, yams and winter squash. These vegetables belong in the Bread and Starch section.
Make a quarter of your plate protein: focus on lean meats such as chicken, fish, turkey, seafood, lean ground beef.
Make a quarter of your plate carbohydrates: Brown rice, pasta, whole grain bread or rolls, tortillas, cereal, crackers, potatoes, yams, peas, corn.
Fruit and Dairy:
Fruit and/or dairy should accompany your plate at each meal. Fruits make great desserts. Diary can be incorporated as a side dish, part of your meal or a beverage.
**If you do not have fruit or dairy at each meal be sure to have them as snacks in between meals. Fruits, Vegetable and dairy make the best snacks.
For more information on the plate method visit: www.choosemyplate.gov