It is common to think that certain foods are what makes much of the United States overweight or obese. It is often said that the reason people gain weight is because there is too much added sugar in the foods they eat, especially in fast food. However no one food group is the reason for weight gain, but a combination of poor lifestyle choices such as eating overall poorly, not exercising or not taking care of your health.
At the start of any new year, many people are making diet changes in order to reach a healthier lifestyle. I would advice not to wait until then, now is a great time to make improvements in your diet. The best way to meet your goals is by making small changes that when added up together, can lead to big results.
6 SMALL DIET CHANGES FOR BIG RESULTS:
1. REPLACE REFINED GRAINS WITH WHOLE GRAINS
This is one of the easiest changes you can make. Simply use whole grain products such as whole-grain pasta, whole wheat bread or oats instead of refined white grains. You will most likely barely notice a difference in taste and be satisfied for a longer time between meals as you will be getting more fiber, protein and vitamins.
2. AVOID HIGH CALORIE BEVERAGES
Drinks such as pop, juice and sports drinks have a lot of calories and little nutrition. Skip these beverages and instead drink water, unsweetened tea, coffee (limit to 1-2 cups/day) and low-fat or skim milk.
3. DRINK LOTS OF WATER
Water keeps you hydrated and helps preventing the mistake of eating because of thirst and not hunger. Did you know that you can feel tired if you are dehydrated? Stay hydrated to keep yourself feeling your best.
4. MEASURE OUT FOOD THAT YOU TEND TO OVEREAT
If your weakness is peanut butter for example, measure out a portion so that you do not overeat. If you love chips and want to have some as a treat, measure out a serving instead of sticking your hand in the bag and eating mindlessly which can cause you to overeat.
5. EAT A NUTRITIOUS BREAKFAST
Start each day with a nutritious breakfast such as Greek yogurt, eggs or oatmeal. This helps to maintain a healthy diet through the day. If you start out with pie for example, you may be more likely to crave more sugar through the day. Also, this guarantees you getting in some protein, fiber and/or whole grains first thing.
6. ADD PRODUCE TO EACH MEAL
Aim to eat produce at almost every meal. Breakfast can be the hardest meal to do this. For fruits, have blueberry oatmeal or whole-grain pancakes with bananas, a parfait with fruit or a smoothie. For vegetables, throw spinach, peppers, mushrooms, etc. in eggs. Fruits and vegetables are generally lower in calories than other foods and therefore, you can eat more of them for a portion. Larger portions and fiber help to fill you up while providing nutrients and not too many calories.