Eating healthy can be easy and simple to implement. Once you start making choices that are healthy and incorporate the habit into your life, it becomes second nature and you won’t have to think about it much again. Make sure you always have healthy food choices available and the rest is a piece of cake.
When thinking about a meal or a snack, it needs to incorporate a proper balance between a protein, carbohydrate and fat.
Have you determined for yourself your daily caloric consumption needs? I know that for myself if I’m trying to lose wight, I cannot consume more than 1200 calories per day. On the other hand, if I’m trying to maintain my current weight, I’m allow to consumer 1500 calories per day.
Once you find out how many calories you should be eating, you then need to space them over 5-6 small daily meals/snacks through the day. The meals and or snacks should compliment each other with the proper balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein. I will give you an example of these choices to make during the day.
I should quickly mention something about portion sizes. Do you know what a serving of protein looks like? No, it’s not the 16 ounce Prime Rib at your local steak house. A portion of protein is 3 ounces, the size of a woman’s palm.
VISUAL EXAMPLES OF DIFFERENT FOOD PORTIONS:
* 1 medium fruit — tight fist or tennis ball
* 1/2 cup of pasta, rice, fruit, veggie, or cooked cereal — tight fist or cupcake size
* 1 cup of salad — the amount you can hold in two hands cupped together.
* 1 medium baked potato — computer mouse
* 1 cup of cold cereal — large handful or tight fist
* 3 ounces of poultry, meat or fish — palm of a woman’s hand or deck of cards
* 1 ounce of cheese — top half of your thumb or 4 dice
* 1 ounce of poultry, fish, chicken or meat — 1 egg
* 1 tsp — the tip of a medium-framed woman’s thumb. Also, 3 tsp is equal to 1 tbsp.
It is important to start the day with a good breakfast. A good breakfast is needed to maintain level blood sugars throughout the morning. Try to keep breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same calorie count and then add two to three snacks between meals to make up the 5-6 recommended meals.
Choose an item from each of the food groups for a healthy balanced breakfast.
Protein: 1 cup nonfat milk, 1 hard boiled egg, 1 oz of low fat cheese, 1 cup low fat yogurt
Carbohydrate: granola bar, 1 slice of whole grain toast, bagel or muffin, 1/2 cup of whole grain cereal or oatmeal.
Fruit: 1/2 banana, small apple, orange, grapefruit, 3/4 cup of raspberries, strawberries, blueberries
LUNCH AND DINNER:
Preparing lunch and dinner is very simple. Pick a lean protein, add some vegetables and top it off with some fruit for dessert.
Choose an item from each of the food groups for a healthy balanced lunch or dinner.
Protein: Turkey, lean beef, pork, chicken, fish, beans, etc.
Vegetable: Spinach, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and salad greens, etc. For a serving size, fill about 1/2 of your plate with vegetables, 1/4 of your plate with protein and the other quarter with healthy carbohydrates.
Carbohydrate: 1 slice of whole grain bread, brown rice, corn, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, etc.
Dessert: 1/2 cup of strawberries or raspberries with a dollop of nonfat whipped topping, pear, apple, 1/2 banana.
Snacks between meals are what make or break the weight loss. You need to maintain your metabolism in between meals so that you continue to burn calories throughout the day. For your snack, consume between 100 to 125 calories.
Choose an item from each of the food groups for a healthy balanced snack.
Protein: 1 oz. low sodium, low fat luncheon meat, low fat string cheese, hard boiled egg, small yogurt cup, 1/4 cup of low fat cottage cheese.
Carbohydrate: 1/2 banana, apple, grapes, plum, baby carrots, 1 slice of whole grain bread, etc.
Healthy fats: 2 tbsp of peanut butter, handful of almonds, walnuts cashews or mixed nuts, 1 slice of avocado.
This doesn’t have to hard. These are just guidelines for healthy foods. Don’t make this boring by eating the same thing every day. There are so many more foods then what I listed here but be creative. Try a new fruit and vegetable every week. Remember, this is easy!
Marilou Lissandrello is fervent about cooking healthy recipes in order to maintain her and her husbands recent weight loss and to live a improved way of life together. Her very sensible guide on how to cook healthy recipes for dinner is available free from her blog, Eat Right Tonight.