With so many diets out there; it’s easy to get caught up. Diets are a temporary solution to a lifelong problem of poor eating habits. Diets can help clients temporarily lose weight, but you can’t be on a diet your entire life. It’s more beneficial long term to make better choices and adopt a healthy lifestyle. When you are aware of the options out there, it is easy to make the right decisions!
Keep in mind; Eating is a way for our bodies to get vitamins and minerals, along with macronutients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to fuel our body.
There are many ways to make better choices concerning eating habits.
It’s pretty clear that staying away from the obvious disaster foods is a good idea.
- Always choose baked, broiled, or grilled over fried.
- Get the sauce or dressing on the side
- Skip dessert or have fruit*
*(I’m not going to say you can never have dessert; watch the portion size; save it for a special occasion, or add a few extra minutes onto your run in the morning :-P)
Watch your portion size!
- Most meals from restaurants are 2-3 servings
- A serving of meat is 3-4oz (a deck of cards)
- 1 slice of bread is an entire serving
- A serving of pasta is only 1/2 cup cooked
Use the Glycemic Index
The glycemic index can be confusing, so forget the numbers…just remember which foods are good choices, and which ones aren’t the best.
Foods that are low on the glycemic index are broken down slowly and release glucose at a steady rate into our blood stream, keeping us “full” longer. Foods that are high on the glycemic index tend to spike blood sugar by releasing a large amount of glucose into our bloodstream at once. These foods can also leave us feeling hungry after eating.
Low Glyecmic Index Options (Good choices)
- Stone ground whole wheat bread
- Sweet potato or Yam
- Beans and Lentils (Black, kidney, chickpea, lima beans)
- Nuts (Walnuts, Peanuts, Almonds)
- Seeds (pumpkin, sun flower, flax, poppy, sesame)
- Most Fruits (because even though they are high in sugar, fructose must be processed through the liver)
High Glycemic Index (spikes blood sugar, leaves you hungry, not the best choice)
- White Bread
- White Rice
- Rice Cakes
- Cornflakes, Cheerios
- Pineapple, Watermelon
Most people don’t consider all of the calories they get from beverages!
Coca Cola – 12oz: 143 calories
Orange Juice – 10oz: 137 calories
Sweetened Iced Tea – 12oz 107 calories
When choosing a beverage… try water, sparking water, or unsweetened tea with a lemon or lime wedge.
*(If you must have soda, try diet or zero calorie brands… but please don’t drink it every day!!!)
And Drink LOTS OF WATER! Minimum of 8 glasses a day please!
-Lets not forget about alcohol …
White Wine – 5oz: 121 calories
Red Wine – 5oz: 127 calories
Avg Beer – 120z 155 calories
Tequila shot(avg) – 1.5oz 95 calories
Vodka Shot(avg) – 1.5oz 95 calories
Cranberry juice – 8oz 137 calories
Tonic water – 8oz 83 calories
Beers and Wines are high in calories. Hard liquor paired with a mixer (juice or tonic) is even worse!! Try to limit your alcohol consumption. When you must have a drink; pair your favorite liquor with soda water and a lime wedge.
(Avoid hangovers and lower caloric intake by drinking less (duh), and having a glass of water between each alcoholic beverage)
A lot of people might tell you to “prep your meals” AKA make 3 lbs of chicken, quinoa, and asparagus on Sunday night, then pack exact portions in separate tupperware containers for the remainder of the week.
Not only does eating old re-heated chicken for lunch everyday sound super unappetizing; but you are depriving your body of so many nutrients. By eating a variety of protein, vegetables, and fruits, we ingest a plethera of vitamins and minerals. Even if you take the most amazing multivitamin on the market, getting nutrients from your diet is always the best choice!
I’m sure most of this is not new or a surprise, but its amazing how many people make the wrong choices and take drastic measures to get back on track. By adopting a healthier lifestyle, one small decision at a time, you can improve your eating habits drastically and still enjoy the foods you love. You do not have to be on a strict diet to lose weight or be healthy. Make the right choices when eating. Watch your portion size, avoid unnecessary calories in desserts or sugary drinks, limit alcohol consumption, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and don’t ever starve yourself!!
Amelia Sofis, M.S., ATC/L, CSCS, PES