How to Eat Right in 2015
SHIFT YOUR FOCUS
“Weight is always on people’s minds,” says Einstein registered dietitian Jacki Dwyer, RD, MS, CDE. “I suggest that instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t have, focus on what you should eat more of.”
Dwyer’s advice includes the following:
- Increase fruits and vegetables to at least eight servings a day (one serving = half a cup).
- Add lean protein such as chicken, turkey and fish.
- Eat more 100 percent whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and long-cooking oatmeal (not instant).
BEWARE OF SOFAS!
While this phrase can certainly apply to a sedentary lifestyle, Dwyer’s intended meaning is what the acronym represents — SOlid Fats, Added Sugars.
“These two things have the greatest impact on the huge incidence of obesity in the U.S.,” she says. “I’m not saying you can’t eat these foods at all. But if they are prominent in your life, you need to make better choices.”
SOFAS include the following:
- Cakes, cookies, pastries and donuts (contain solid fat and added sugar)
- Sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks and fruit drinks (contain added sugar)
- Full-fat cheese (contains solid fat)
- Pizza (contains solid fat)
- Ice cream (contains solid fat and added sugar)
- Sausage, hot dogs, bacon and ribs (contain solid fat)
- Practice Portion Control
Dwyer reminds us to read food labels carefully and pay attention to the serving size listed. We tend to eat larger portions than our body needs. Research shows the value of using smaller bowls and plates, and slimmer drinking glasses.
“Nine-inch plates are ideal,” says Dwyer, “and you can get them at the dollar store. Fill half of your plate with vegetables, one quarter with lean protein, and the other quarter with a grain or carbohydrate like a sweet potato or small baked potato. Add a glass of milk and some fruit for dessert, and you have a well-balanced meal.”
Pre-packaged servings like 100-calorie snack packs also help with portion control. Nuts are a great option.
“If ice cream is your favorite,” says Dwyer, “get the single serving ice cream instead of the half gallon that you empty out into your bowl.”
GET WHAT YOU NEED
“Don’t skip meals,” warns Dwyer. “Spread out your food intake over the day to ensure that you’re getting the energy you need. You should not go more than four or five hours without eating. Be sure to get lean protein with every meal – it makes you feel more full and alert. And the fiber intake from fruits and vegetables keeps you regular. Bring carrot sticks or celery to work to snack on.” Dwyer also encourages eating more “superfoods” – those known to help reduce the risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and other diseases, and also improve mood. Superfoods include beans, tomatoes, blueberries, black and green tea, turkey, salmon, leafy greens such as kale and spinach, and more.
Be aware of what you’re eating! Eat at the table on a plate, not in front of the television. And set up your environment properly to be successful. Put highcalorie, high-fat foods out of sight and out of reach (take that candy dish off your desk)! Choose fruits and veggies instead.
“The key to weight loss is reducing your calorie intake,” says Dwyer. “And success comes from the sum of easier things. Small, successful changes in behavior, like using a smaller plate, lead to a better chance of losing the weight and keeping it off.” If you plan to join an organized program for weight loss, Dwyer suggests choosing one with a strong maintenance component. “There is no quick fix,” she says. “Sometimes losing the weight is the easy part and keeping it off is the hard part. Anyone can follow a diet. You need to change your behavior for the long term.”