With spring delivering warmer temperatures across the country, no doubt many of us will be putting away our winter clothes and spending more time outside. The changing seasons provide a great opportunity to lose weight, get fit and stay healthy.

1. Eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods. You need more than 40 different nutrients for good health, and no single food supplies them all. Your daily food selection should include bread and other whole-grain products; fruits; vegetables; dairy products; and meat, poultry, fish and other protein foods.

2. Eat moderate portions. If you keep portion sizes reasonable, it’s easier to eat the foods you want and stay healthy. Did you know the recommended serving of cooked meat is 3 ounces, similar in size to a deck of playing cards? A medium piece of fruit is 1 serving and a cup of pasta equals 2 servings.

3. Start your meals off with vegetables, such as a small side salad or steamed vegetable dish. Don’t use too much salad dressing, sauce or gravy, which can add calories and fat to a healthy, low calorie dish.

4. Choose healthier food options. Reach for leaner meats like skinless chicken, turkey, pork, or fish. These contain less fat and calories than a piece of prime rib, for example.

5. Be sure to get enough calcium, which offers protection against osteoporosis and may also help prevent some types of cancer. Some research shows that calcium can help with weight loss. Good Sources of calcium include low fat dairy products, deep green vegetables, and calcium fortified foods: breads, cereals, and 100% fruit juice.

6. Drink enough water. The average adult loses about 2 ½ quarts (about 10 cups) of water each day. Therefore, drinking approximately 8–12 cups throughout the day is sufficient. Heat, activity and diet (high protein intake, caffeine, and alcohol) increase your need for water. How can you make sure you get enough water? Check your urine – it should be clear and light-colored.

7. Be mindful of your eating and learn to be aware of physical hunger and satiety cues. This will guide your decision to begin eating and to stop eating. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to recognize your belly is full.

8. Calories Count. Eliminate liquid calories by drinking more water,

12 oz regular soda 150kcals
12 oz fruit punch drink 190kcals
1 bottle (9.5 oz) blended ice coffee drink 180kcals
Big café mocha or grande latte 330kcals
12 oz light beer 103kcals
12 oz beer 153kcals

9. Rain or shine? Watch an exercise video, briskly walk around inside the mall, or dance to some music – either on your own or with someone else!

10. Wear a pedometer. This handy tool counts your steps and can motivate you to be active. Aim for at least 10,000 steps daily (start slowly and increase gradually) – this activity level is recommended for good health.

Kelly McBride

Kelly McBride is a Registered Dietitian at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center and the MOVE! Program Coordinator. She is also an adjunct professor Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa. Kelly has a master’s degree in Nutrition Education from Immaculata University.



Share this story

Published on May. 3, 2011

Estimated reading time is 2.5 min.

Views to date: 231


  1. Judith June 2, 2011 at 2:31 am

    You just don’t realize how many calories are in beer and how bad it is for your body when you binge drink on a regular basis.

  2. William E. May 6, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Thanks for the good tips.

  3. Hooter May 5, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    livestrong dot com basic membership is free, “My Plate and My Play D (Diabetes) it works… No gimmicks, its a Joe Friday just the facts..

    VA needs blog articles on the diabetes, this is a major issue for the VA staff dealing with the volume of patients..

  4. Dan May 5, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Your liquid calorie chart makes other choices quite clear. When you don’t drink water, the next best thing is light beer.

  5. gooakville May 4, 2011 at 9:34 am

    It is great to see the simple yet efficient way on how we can dissolve all the calories during the summer season. Here at the Quality Suites, our restaurant is starting a program where we encourage healthy eating to all our patrons. Some provisions include Salad Tuesday, Half off Veggie Thursdays, etc. I also love the idea of eating leaner meats, and will be sure to pass this on. If the need arises I can be reached via email or by CLICKING HERE

  6. Gary May 3, 2011 at 10:05 am

    What’s the differance betweem the Calories & Fat Calories marked on Nutritional Facts labels and which one do I need to be concerned with when watching my calorie intake.

    Thank you ………..

    • Jon May 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm

      Short answer: You need to be concerned with watching all calories, but the calories from fat can be more harmful.
      Long answer: Calories are a measure of energy. You need a certain number of calories inputted to match your daily output of energy. When you input less than you output, you should lose wieght.
      From what I understand (I am not a dietician or anything else that ends in a “-cian”), fat calories can be useful. You need fat to survive and maintain a healthy body. However, you will probably get enough fat from meats and nuts, and some dairy products. If the food you are eating is pre-packaged (candy bars, etc that have nutritional labels) you should look for the least amount of calories from fat. Fat can be used as enegy, but generally after extended periods of exercise.
      When watching your calorie intake, you should be more concerned with calories. When watching your fat intake, you should be more concerned with fat calories.
      Example- Apple- 100 calories 0 calories from fat
      Oreos (2)- 100 calories, but 60 calories from fat
      They both have the same amount of calories, but the calories in the apple will be put to better use in your body.

      If you still don’t understand, you should probably talk to a dietician, or just use your not understanding as an excuse to eat anything you want (that’s what I would do).

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • During Sickle Cell Awareness Month in September, the American Red Cross emphasizes the importance of a diverse blood supply to help meet the needs of those with sickle cell disease – the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S.

  • CaringBridge, a free online tool to communicate health news to family and friends, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

  • Shahpur Pazhman flew Black Hawk missions in 27 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, resupplying and relocating Afghan ground forces and evacuating casualties to safety. Thanks to Bridge My Return, he's back in the air.