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
|12 oz fruit punch drink
|1 bottle (9.5 oz) blended ice coffee drink
|Big café mocha or grande latte
|12 oz light beer
|12 oz beer
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 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.