How a TOTAL diet isn’t a diet at all!

This week I am going to discuss how eating a variety of different foods from the food pyramid can work for you.  The American Dietetic Association takes the stance that having a balanced diet is the best kind you can have.   Good habits lead to healthy bodies, so let’s look at ways you can start your total diet now:

1)Pick foods that have value- Discretionary calories, such as the ones that you get from sodas and candy do not give you much value.  The rush you get is short-lived and if they total more than 150 calories a day that is above what your body needs.  By picking foods that have added value such as whole-wheat or 100% fruit, you are telling your body that you are worth it.  It is difficult sometimes to make educated decisions on what to eat when you don’t know what to look for.  A total diet consists of naturally-occurring sugar found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy and only small amounts of added sugar found in cereals, yogurt, cookies, and juices.  If you focus on filling your plate with valuables first (protein, fruits, vegetables, and dairy) then a little something later won’t be the worst thing.  You don’t have to give up the sweets that you love so much, maybe just cut down how much you eat.

2) Portions is the key- In order to lose weight to get healthy, portion size is by far the best way to benefit from your total diet.  You may not know that the portion size for your protein is equal to a deck of cards or that you should only put 1/2 cup pasta on your plate.  By looking at the serving size and servings per container, you may save yourself a lot of calories.  A total diet ponders the question, ” How many servings and calories am I consuming?” at every meal.  Appropriate portions according to the USDA  for a 2,000-calorie diet include:

  • 5 1/2 ounces of lean meat or 1 1/4 cups cooked beans
  • 2 1/2 cups of vegetables
  • 2 cups of fruit
  • 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk or the equivalent dairy products
  • 3+ ounces of whole-grain products

3) Snack- Small snacks in between meals can become your sanctity.  It’s hard to remember what goals you are working for once hunger hits on like a ton of bricks.  Being prepared with small snacks on hand can also save you from over-eating.  A total diet includes eating quality foods regularly.

4) Eat a fruit or vegetable with each meal-  Did you know most of us don’t get the required amount of fruits and vegetables each day (2-4 servings of fruit and 3-5 servings of vegetables)?  If you become consistent with having a piece of fruit with every meal or incorporating raw vegetables as a snack in between meals, you will easily reach your requirements.  A total diet rich in nutrient-filled fruits and vegetables is essential to maintaining a healthy weight and body.

5) No one’s perfect- This is probably the most important tip to remember this week, let me say it again, No one is perfect.  Yes that means if you somehow fall off the wagon, which you will, don’t beat yourself up.  There is always tomorrow to start with a clean slate.  Like learning to ride a bicycle good nutrition is a training process.  Making gradual healthy decisions will give you the longest trail of success.  For instance, tweak the recipes to your favorite foods by using low-fat and low-calorie versions or eat smaller amounts of the fatty foods you enjoy.  A total diet doesn’t have to be about the foods you cannot have, focus on the challenge of making it work for you.

So you see, a total diet isn’t a diet at all.  By making the right choices all the time, the notion of a diet does not even occur.  Mindfulness and quality over quantity can easily change your life if you are willing to let it.

For more tips on eating healthy visit www.eatright.org/nnm.

Stay tuned all month for tips on proper nutrition

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