Eating dessert every day can be good for you, as long as you don’t overdo it. Make a spoonful of ice cream the jewel and a bowl of fruit the crown. Cut down on the chips by pairing each bite with lots of chunky, filling fresh salsa, suggests Jeff Novick, director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Florida. Balance a little cheese with a lot of fruit or salad.
At the same time, wearing clothes you can actually move in (read: not stilettos and a tiny pencil skirt) to work might help keep you active during the day instead of parked at your desk. A study by the American Council on Exercise found that people took an average of eight percent more steps on days that they wore jeans instead of conventional business clothes. You officially have a health excuse to ask for casual Friday every day.
Cereal: This was an interesting one. Finding healthy cereal is a constant battle in my household — I like Special K; my boyfriend prefers the sugary kids stuff. I started scanning. The app couldn’t find Special K, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Reese’s Puffs. Aren’t those classics? It finally found Froot Loops and suggested some other fruity, circular puff-type alternatives.
I’m a pretty health-conscious person who buys a mixture of produce and meats, supplemented by packaged items (FoodSwitch only includes information for packaged items). To test the app, I went to Mariano’s, narrowed my standard grocery list to 10 items and tried to find healthier alternatives. All 10 items had a few things in common — they were popular brands with a reputation for being not so healthy.
This may at first seem counter-intuitive, but don't skip meals. When you skip a meal, you're likely to eat more later because of how hungry you become. Instead, make sure you eat at least three meals a day, and try not to go more than five hours between meals. Some people have more luck eating smaller meals throughout the day, but you have to be careful with this trick. It's not an excuse to eat a full meal five times instead of three times a day. Instead, you eat very small portions of healthful foods every few hours to keep yourself from getting hungry and grabbing a bad-for-you snack.
“If I had to pick one food for weight loss, I would choose oatmeal. It’s a whole grain, high-fiber carbohydrate that sticks to your ribs, so it keeps you full and satisfied. Eating it also leads to a slow rise in blood sugar, which has been shown to keep insulin levels from spiking, leading to less fat storage. The key with oatmeal is how to make it so it’s not a calorie bomb. I recommend making it with nonfat milk in place of water, stirring in chopped raw nuts or natural nut butter, and topping with fresh or frozen fruits. If you need some added sweetness, a drizzle of maple syrup should do it. — Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, culinary-nutrition consultant and founder of Nutritioulicious
Eating right and watching your weight are key to a healthy future. What's missing? Exercise, of course. A regular routine, if right for you, will help you burn more calories, feel more energized and build lean muscle mass. Check with your physician before beginning and exercise routine. For tips on making exercise part of your life, check out the President's Challenge, an interactive website that helps you get fit no matter your age. www.presidentschallenge.org
There are many factors that contribute to weight loss success. If you don't lose weight right away, it doesn't mean that you have failed or done something wrong. But it might mean that you need to stick to your program longer for weight loss to happen. Evaluate your eating and exercise habits to see if there are adjustments you can make to reach your goal. There may also be medical reasons that you can't lose weight, so talk to your healthcare provider if you've tried to slim down without success. Your doctor may be able to refer you to a registered dietitian for personalized nutrition advice or talk to you about weight loss medications or surgical procedures to help you lose weight.
Realizing that eating unhealthy food is a bad habit, like smoking or biting your nails, will help you break the cycle. Going cold turkey on favorite snack foods isn't possible for everyone, and if you relapse and chow down on some chocolate, the first step is to forgive yourself for the lapse. Identify the times of day or the activities you engage in that tempt you to reach for the junk food. Being aware that it's going to happen will help you stave off the cravings and gives you the chance to substitute in a healthier option. Don't be afraid to let your friends and family know what you're doing so they can support and cheer you on, and so they can help you avoid cravings.
Processed, packaged foods are often loaded with more salt, sugar, and refined carbs than you’d put in the foods you cook for yourself. When you’re looking to drop weight fast, avoid foods that come in packages and stick to whole, unprocessed foods. (Here are the four most harmful ingredients in processed food.) Build your plates with non-starchy veggies, unprocessed whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, and season with spices, not salt.
“There are many foods that aid weight loss, but one that I often recommend to my clients and eat myself is grapefruit. Researchers at Scripps Clinic in San Diego found that when obese people ate half a grapefruit before each meal, they dropped an average of 3.5 pounds over 12 weeks. Apparently, the tangy fruit can lower insulin, a fat-storage hormone, and that can lead to weight loss. Plus, since it’s at least 90% water, it can fill you up so you eat less. However, if you are on certain medications you should not have grapefruit or grapefruit juice, so check the label on all your prescriptions, or ask your pharmacist or doctor. — Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, author of Eat Right When Time is Tight.
Instead of piling everything on one plate, bring food to the table in individual courses. For the first two courses, bring out soup or veggies such as a green salad or the most filling fruits and vegetables. By the time you get to the more calorie-dense foods, like meat and dessert, you’ll be eating less or may already be full. Nothing wrong with leftovers!
Athletes at their prime must consume many more calories than the average person to be at peak performance, but as they age and become less active may find that their old eating habits are hard to break. Former athletes who have gained weight and want to become lean and muscular as they age may turn to weight loss programs for help getting on track.
Eggs are a fantastic source of protein, and if you're worried about cholesterol, nix the yolks. Other great breakfast foods include whole-grain oatmeal, grapefruit, wheat germ, yogurt, bananas, and tea. Coffee is fine, too, as long as you don't load it up with cream and sugar. If you're a bacon and sausage lover, try substituting turkey bacon or turkey sausage.
This is a tricky question. You can eat whatever you want and lose weight as long as you stay in your calorie range. Theoretically, you could eat candy bars all day and lose weight. But you probably wouldn't want to. Why? Because it would be very hard to stay in your calorie range if you don't eat nutritious foods. Healthy foods help you to feel strong, energized and satiated. Empty calorie foods don't provide your body with the nutrients you need to live an active, well life. And when you eat junk food, you're likely to get hungry more often and overeat as a result.
One easy trick if you're a pasta fan is to swap out white pasta for the wonderfully named courgetti (spaghetti made from spiralizing courgette). You’ll hardly notice the difference when you’re eating it, but you’ll be fuller for longer despite consuming fewer calories. When you consume fewer calories, your body can go to your fat reserves for energy, rather than just burning off the food you’ve eaten.