Tips to reform eating habits, lose weight

Loretto Hulse, Herald staff writerJanuary 1, 2014 

Come the new year, many of us swear to reform bad eating habits and lose weight only to backslide weeks later.

If losing weight tops your list of New Year's resolutions, Andrea Giancoli, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, has some tips for success.

First, don't make drastic changes. Choose something doable like taking a walk during a break or adding more fruits and veggies to your daily diet.

Downsize dishes. We tend to fill our plates, then clean them.

Don't eat out of a bag or box. Place one serving in a small bowl, and don't have seconds.

Find a buddy and motivate each other. Enlist family and friends to try new recipes with you or to join you at the gym.

While you're changing your lifestyle, give the rest of the family a healthy boost by mixing vegetables into dishes you already make. Toss some fresh spinach in with your pasta or add diced peppers to tacos.

Lighten up coffee drinks by choosing fat-free milk and sugar-free syrups.

Ditch the chips and scoop up salsa or fat-free ranch dip with veggies instead.

Keep fresh fruit cleaned and chopped vegetables on hand for snacking.

Find more tips at www.eatright.org/healthyweight.

Healthy vegetarians?

Vegetarian eating can be nutritious, but according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, it's not an automatic ticket to weight loss.

To lose weight, you've got to eat fewer calories than you burn. Regular exercise is an important part of burning calories, but also consider whether the foods you eat are too concentrated in calories.

Many of the foods vegetarians eat for protein instead of meat -- such as legumes, nuts, seeds and cheese -- are actually higher in calories than lean meat. These foods are important, but balance them with plenty of low-calorie vegetables.

Look at what you drink too. Soft drinks aren't the only beverages with extra calories. Juices, sweetened milk and sweetened, flavored, alternative milk drinks, like some soymilks, can push calorie totals up.

Also, consider whether you are eating more than needed . Overeating -- even healthy food -- will promote excess weight. Studies suggest that if people consume portions that are 25 percent smaller, they can reduce their calorie consumption without feeling hungry.

Good read

The book: Pok Pok by Andy Ricker.

Cost: $35.

Best for: Ricker spent decades traveling throughout Thailand. Then, in 2005, returned to the U.S. and opened his first Pok Pok restaurant in Portland. He now has six more restaurants and has gathered 70 recipes, popular in Thailand and at his restaurants, in this cookbook.

He's also included tips on where to find Thai ingredients and explains fundamental Thai cooking techniques.

-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513

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