Seven Simple Steps to Weight Control
Are you guilty of any of these seven bad eating habits:
- Skipping meals, especially breakfast?
- Grazing or munching all day long?
- Drinking soda or juice with your meals?
- Eating at buffets?
- Eating portions larger than the Food Pyramid recommends?
- Continuing to eat, even when full?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you have some habits that need to be changed in order to eat healtheir and live healthier. Here are Seven Healthy Habits to work on:
- Chart your meals. Take out a piece of paper and draw a grid. Make sure you allow for 7 days and either 3-6 meals depending on your mealtime preferences. Or better yet, you can download a meal planner from our website. Read this advice on meal planning before you fill our your grid.
- In the chart, write down what you will eat for breakfast. It is always a good idea to include fruit, whole grains with at least two grams of fiber per serving, and protein. High fiber, whole-grain cereal, milk, and a banana is a good example. Another good example is oatmeal topped with dried cranberries and chopped nuts. You can use the same meal for multiple days on your meal plan. You can also be flexible on certain days, the weekends for example. Sometimes the first meal on the weekend may turn into brunch. If this is anticipated, plan for it by writing in brunch type items.
- Next plan your lunches. These will depend on where you will be for lunch. Will you be at work, out of the office, or at home? Keep things simple by using the previous night's leftovers, or have sandwich fixings on hand in the fridge to save time as you prepare your lunch the night before or in the morning. Make homemade soups and freeze in proper portions for a quick fix. Always try to have a piece of fruit and two or three servings of veggies at lunchtime.
- What's for dinner? Find a favorite recipe book, magazine, or create a list of classic dinner favorites your family enjoys. For each day of the week, select a meal for dinner. Bookmark your recipe books with your favorites so it will be easy to find them again for future week's meal plans. Add one new recipe each week to keep things fresh. Pre-chop commonly used items like carrots, celery, onions and peppers to save prep time. Cook an entire bag of rice or beans at once and freeze the lefovers in smaller portions for future meals. Create your own "Frozen Dinners" that can be thawed quickly in the microwave or tossed into a crockpot before you leave for the office in the morning.
- Plan to snack. Many of us snack during the day, and that is OK. If you monitor your portions and plan some of these ideas for snacks you can't go wrong! Pack fruits or vegetables, string cheese, non-fat yogurt, high-fiber breakfast bars, nuts, seeds, trail mix, or low-fat popcorn. Make sure to do a hunger check before you snack. Are you really hungry or is this snack out of habit or a desire for a certain food? Maybe all you really need is a drink of water or a walk around the block.
- Write a grocery list. Now you are at the point where you can go through the meals you entered on your grid and determine what groceries you will need to buy to make these meals this week. For more tips on shopping for good health, visit these links:
- Shop for foods. One of the best ways to avoid the last minute drive thru at the fast food restaurant is to make sure the foods you need for your meal plan are on hand at home. Pick one day of the week to do your grocery shopping, preferably at a time when the stores are not busy and you are not hungry.
With these 7 simple steps, you will find meal planning to be an effective way to improve your nutrition while saving money and time.