Here are some tips for healthy eating at home, work, and elsewhere to help you get started. Try some of these ideas.
Start your day off right!
- Eat breakfast!
- Drink 100% fruit juice (canned, from a carton, or freshly squeezed) with breakfast, or take a can to drink at work.
- Spruce up your breakfast—a banana or handful of berries will liven up your cereal, yogurt, waffles, or pancakes.
- Take a piece of fruit to munch on during your commute.
Wouldn’t it be easier to eat something if it was right in front of you? An easy way to make fruits and vegetables more accessible to you is to make sure you buy them. Make sense, right? So when you go grocery shopping, hit the produce section first. Then keep bowls of fruit on the kitchen table and counter. Now that you’ve bought them, eat them.
Baked potatoes, corn on the cob, bread. What do these items often have in common? We cover them with butter, right? And if we’re not careful—and we aren’t all the time—we don’t realize how much we actually use. If you must use butter and margarine, use them sparingly. Even better, switch to reduced-fat margarine or try jelly on your bread, bagels, and other baked goods.
Use “lite” or low-fat dairy products (e.g., milk, cheese, yogurt, or sour cream). Use in recipes and/or drink 1% or skim milk. You’ll still get the nutrients and taste but not the fat.
When you make or buy a salad, a little bit of salad dressing goes a long way. Measure 1 tablespoon of dressing and toss well with your salad. The dressing coats the salad instead of drenching it. For even more flavor, sprinkle the salad with lemon pepper before adding dressing. Even better, use light or fat-free salad dressing. The same principle applies when using condiments, a little mayonnaise is all you need. Or use the light or fat-free kind.
If you like to eat meat, there’s no reason you have to give it up. But you can help reduce fat by choosing the leanest cuts such as beef round, loin, sirloin, pork loin chops, turkey, chicken, and roasts. All cuts with the name “loin” or “round” are lean. And if you cook it yourself, trim all visible fat and drain the grease.
What can we say about fried foods? They taste great, but are not great for you. They’re high in fat. We’ve come up with a few suggestions that will save your arteries. Use oils sparingly (try olive and canola oils). Bake chicken without the skin. Substitute a potato for french fries.
Why do we eat snacks? They taste great, they’re easy, and they satisfy our sweet and salt cravings. And, let’s face it, crunchy food is fun. So why not make your own snacks by packing healthy, quick, and easy-to-grab foods such as little bags or containers of ready-to-eat vegetables (e.g., celery sticks, cucumber wedges, and cherry tomatoes). Or make healthier choices on snacks that are store bought, like pretzels. Keep them with you in your briefcase, office, car and home.
If you’re like most people, no matter how much you’ve eaten at dinner, there’s always room for desserts and sweets. “I’m stuffed. Couldn’t eat another bite. What’s that? You’ve got ice cream? Well, okay.” You can still say “okay,” just
- Cut down on the portion size and how often you eat these items.
- Substitute low-fat or fat-free baked goods, cookies, and ice cream. They still taste great.
- Choose fruit. It tastes great, is filling, and provides energy.
One word of caution: just because something is fat free or low fat doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want. Many low-fat or nonfat foods are also high in calories. Eat everything in moderation.
You’re in a restaurant or ordering in. When the food arrives, it’s piled so high you think there’s no way you can finish it. Sometimes it tastes so good you can’t stop. But then you’re too full. Typical restaurant servings are often twice the size of a single serving. Try this: When dining out or ordering in, ask for half of a serving or a “doggy bag.” That way you won’t be as full, and you can have some tomorrow.
Fast food combines two of our favorite desires: things in a hurry and food. Unfortunately, it also tends to combine a lot of fat and calories. But it doesn’t have to if we’re careful. You can still get food in a hurry, but try these suggestions.
- Order a lean roast beef sandwich.
- Order grilled chicken sandwiches and do the fixings “your way.”
- Keep the portions to regular and small. No “double” anything or “going large.”
- Order items without the cheese.