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February 26, 2010 / Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN

Managing Your Weight with Smart Food Choices

Having a healthy body weight can help prevent many diseases including heart disease, diabetes and many types of cancer.  The three most effective ways to reach a healthy weight are:

1.  making wise food choices

2.  watching portions sizes

3.  exercising at least four hours per week

When you plan your meals and snacks try to emphasize colorful plant foods.  These plant foods include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts.  In addition to containing a vast amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, these nourishing foods contain fiber which will fill you up faster and keep you full longer.

And don’t forget to keep an eye on portions.  Just because a food is healthy doesn’t mean you can have unlimited quantities.   Use measuring cups and spoons and a food scale at home until you feel comfortable with knowing how to eyeball the appropriate portion sizes.

A healthy meal plan should include the following:

1.  A healthy breakfast which may include a cup of whole grain cereal, fresh fruit, a small handful of nuts  (approx. 10) and organic skim milk or soy milk.

2.  A healthy plant-based lunch Try a bowl of minestrone soup and salad with a whole grain roll or an almond butter and natural jam sandwich with a fresh fruit.

3.  Healthy low calorie snacks can include a Kashi granola bar and a fresh fruit or a small handful of nuts (limit 10 to 20 nuts) and a fresh fruit.

4.  A healthy dinner that is high in volume but low in calories may include a cup of whole wheat pasta with roasted vegetables and 1/2 cup white beans or a small serving of grilled fish or chicken.  Always include a salad or an additional vegetable.

5.  A healthy dessert (if you have a sweet tooth)-Mother Nature’s gift: fresh fruit!

And last but not least try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise daily such as walking. Aim for 2 miles per 30 minutes.  Enjoy the benefits of eating healthy as you lose weight.  If you continue to eat like this when you reach your weight goal you should be able to maintain your new and healthier weight.  Bon Appetit!

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