Hello, February! Just a month ago we watched as the ball dropped and made our New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. Most of us put the goal on the back-burner by mid-January (demanding job, stress — the list goes on), but a new month is a good reminder to get re-focused. It doesn’t have to be that hard, a few moderate changes to your diet can make eating healthier and losing weight an achievable goal.
As you wake up and start your day, you might think eating a hardy breakfast is the best way to go. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day — it should be the biggest meal you eat, right? Unfortunately, no.
A new German study showed that having a substantial breakfast will not reduce the amount of food consumed the rest of the day. Eating a larger breakfast only increased the daily amount of calories consumed.
Throughout the day, breakfast, lunch or dinner, no meal is complete without adding just a little salt. The seventh edition of the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, recommends that Americans limit their daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (about a teaspoon) a day for most people. If you’re over 50, are African American, or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, you’ll need to limit your sodium to less than 1,500 milligrams.
”The focus is still on salt,” said Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern at Dallas and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. “We know that most Americans are eating two times or more of what’s recommended… We still need to reduce our daily intake.”
So many of the foods we love have massive amounts of salt, sugar and fat — but even with temptation lurking around every corner, moderation and informed eating can help you reach your goals.
Healthfinder.gov recommends all of us get in the habit of reading nutrition labels:
- Look at the serving size and the number of servings per package.
- Check out the percent Daily Value (%DV) column.
- Try to keep saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium at 5% or less.
- Look for foods that have 20% or more of fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamin D.
In addition, the site has a few recommendations for when you’re eating away from home. Remember it’s important to make smart food choices wherever you are – at work, in your favorite restaurant, or running errands. Try these tips:
- At lunch, have a sandwich on whole-grain bread.
- Choose fat-free or low-fat milk, water, or diet drinks.
- In a restaurant, choose steamed, broiled, or grilled dishes instead of fried foods.
- On a long drive or shopping trip, pack some fresh fruit, unsalted nuts, or fat–free or low-fat string cheese sticks to snack on.
These small changes to your diet will put you a step closer to healthy eating, weight loss and a healthier life style.