Healthy eating should be a pleasurable experience. Eating right does not have to be boring or leave your taste buds out in the cold. If you feel deprived, you will not enjoy your food, no matter how beneficial it may be to your health. The good news is that even small changes in your meal planning can add up to big calorie savings.
Let’s take a look at what you can do to get all the nutrients you need and shave off unnecessary calories. By cutting back just 500 calories a day from your regular food intake, you can achieve an average weight loss of one pound a week!
And yes, size does matter
When it comes to serving sizes, bigger is not necessarily better. Yes, you have to watch your portion sizes, no matter what kind of food you eat! Studies to the subject have shown time and again that portion sizes have increased substantially both inside and outside the home. “Value sizing” gives you more food for your money. The problem is that too many of us consumers increase in size as well.
To give just a few random examples: According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the average portion sizes of many food items have increased over the last twenty years by
• Hamburgers: 23%
• A dinner plate of Mexican food: 27%
• Soft drinks: 52%
• Snack food (e.g. potato chips, pretzels, crackers): 60%
Portion sizes anyone can understand
Determining portion sizes can be tricky. How big is “medium sized”? Is there a difference between a small piece of bread and a small piece of cheese. How many serving sizes are in a jar, a can, a bag? Do you know how to read Nutrition Facts labels and what they say about serving sizes? To make things a little easier, you can find some good examples about portion sizes anyone can understand on this blog.
Variety, moderation and balance
Plan your meals ahead of time instead of following your impulses in the supermarket aisle. Make a shopping list and lay out your daily or weekly nutritional map. Variety makes meals more interesting and helps to ensure a balanced diet. Keep in mind that the human body needs more than forty different nutrients every day for good health.
There are hardly any “forbidden foods” in the garden of healthy eating, however, consumption in moderation is the real key. Balance is as equally as important. For better information, you can consult with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Guide Pyramid.
It is also important that you familiarize yourself with a few basic scientific facts about food related issues such as calories, fats (there are different kinds), cholesterol, etc.
Compare and save
Even people who recognize the need to make better lifestyle choices for themselves can find it difficult to stick to their good intentions. For instance, it can be hard to maintain a healthy diet or fitness regimen when you travel or have your routine interrupted for any reason. Finding nutritious food that can be quickly prepared may not always be easy. After a long work day, it can be too much effort to prepare a meal from scratch.
Meal comparisons offer realistic and easy to follow alternatives to the most common meal choices. You don’t have to deny yourself the pleasures you get from your favorite dishes or search for special resources to adopt better eating habits right now. In most cases, a few small adjustments can make all the difference. You will be surprised how quickly the savings in unnecessary and unwanted calories and fat add up.