The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at any time, approximately two-thirds of Americans are on a diet to lose weight. Many of these diets do not provide a balanced amount of nutrients, resulting in dieters gaining back lost weight within two years. Being well-informed about healthy eating guidelines can make losing and keeping weight off considerably easier than following the rules of a restrictive diet. Chicago Healers Practitioner Valerie Early, RD provides easy-to-follow tips for maintaining weight goals.
· Pay attention to serving size on nutrition labels—The nutritional information is listed per serving size, which is often smaller than you may think. Be aware of how large one serving is to understand how many calories, etc you are consuming.
· Look up nutrition facts before going out to eat—Restaurant serving sizes are typically much larger than what you need to feel satisfied and can be loaded with unhealthy fats. Research nutritional information online to make an informed decision. Choose an appetizer as a meal, share an entrée with a friend, or bring home half to eat the next day.
· Avoid skipping meals—Consuming an inadequate amount of calories can stress the body and lead to unhealthy eating binges later on. Try eating four or six small meals throughout the day to keep up your metabolism and avoid over-eating.
· Understand general exchange facts in basic food groups:
o ½ cup of pasta, rice, or cereal, one slice of bread, ½ regular bagel, or a ¼ cup quinoa all equal approximately 80 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates.
o ½ cup of fruit, one small piece of fruit, ½ banana or 1 cup of berries all equal approximately 60 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates.
o One ounce lean meat, one whole egg, or two egg whites all equal approximately 35-75 calories and 35-75 calories.
o 1 teaspoon of butter or oil equals approximately 45 calories and 5 grams of fat.