By Vanessa Cobarrubia, RD, LD – Dietitian/Nutritionist
Many of us make New Years resolutions focused on weight loss. Billions of dollars are spent annually on diet products and gimmicks. These are impractical, costly, and almost always unsuccessful. I dislike the word “diet” and object to the fact that “diet” is in my job title “Registered Dietitian”. The term “diet” indicates a temporary change in eating habit. Proper weight management is primarily achieved by long term eating habits of healthy food. Meal planning, timing, and food choices are essential to weight management. Below are few simple tips that I hope will help you achieve your goals.
- Meal planning is vital to success. Failure to plan is planned failure. Plan your next meal or two in advance. Prepare your snacks in advance and have a dinner plan before you start your day to avoid impulse choices, which are often of lower nutritional quality. Ideally, try to plan several days menus in advance to allow time for grocery shopping. Take short cuts like purchasing pre-assembled fruit and vegetable trays if this helps you to make the healthy choice.
- Practice better meal timing. We know and understand the advice of “don’t go shopping when you are hungry”. This same rationale applies to every meal. Aim for a meal or snack every 3-4 hours. Under eating can lead to overeating, making poor food choices, and can even slow your metabolism.
- All calories are not equal. 1,000 calories of healthy food DOES NOT EQUAL 1,000 calories of processed food. Processed foods can stimulate hormones that drive your appetite up and can cause inflammation. In choosing your meals consider protein, vegetables, fiber, and fats. Some examples of protein-rich foods include eggs, cottage cheese, tofu, beans, poultry, seafood, or grass fed beef. Fiber rich food helps you stay satisfied longer and aids in digestion. Common examples include fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, winter squash, quinoa, and brown rice. Finally…do not be afraid of fat. Fat does not cause us to be fat. Examples of healthy fats include avocado, nuts, seeds, nut butters, olives, and olive oil. Feel free to add smaller portions of saturated fats such as butter, ghee, bacon, and even whole fat dairy.
Remember to keep it simple. Eat whole foods on a regular basis.