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Bite-sized news: Food diets of 2012 and Savannah Smiles

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

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Happy woman eating DASH diet meal

The DASH diet dominates 2012's Best Diet list

We're almost a week into 2012. Are you sticking to your healthy eating and weight loss resolutions? Maybe you're still looking for the right plan to follow?

If you're still wondering which diet might be best, look no further and consider the DASH diet. U.S. News recently ranked the DASH diet (formally referred to as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) as the best for healthy eating. This diet was originally created as a way to keep high blood pressure under control, but results showed weight loss as an added bonus.

If you're looking for more tips and tricks to add to your diet arsenal, check out these seven, also compiled by U.S. News. You may never have heard of these ideas before, but hey… they might be worth looking into!

Plan a photo finish - Find a picture of yourself that you either love or hate. Pull it out when temptation strikes to stiffen your resolve.

Wager on weight loss - Placing bets with friends and family is catching on! Studies show people who place incentives on weight loss are more successful.

Stay inside the lines - Reach for your crayons and paper when you feel a cookie craving coming on. Coloring is relaxing and meditative and might help you avoid reaching for the chips, say, after a rough day at work.

Brush your pearly whites - If you have a fresh and clean set of pearly whites, you might be able to avoid snacking. Suggestion: Brush right after eating. When the fresh taste fades, you know you might be ready for (portion-controlled) seconds.

Plan a plate portrait - Research suggests that if you keep a photo journal of all the food you eat, you're more likely to lose weight and stick to your diet. So break out your mobile phone or harness your inner Annie Leibovitz with a great camera. You can always create your own weight loss blog or online photo journal.

Sizzle with spices - Rein in the portions on your plate by seasoning your foods with spices. Spices stimulate your taste buds by making your food more satisfying. This helps to keep you from over indulging.

Act on it - Practice makes perfect, so put yourself in front of a mirror before you head out to a party or dinner with friends. Think about how you will politely and resolutely refuse extras or foods that aren't part of your meal plan by playing out the scenario first. Practice your speech in front of a mirror, on tape or role-play with a supportive friend.

Interested in learning about how the DASH diet really works? Check out the facts, whether you want a bunch of details or just the basics.

Will you dance around the Do-si-dos this year? There's a new Girl Scout cookie in town!

Ding dong! Just when you thought you were tired of holiday goodies and you started to perfect your healthy eating habits, the doorbell rings and you're greeted with girls in green ready to take your order for Girl Scout cookies!

And this year, there's a new Girl Scout cookie on the block. Savannah Smiles are lemony morsels dusted with a coating of powdered sugar and promise to perplex your order-making decisions more than in years past. The new cookie helps mark 100 years of Girl Scouting and its name honors the home of Girl Scout founder, Juliette Gordon Low.

Though Thin Mints are the most popular of the Girl Scout goodies, you never know what the future holds with this year's addition. The Savannah Smiles are lower in fat and calories compared to other Girl Scout cookies, so take stock and enjoy responsibly, of course!

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