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5 Ways to improve your diet

Sarah Kelsey is a lifestyle writer, editor and spokesperson based in Toronto. She was the editor of AOL/The Huffington Post Canada’s StyleList, Style and Living sites. Today, she's a freelancer writing for some of North America’s top pub...

Quick-fixes for your diet

Improving your diet isn't always easy. Temptation is everywhere - at parties, on the way home, and even at the office - and it can deter the best of diet intentions. However, instead of giving in to every temptation you face, try our top five healthy diet strategies.

Food Diary

1. Keep a food diary

Studies show that keeping a food diary is the single best way to successfully lose weight. Scientists from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research followed more than 2,000 dieters who were encouraged to record meals and snacks, they found that the single best predictor of weight loss was whether the person kept a food diary. Analyzing what you eat is essential if you want to improve your diet – and you can start right now. Even if it's just for a week, record everything you put into your mouth (from your coffee and tea in the morning to your nightly snack of popcorn). You'll probably be surprised how it changes your diet!

Why it works: When you analyze what you eat, when you eat and how you feel before and after a meal, you'll get a better understanding of your food weaknesses (like that daily craving for sugar at 3PM or junk food before bed) and you'll be more mindful of the items you put into your mouth (which means you're less likely to simply eat whatever food is available).



2. Shop the perimeter of your supermarket

The next time you venture into the grocery store, take a good look around. What do you see? If your local store is like most of the chains across the country, you'll notice the freshest foods, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat line the perimeter of the store and surround the aisles of processed, packaged foods, like cereals, junk food and desserts. Though studies show shoppers are more likely to shop the inner aisles, your best bet for improving your diet is to stick to the perimeter. (More shopping tips for heart healthy foods)

Why it works: By shopping the outer-walls of a store, you'll reach for leaner, healthier foods and reduce your consumption of processed foods that are often high in sodium, calories, dyes, additives and preservatives. Chances are you'll also save money, too!



3. Spring clean your cupboards

Healthy eating starts in the home. So doing a purge to get rid of junk foods clogging your cupboards is step number one. The second step? Getting rid of oversized utensils and plates. They may look chic, but because they're bigger, you'll inevitably add more to your plate and eat more than you should.

Why it works: By ridding your home of items that could contribute to unhealthy eating, you're more likely to feel in control of your diet and eating patterns as well as put the kibosh on unhealthy food temptations. (Expert tips to break unhealthy eating habits)



4. Eat breakfast

This is definitely not a new tip, but you'd be surprised by the number of people who skip the morning meal. Do your best to sit down to a healthy breakfast every day. And if you must eat on the go, pack a healthy snack to eat along the way.

Why it works: By eating breakfast, you'll boost your metabolism and burn more calories throughout the day as well as feel more sated and less likely to succumb to cravings. (More benefits of breakfast)



5. Stock your desk

Did you know that 45 percent of women who start an office job gain up to 15 pounds in the first three months? It's hard to control your eating habits when well-meaning coworkers stock the office kitchen with home-baked or store-bought treats like cookies or cake. And it's easy to just eat whatever food is put in front of you, especially when it's convenient. So go to work prepared. Keep your desk stocked with healthy foods that will send your afternoon munchies packing. Include tins of tuna or salmon, crackers, nuts, whole grain pita and, if you have an office fridge, protein-packed foods like cheese or meat slices.

Why it works: Keeping your desk stocked with tasty food will give you the option of snacking on something healthy when everyone else is digging into cake or other goodies. You'll also be much more satisfied and be less inclined to binge after work. (More diet strategies to help you eat better at work)



More ways to improve your diet

Top 30 diet tips
15 Ways to curb your cravings
10 Alternatives to snacking

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