It is important to eat healthy when eating out, but it is even more essential to a healthy lifestyle to eat nutritiously at home. If you are like most women, you are frequently looking for ways to stay in shape, lose weight or improve your health. Diet is key in achieving these aims and since many of your meals are eaten at home, there is no better place to start than in your own kitchen. Here are seven diet tips to help you eat healthier at home.
Healthy eating doesn’t mean dieting – Diets don’t work!
Though research shows there is no one ideal diet and that fad-dieting doesn’t work, it is hard not to be lured in by the many miracle claims of most quick-fix diet plans (don’t miss Expert tips to avoid fad diets).
However, Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, lead nutritionist at Novo Nordisk Presents: Divabetic – Makeover Your Diabetes and author of Eat Out, Eat Right, says “People need to stop thinking of healthy eating as going on a prescribed diet. We need to think more about making slow and steady behavior changes to choose and eat healthier foods. Diets don’t work. Behavior changes do.”
Taking small steps at home is more likely to lead to long-term changes. Warshaw offers the following tips to get you started.
7 tips to eat healthier at home
1. Eat more fruit
Warshaw recommends shooting for two cups of fruit per day. She says, “Take a couple pieces of fruit from home to work. Fit one in at breakfast. Drink 100 percent fruit juice – especially juice fortified with calcium and vitamin D.” (Try these spa-inspired recipes from Canyon Ranch to boost your citrus intake.)
2. Eat more vegetables
Vegetables and fruit are equally important for their high nutrient levels. Aim for two and a half cups per day.
“Take advantage of all the ready-to-eat veggies in markets, such as carrots, celery, tomatoes, lettuces and other leafy greens, and salad and vegetable mixtures,” suggests Warshaw. Vegetables are easy to microwave or stir-fry and deliciously mix with lean proteins and whole grains for satisfying, lower-calorie meals.
3. Choose more whole grains foods
There is a delectable array of whole grains to add to your diet (and to replace the white, processed grains and grain products). Whole grain goods like brown or wild rice, quinoa (try these kid-friendly quinoa recipes), buckwheat and whole grain cereals, pasta, and breads are much more flavorful and nutritious than white rice, white flour or other processed grain foods.
4. Eat breakfast
According to Warshaw, breakfast is the meal skipped most often and, yet, research on successful weight loss shows eating breakfast is a key to successful weight control. Instead of skipping your morning meal, try these quick tips for a healthy breakfast.
5. Limit saturated fat
Instead of foods loaded with saturated and trans fats, like cheese and red meats, opt for healthier fats like monounsaturated (think olive oil) and polyunsaturated (opt for fatty fish and nuts for heart-healthy omega-3s). Warshaw recommends eating no more than three ounces cooked meats two times per day (no more than six total ounces daily).
6. Limit total fat
Cutting down or eliminating saturated and trans fats is important, but be sure to not go overboard on the healthy fats. The healthiest way to reduce fat in your diet is to limit your intake of oils, butter, margarine, sour cream, cheeses and salad dressings.
7. Use fat-free dairy foods
Another helpful way to limit your fat intake is to choose fat-free dairy products, like cheese, milk, yogurt and even ice cream (in moderation, of course). Warshaw recommends getting two to three servings per day. She stresses, “Women are generally deficient in dairy foods, which means their intake of calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients is lacking.” Just don’t equate “fat-free” with “calorie-free” and overindulge. And if you find fat-free products unpalatable, at least opt for low-fat dairy foods.For recipes tailored to your target calorie intake, number of people in your household and any dietary restrictions, visit Novo Nordisk’s ChangingDiabetes-us.com. And when you do decide to dine out, try these diet-conscious strategies when choosing from the menu.