Soup to Nuts… and Dessert Too: Tips for a Common Sense Diet

You can probably name several of the latest trends in dieting and may even have tried one or two of them. Most of these diets are of the “Just Say No” variety, promising that you’ll lose weight if you just say no to all carbs, all sugars, or all fats. While these fad diets may be effective in the short term with noticeable weight loss, they are not the best solution for long term weight maintenance and achieving a healthy body.

Sacrificing a whole arena of food like that can also lead you to feeling deprived and to eventually saying “yes” when you’re supposed to be saying “no.” And that’s a perfect set up for frustration and a nasty case of guilt.

Say Yes
A healthy, successful diet is an eating plan that lets you say “yes” and that you can live with for your lifetime. It has no severe restrictions and doesn’t leave you hungry or feeling guilty. It’s a common sense diet that recommends a wide variety of foods while encouraging smaller portions.

You can achieve and maintain a healthy weight by eating balanced, nutritious meals and snacks. And yes, dessert too.

Here are some tips to keep you healthy, happy and guilt-free:

You Need Protein
Protein is necessary for good muscle function. Protein also takes longer to digest and keeps you feeling full longer which helps to control your appetite and overall calorie consumption which is a perfect combination for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. Good sources for protein are those that are also low in fat and calories such as poultry, eggs, fish, low-fat dairy products, soybeans, various legumes and leaner cuts of meat. Remember that if you are extremely active physically you’ll need more protein than the average person.

There Really Are Good Fats
Even when you’re trying to lose weight, good fats can be beneficial. They are important for healthy function of your joints and organs, hormone production and immune system. Good fats are found in fatty fish like salmon, in nuts, flax seed and flax oil, avocados and olive oil. Even with good fats, you’ll want to keep your daily intake at 30 % or less of your total calories.

Carbs Are Not the Enemy
Carbohydrates are good for you. It’s generally the added refined sugar that’s the problem. The best carbohydrates to consume are the whole grains which are nutritious foods that will satisfy your hunger. Whole grains contain fiber and essential nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin E, iron and magnesium. Look for whole grain breads, breakfast cereals and pastas that are high in fiber and low in sugar. Also try substituting whole grain flour instead of white flour in some of your favorite recipes or try cooking up a pot of brown rice in place of white rice. For variety try a new whole grain that can make a delicious main course or exciting new side dish such as quinoa, amaranth, millet and bulgur.

Find the Fiber
Fruits and vegetables can provide the roughage and nutrition your body needs to keep your digestive system on track. Because of their bulk and fiber, fruits, veggies and salads also help to reduce your appetite with a minimum of calories. You’ll feel full for longer on fewer calories. In fact, start your lunch or dinner with a broth based vegetable soup or a large salad. Use low or fat-free dressing. Both of these lower calorie foods will help to curb your appetite.

You can also find a lot of fiber in whole grains and a variety of beans. Try and eat a little fiber at every meal to help curb your appetite and keep you on a healthy meal plan throughout the day. The American Heart Association suggests eating 25–30 grams of dietary fiber per day. If you eat a little fiber at every meal, and in the snacks in between, reaching this goal should be easier than you think. If fiber is new to your diet, be sure to increase your intake gradually to give your body time to adjust and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Add More Color
In addition to being an excellent source of fiber, fruits and vegetables are also low in calories, rich in vitamins and minerals, and contain a multitude of antioxidants – all of which help to improve your overall health and wellness. Different fruits and vegetables contain different antioxidants which contribute to the pigments of these fruits and vegetables. To ensure you’re getting the maximum benefit, try and eat a variety of a fruits and vegetables daily from all the colors of the rainbow.

Look At Your Plate
Most of us can look at our dinner plate and admit that we could reduce our regular portions. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends that you decrease the amount on your plate gradually to avoid hunger pangs. They also suggest that protein only make up 1/3 of the serving while mostly vegetables and some whole grains make up the balance.

And Oh Yes, Dessert!
Foods high in sugar and low in nutrients tend to increase our sugar cravings and are a sure fire way to gain weight. Sweets should be eaten in moderation.

A bowl of your favorite berries topped with yogurt, a slice of sweet, juicy watermelon or a ripe peach can be satisfying and refreshing alternatives. However, when nothing else will do, indulge in a piece of your favorite cake or a small dish of ice cream. No guilt, no sense of deprivation, just a little satisfaction.

Your common sense diet will make achieving your healthy weight a piece of cake!

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in this article or blog are strictly those of the author. The contents of this article or blog and any reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service whether by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply its endorsement or recommendation by ISI Brands and ISI Brands assumes no legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product, service or process disclosed or referenced herein. All information is provided on an as-is basis and is provide for information purposes only. Always consult your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program.