Friday, January 27, 2012

Fresh Start Diet

Looking to lose weight this year? It remains one of the most popular resolutions. But research shows the most successful dieters -- those who lose weight and keep it off for the long haul -- practice healthy eating and exercise habits all year long. They don’t have New Year’s diet resolutions because they don’t make big promises that are impossible to keep. For instance, if you’ve ever vowed on January 1st that “I’ll never eat ice cream again!” or “I’ll never order French fries again!” you made one of the biggest New Year’s diet mistakes -- biting off more than you can chew. Instead, set a time limit or portion limit. “I’ll only eat French fries once a month.” Or “I’ll only eat ice cream in a really small bowl.”

Whether it’s the last week of January or first day of June, there’s no time like the present for new beginnings. Here’s a simple guide to help you hit the reset button on food and fitness habits. Follow these FRESH start rules to launch a healthier new you.

Garden Fresh Flavors

F- Freshen up your food life - Think fresh fruit and veggies first. Fill up your plate with produce and go beyond the usual broccoli and green beans. Restaurant chefs are more creative than ever before with vegetable side dishes. A recent lunch at Farmstead restaurant in St. Helena, Calif. was a sensible serving of sole with lots of braised carrots and fennel lightly sauced with lemon and butter. Delicious vegetable sides at Valenza in Brookhaven include braised kale and roasted cauliflower. In veggies and grains, fiber adds good health and helps you feel full longer. So choose whole grain breads, pastas, pizza crusts and go for the brown rice instead of white. Think whole grains! The nutty flavors are palate pleasing in granola bars, cereals and your favorite shape of pasta. Sunbelt Bakery makes the best raisin and date granolas for breakfast!

R- Recognize barriers - Embrace and understand your favorite food splurges. Whether it’s chocolate cake or pasta with cheese sauce, it’s going to be tough to say ‘no’, so accept the power of your splurge foods and resolve to enjoy them in small quantities. Use a small plate to serve yourself. Research shows your mind will think it looks like a lot more food than the same amount on a large plate. Crave the bubbles in soft drinks but want something healthier? Make your own at eateries by asking for club soda mixed with a splash of orange juice or pomegranate juice.

E- Enjoy the taste of eating right – Did you know that steamed shrimp, roast beef, sirloin steak, Canadian bacon, boiled eggs, barbecued chicken and roasted pork loin are all diet-friendly lean protein choices? Feel free to add low-cal flavor with mustards, horseradish, cocktail sauce, hot sauces and salsas. Get excited about the crunch of fresh vegetables in a salad, not the croutons! The green salad served at Bistro Niko in Buckhead features the peppery punch of radishes.

S- Start new habits - Keep a list of what you’re eating and drinking for a few days. Be as specific as possible on types of foods and amounts. Don’t know what a cup of mashed potatoes looks like? Get some measuring cups out and become familiar with portion sizes. This snap shot will help you keep track of over eating and while you’re at it -- write down your physical activity. Or literally take a snap shot of meals and snacks with your phone. Research shows those who are mindful of what they eat are more successful with weight loss goals.

H- Have a plan – Eat breakfast. Schedule time to take a walk or go to that yoga class. If you’re eating out tonight, eat less at lunch and walk more tomorrow. If there’s a road trip on your schedule, pack fresh fruit and a whole grain granola bar such as the ones from Sunbelt Bakery under 150 calories per serving. Curb your hunger so you aren't tempted to stop at a fast food joint. Successful long term weight control is a balancing act.

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