If you want to build good eating habits, take a hard look at the contents of your cupboards, fridge and freezer, and make a few simple changes.
Take a pass on unnecessary sodium, sugar and fat in favor of more nutritious options.
TOSS breads, rolls, tortillas and pasta made with white flour.
STOCK carbohydrates made from whole grains. They'll keep you satisfied longer so you'll end up eating less.
Eat good grains: Make sure the word "whole" precedes grains in the ingredient list, and avoid products that contain enriched flour (this means they're not whole grain). Steer clear of bread products that list high-fructose corn syrup as one of the first three to five ingredients; it adds unnecessary calories.
TOSS some white flour.
STOCK whole-wheat flour. Wheat has 15 grams of fiber per cup, while white has only 3 grams and contains fewer vitamins and minerals.
Mix your flours: Because the high fiber content of whole-wheat flour can result in less tender baked goods, use half whole-wheat, half white flour to create a similar textures.
TOSS canned vegetables and soups loaded with salt, and canned fruit full of sugar.
STOCK canned veggies with no salt added or reduced salt, soups with less than 480 milligrams of sodium per serving and fruit packed in its own juice or light syrup.
Sneak in veggies: Add low-sodium canned peas or corn to pasta salads.
TOSS cream-based pasta sauces.
STOCK tomato-based sauces, which are lower in fat.
Boost nutrition: Add an extra serving of vegetables by using chopped carrots, peppers, onions, mushrooms or zucchini in marinara sauce.
TOSS tuna fish packed in oil.
STOCK tuna packed in water―it's lower in fat and calories. Beans, water-packed salmon or chicken, and vegetarian refried beans are also smart protein sources.
Lighten lunch: For a low-cal, low-fat tuna salad, use a dressing of half Dijon mustard, half low-fat mayonnaise.
TOSS cereals high in sugar and low in fiber.
STOCK oatmeal and high-fiber cereals. One cup of oatmeal provides 4 grams of fiber, which lowers your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Or opt for a cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving, less than 150 calories per cup and no more than 10 grams of sugar per serving.
Measure meals: Keep a measuring cup in your cereal box. It's an easy way to stick to a one-cup serving size.
TOSS shortening and lard.
STOCK any oil that is liquid at room temperature. Sesame, sunflower, canola, peanut and olive oil are all heart-healthy choices. Oils that are solid at room temperature are generally high in artery-clogging saturated fat.
Use oils wisely: Keep oil in a mister to limit the amount you cook with.
TOSS full-fat chips and crackers.
STOCK whole-grain crackers or baked chips. The full-fat versions have little or no nutritional value and contain more calories.
Snack smart: Get your salt fix by nibbling on protein-rich nuts such as almonds or peanuts. Watch your portions―nuts pack in the calories.