Enjoy the power of produce
When you pile your plate with fiber-packed—and filling—fruits and vegetables, you leave less space for other foods that have more fat and calories. In fact, adding more produce to your meals and snacks is one key way to control your weight over the long term, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. And not only will goods grown in the garden help you lose weight, they’re also chock-full of nutrients that can bolster your overall health. Make the most of produce by following these tips:
Check the label. Look for the U.S. Fancy or U.S. No. 1 on labels or stickers of product, or on display. Produce with these U.S. Department of Agriculture shields are the freshest and best quality.
Leave the skin on. Some fruits and vegetables have an abundance of vitamins and minerals in their peels.
Steam instead. Boiling veggies can leach out their nutrients, so you might be pouring vitamins down the drain with the cooking water.
A recent study found that women who scan food labels are about 8 pounds lighter than those who don't. Examining nutrition information closely helps you eat healthier by making sure your perception jibes with reality. For example, that granola might look like a healthful option, but if you don't read its label you won't see that there are a whopping 560 calories in 1 cup.
Pick whole grains
The fiber and protein in whole grains can keep you feeling satisfied much longer than processed alternatives can. At least half the grains you eat should be whole. Since the recommended game intake for women in six servings per day, that means at least three of those should be whole grain.
Nuts keep blood sugar stable, meaning your hunger is less likely to return quickly. They also contain good fats and lots of protein, both of which keep your appetite in check. To head off hunger pains, experts suggest, munch on 1 ounce of nuts daily. Pick nuts that not only stop your hunger but also improve your health
Choose lean protein
Because protein breaks down during digestion more slowly than other nutrients, having some with every meal can help you feel satisfied longer. Aim to fill one fourth of your plate with protein at each meal, and include protein in every snack (try low-fat dairy or a spoonful of nut butter). Limit red meat to no more than three times per week. Instead opt for beans, poultry and fish. To select the best protein, follow these helpful hints:
Get the best beef. When shopping for red meat, look for leaner cuts, labeled round or loin. And be sure to watch your portion size—keep it to 3 ounces.
Be picky with poultry. When buying ground turkey, stick with 93 percent lean varieties. Anything less might include skin as an additional source of fat.
Buy more beans. Beans have a lot of protein but little fat. Mix in a can with ground beef when making tacos, meat loaf or burgers. You'll end up eating less meat and less fat.
Next: Dining and Post-Meal Tricks
Visualize each bit
When experts at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh asked people to envision eating 30 pieces of candy, participants ate fewer sweets afterward. It appears the brain doesn't distinguish between imaginary and actual bites, so you can want less by just imagining yourself eating more. Have a craving? Start by sating it with a mental splurge.
Supersize your utensils and shrink your plate
You might think using a bigger fork causes you to eat more, but researchers at the University of Utah found the opposite to be true. As part of a study, they set tables with oversize forks (ones that held 20 percent less than the norm). Diners eating with the bigger forks left more food on their plate at the end of the meal. Experts say the calorie-cutting success in the larger-fork group might be in the bite sized delivery. If you use a larger fork, you're likely to take bigger bites, so you think your making more of a dent in your portion. As a result, you might not take as many bites before you consider yourself full. Meanwhile, when it comes to your plate, smaller is better; serving your food on smaller plates means it takes less food to make your plate look full. The end result? You'll serve yourself less and eat less, too!
Light it right
Overly bright or dim lighting is dangerous when it comes to healthy eating. The brain-stimulating effects you receive from high-watt bulbs can cause you to eat more and faster, experts say. Dining in dark settings (for example, candlelit) lowers your inhibitions, prompting you to linger longer at the table, so you wind up consuming more. Try to enjoy your meals in even, comfortable lighting.
Keep evidence around
If you decide to go for seconds, it's helpful to have a reminder of how much you already have eaten. In a study, people consuming Buffalo wings ate 28 percent less if the bones from the past portions remained on the table. If your food doesn't leave behind a similar trail, such as a wrapper, skin or shells, serve your extra helping on a second plate and leave your first plate on the table.
Sleep yourself slim
Getting a good night's rest can help you tighten up around your waistline. Recent studies have found that women who sleep five or few hours each night are about 32 percent more likely to experience major weight gain and 15 percent more likely to become obese than women who sleep an average of seven hours. Researchers say that is due, in part, to hormonal changes that happen during sleep. To avoid tossing and turning and packing on pounds, try to get to bed at the same time—within an hour—every night and wake around the same time every day.