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Ideas for a Healthy Beginning

By Melissa Haug

Take time to evaluate your current habits and strive to make one improvement at a time. Here are some ideas that can get you back on track with a lower fat diet.

Set realistic goals. If you're looking to lose weight, select a weight that you know you can achieve. By starting small and reaching your goal you make weight loss a positive and encouraging experience.

Clear out your fridge and pantry. Those leftover holiday cakes, pies, cookies and fudges should now be tossed. If it's seasonal candy it needs to go as well. If it's out of house it's out of hand.

Restock your fridge and pantry with healthy, nutrient-dense food items and ingredients. Purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables. Substitute low fat or fat-free products for their full fat counterparts. Buy whole grain or whole wheat breads and pastas.

Work to monitor portion and serving sizes. Portion size is something that is easy to forget, especially in social atmospheres. Examine food labels and nutrition facts to determine food serving sizes. More often than not, it's less than you realize. Most packages contain more than one serving.

Drink plenty of water. Water is essential for digestion and aids in making you feel fuller longer. It's easy to confuse hunger with thirst, so drink it frequently.

Always eat breakfast. A hearty breakfast, consisting of whole grain cereals with fat-free or low fat milk, fruit and yogurt helps maintain blood-sugar levels until your next feeding.

Eat healthy snacks. An occasional cookie or square or two of chocolate is not completely off limits, but they're best if made special treats. Instead, reach for fruit, low fat yogurt, whole grain crackers, raw veggies, or air-popped popcorn.

Eat fish at least once or twice a week. Fish is naturally low in fat, and fish that have higher levels such as salmon and tuna, contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

If weight loss is your goal, keep in mind that healthy eating will not get the job done all by its lonesome. Weight is lost when more energy or calories are lost through physical activity than are consumed in food.

Put a little extra spin on things and get moving. Find a friend and schedule fitness into your daily life.

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Ideas for a Healthy Beginning (pdf)