By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD Date: 1/13/11
Welcome to 2011, the healthiest year of your life! As we enter into a new year, you may be considering new strategies and efforts that can help you achieve an active and healthy lifestyle. This may be out of concern for you weight, and, if so, you are not alone. The International Food Information Council Foundation’s2010 Food & Health Survey found that 70 percent of Americans are concerned about their weight status and even more (77 percent) are trying to lose or maintain their weight.
Nurturing your health means finding time throughout the week to develop healthful habits all year round. Specific to weight loss and weight management, many factors play a role in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Eating too much and not exercising enough are largely at play when it comes to weight gain. Find time to fit exercise in. Whether it is in three ten minute segments throughout the day or a 30 minute walk in the morning, resolve to make exercise a key part of your weekly routine.
When it comes to your diet, the good news is that there are certain foods and beverages that can help us better manage our weight. This year, resolve to include more healthful foods into your diet. Foods for “happy scales” include those that are nutrient-rich and contain fewer calories. Some important tips to remember include the following:
• Make Half Your Grains Whole. Try looking for fiber-rich, whole-grain products like certain ready-to-eat cereals, bread, flour, pasta, brown rice, barley, bulgur and oats. Read the Nutrition Facts panel on the package to determine that your choices are indeed high fiber; three grams of fiber per serving is a good start.
• Vary Your Veggies. Fresh, frozen or canned veggies can add color and fiber to any dish. Plan meals around a vegetable dish like a soup, stir-fry or veggie kabobs.
• Focus on Fruit. Dried, frozen and canned fruits all count toward your daily fruit intake. When choosing canned fruit, go for water or 100 percent juice-packed rather than syrup-packed cans and plastic containers. Vary your choices and eat a rainbow of colors to ensure that you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need.
• Go Lean With Protein. Buy 90 percent lean beef, skinless chicken and low-fat lunchmeat. Fish, beans and soy are also good low-fat protein sources.
• Fit In Dairy. Serve low-fat or skim milk as a drink at meals. Make a sweet or savory yogurt dip for fruits and veggies. Choose a low-fat cheese stick for a healthful snack.
To help with weight management throughout the year, the International Food Information Council Foundation has developed several new resources including a video, “Foods for Health: Managing Your Weight,” produced in partnership with registered dietitian David Grotto, author of “101 Optimal Life Foods.” In addition to the video, a new referenced brochure, “Finding Balance: Understanding How Calories Work,” provides key insights on how calories, energy balance, physical activity, and portion size can all impact our weight. We hope you find these resources useful as you travel down your path toward better health.
For more tips and strategies, including how to pick a weight loss program that works, please visit the International Food Information Council Foundation Weight Management Hot Topics page.
What does 2011 symbolize to you? What tips do you have for others who are trying to improve their health this year?