Are you ready to turn weight-loss resolutions into results? With more than two-thirds of Americans overweight or obese, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides recommendations for maintaining a healthy weight, reducing risk of disease and promoting health. To give you a jumpstart on your goals, the following tips, based on consumer insights from the Dietary Guidelines Alliance, encourage you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle. Try them out for yourself, your family and share them with those you care about!
- Take charge of your weight. According to the 2011 IFIC Foundation Food & Health Survey, 7 in 10 Americans are worried about their waistlines and trying to lose or maintain their weight. Balancing calories you eat and drink with calories you burn through physical activity puts you in control.
- Calories count. Calories are like a budget – your body requires only so many in a day—more if you’re physically active. Spend sensibly by choosing lower-calorie, nutrient-rich foods most often to help meet your nutritional needs and help manage your weight. Think of fruits and vegetables as being “on sale” and fill up! In fact, make half your plate fruits and vegetables!
- Know your number. Learning how many calories your body needs each day is a critical first step in managing your weight. Only 9 percent of Americans accurately estimate their calorie needs, leaving 91 percent who incorrectly estimate or are not willing to venture a guess. The recently released USDA SuperTracker provides reliable estimates of calorie needs based on height, weight, age and gender. Know your calorie budget and start being a “sensible spender.”
- Enjoy your food, but eat less. This is a key Dietary Guidelines message. The average family spends only 20 minutes at a typical meal. Sit down and take smaller bites. Put your fork down while you chew. Chances are you will eat less and enjoy your food and your family more.
- Small steps = big changes. Serve smaller portions to help curb calories and keep your weight on track. Americans’ portions, plates and glasses have grown over the past couple of decades, and you may be consuming more calories as a result. Select smaller serving dishes and utensils at home. When eating out, split with your dining partner or put half in a doggy bag to savor for later.
- Base your plate on nutrient-rich foods. Choose fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, juice, canned), whole and enriched grains, lean meats, beans and nuts and low-fat and fat-free dairy foods more often. These foods offer beneficial nutrients and fewer calories. Visit kidnetic.com for family-tested recipes to plan plates that pack a nutrient punch with vibrant colors to match.
- Be a role model for your children. Show your family how to savor their favorite higher-calorie choices by enjoying smaller portions together in a healthful diet. You would be surprised how much your habits impact the food choices of those around you—especially your family. “Show and share” how a healthful lifestyle can be fun for everyone!
- Every BODY wins. Time spent being physically active together is time well-spent. Studies show that kids with active parents are more likely to engage in physical activity and maintain a healthy weight. Being active together can help families stay connected and feel better.
- Fun stuff counts. Get active with the family or your friends whether it’s soccer in the backyard, dancing to music or taking a walk around the block. An additional 15 minutes of activity can burn up to 100 calories! “Play” is for everyone! It can be planned or spontaneous. Either way, make play a priority!
- 10. Proceed with a Plan. Start with some simple strategies. Consider creating a meal and/or exercise “rotation.” Prioritizing and planning can also be a “family affair.” Giving kids “ownership” to select among the healthful choices you provide builds their confidence and life-long healthful behaviors.
These are just a few tips to help you meet the Dietary Guidelines and reach your lifestyle goals. Give them a try, make up your own and share them with friends. Our IFIC Foundation Kids & Families site has more tips and tricks to get you going. Remember, lasting success depends on finding an approach that works for you! This is your year to take resolutions to results. We are with you.