- Step 1: Learn portion control Overeating can cause indigestion, fatigue, and, yup, weight gain. Stick a portion-size guide in your wallet and post one on the fridge -- and follow its guidelines. Here’s a hint: an extra-large pizza is too much for one person.
- TIP: Skipping meals altogether can destabilize your blood sugar, which can make you feel jittery, nauseous, or irritable, leading you to overeat.
- Step 2: Eat your veggies Get your vitamin fix from Mother Nature. The USDA recommends at least 2 1/2 cups of veggies a day for adults, and at least 1 1/2 cups of fruit. Their nutrients are beneficial in a way that vitamin pills can't match -- and over the long haul, they'll help stave off high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
- TIP: Most fruits and vegetables of the same color share many of the same nutrients; eat from the full spectrum to maximize their health benefits.
- Step 3: Choose whole grains Make sure that at least half the grains you eat are whole, rather than refined. These contain complex carbohydrates that will keep your energy level consistent, as well as dietary fiber to help keep you consistent.
- Step 4: Cut red meat Man cannot live on chili dogs alone. Both red meat and processed meats are associated with higher cholesterol and blood pressure, so limit your consumption of red meat to just once or twice a week and opt for poultry and fish instead.
- TIP: Buy grass-fed beef. One study found it’s lower in total and saturated fat and has more omega-3 fatty acids than corn-fed beef.
- Step 5: Cut out packaged foods Lurking in many cellophane-wrapped treats are trans fats, sodium, or high-fructose corn syrup. These additives give flavor to packaged foods -- they can also increase your cholesterol, blood pressure, chance of diabetes, and risk of heart disease. All of which, remarkably, tend to make you feel pretty crappy.
- FACT: Studies show an association between an improved mood and omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, tryptophan, folate … and chocolate.
You Will Need
- Portion-size guide
- Vegetables and fruit
- Whole grains
- Healthy drinks
- Grass-fed beef (optional)