Diet Tip: Think about what you can add to your diet, not what you should take away.
Start by focusing on getting the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
"It sounds like a lot, but it is well worth it, because at the same time you are meeting your fiber goals and feeling more satisfied from the volume of food," says chef Laura Pansiero, RD.
You're also less likely to overeat because fruits and vegetables displace fat in the diet. And that's not to mention the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. More than 200 studies have documented the disease-preventing qualities of phytochemicals found in produce, says Pansiero.
Her suggestion for getting more: Work vegetables into meals instead of just serving them as sides on a plate.
"I love to take seasonal vegetables and make stir-fries, frittatas, risotto, pilafs, soups, or layer on sandwiches," Pansiero says. "It is so easy to buy a variety of vegetables and incorporate them into dishes."
Diet can be such an ugly word. We find ourselves focusing on what we can’t have. It is human nature to want what you can’t have. So, don’t go on a diet. Just alter how and what you eat. Keep your spirit positive and upbeat. If you want chocolate cake, if you simply MUST have chocolate cake, then take 2 bites and stop. Those two bites will satisfy your need, and allow you to focus on keeping the remainder of you day’s meals healthy.
In addition, it is important to realize that diet doesn’t have to mean lack of flavor. There are plenty of options full of flavor, if you just take the time to think about what you are eating. When you consider a salad, think about topping it with salsa or a dash of vinegar, rather than the fatty salad dressings. Have a salad with strawberries or peaches added to it. Perk it up with almonds or feta cheese. A simple salad, when approached with creativity, can suddenly become a feast of flavor.
Top you celery sticks with low-fat cream cheese and raisins. Dip your carrot sticks in a fruity low-fat yogurt. An interesting breakfast idea, high in protein: mix low-fat granola cereal with some cottage cheese. Again, be creative and see the potential in combining all things healthy.
Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live. – Jim Rohn
Black Bean Quesadilla (courtesy of Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking, Miramax Books, 2002.)
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Serves: 2 servings
2 burrito-size flour tortillas
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can refried low-fat black beans
1 cup chunky salsa
1 1/2 cups Mexican-style shredded cheese
1/2 cup prepared guacamole (from the refrigerated section)
2 tablespoons sour cream (low fat)
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lay 1 tortilla on a clean work surface. Spread the beans evenly over the tortilla. Spoon 3/4 cup of salsa over the beans, then sprinkle with the cheese. Top with the second tortilla. Place the quesadilla on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the top is crisp and brown. Meanwhile, swirl the guacamole and sour cream together in a small bowl. Cut the quesadilla into 4 equal portions and transfer to a plate. Serve with the guacamole mixture and remaining 1/4 cup of salsa.
Did you ever stop to taste a carrot? Not just eat it, but taste it? You can't taste the beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie. – Astrid Alauda
Diet Tip: Spice it up.
Add spices or chiles to your food for a flavor boost that can help you feel satisfied.
"Food that is loaded with flavor will stimulate your taste buds and be more satisfying so you won't eat as much," says Perdomo.
When you need something sweet, suck on a red-hot fireball candy for a long-lasting burst of sweetness with just a few calories.
Great recipe idea from Barb Wahr: place spinach leaves in a frying pan, drizzled with just a bit of oil. Cook them just a bit, they will still be crispy. Transfer leaves to a plate and top with bleu cheese, almonds and cranberries.
If hunger is not the problem, then eating is not the solution. – Anon
Diet Tip: Stock your kitchen with healthy convenience foods.
Having ready-to-eat snacks and meals-in-minutes staples on hand sets you up for success. You'll be less likely to hit the drive-through or call in a pizza order if you can make a healthy meal in 5 or 10 minutes.
Sass stocks her kitchen with:
· 94% fat-free microwave popcorn (20-25 calories per cup, and you can make it in two minutes or less)
· Frozen vegetables
· Bags of pre-washed greens
· Canned diced tomatoes
· Canned beans
· Whole-grain wraps or pitas
· Pre-cooked grilled chicken breasts
· A few containers of pre-cooked brown rice
Within minutes, she can toss together a healthy medley.