As a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast, clients often ask me about my nutrition; what type of foods I eat, how much I eat, et cetera. They are looking up to me for guidance, so I try my best to lead by example. While I am not a nutritionist, I can share some of my favorite, and simple strategies to eliminate nonessential calories from my diet to help maintain a steady weight year round.
1. Use smaller sized dish ware.
Research shows changing to smaller plates can help facilitate weight loss efforts. Larger plates can make a serving of food appear smaller, and smaller plates can lead us to misjudge that very same quantity of food as being significantly larger. (Read more about The Big Plate Mistake). Not only could large dinnerware cause you to serve and eat more; it can do so without you noticing and trick you into believing you have eaten less.
2. Plan and pack healthy snacks for yourself.
Having healthy snacks accessible will eliminate senseless eating and/or avoid temptation of grabbing an unhealthy snack when your starving. I love to nibble on nuts and raisins, hummus and veggies, or whole grain crackers and cheese. I make it a priority to cut up veggies early in the week so I can grab and go. And a variety of nuts are always stocked in my pantry.
3. Limit portion sizes of snacks.
Nuts are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats, but they’re also packed with calories. I always have a small rubbermaid container of nuts in my bag to nosh on. I know it’s a little over a serving and will make a conscience effort to eat the nuts conservatively so they last for two+ days. It would be too easy to overeat the nuts if I had the entire bag in front of me (and I am guilty of that!).
4. Plan ahead
If you know you’re going out for lunch or dinner, make your other daytime meals smaller and healthier to make up for the extra calories you’ll consume at the restaurant.
5. Read food labels.
I read every nutrition label of every packaged food that I purchase. Yep. Every. Single. Package. I won’t bring anything into my house for regular consumption that has trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, ingredients I don’t recognize, or is a high fat food. (Unless of course its someone’s birthday or special occasion, Sweet Mandy B’s is our favorite treat.)
6. Know serving sizes and what they look like.
Reading a nutrition label will also tell you how MUCH food your eating. Does the package contain one, two or three servings? Be an educated consumer; know how much you are eating, and learn what a serving size looks like.
7. Limit alcohol intake.
Drinking a glass of wine (or two) will quickly add extra calories to your day. Beers and mixed drinks can pack even more calories. Before kids, I could easily pass on an offer for a drink, now a days, not so much. I will enjoy 3-4 oz of wine in the evening from a smaller wine glass and limit myself to one glass.
8. Avoid eating directly out of the food container.
We’ve all been there, dipping your hand into the giant bag of chips over and over again. You have no idea how much food you’re actually consuming when you do this. Pour your cereal, chips, crackers, nuts, pretzels, candy – whatever it is you’re eating – into a bowl or container so you can SEE how much food you’re about to eat. After you serve yourself, wrap up the package and put it away! You’ll savor each bite knowing there is one last piece in your bowl.
9. Ask yourself, is it really worth it?
Temptations are always around. Ask yourself, is it really worth it to eat this _______ (donut, cupcake, cookie, bag of chips, et cetera.). Do I have the time to expend (exercise) those extra calories later that I am about to eat now?
10. Refrain from eating from your child’s plate.
If you have a child, it’s very easy to nibble off of their plate, or finish their last bite so it’s not going to waste. Let it go in the waste basket, not on your waist line. Those few nibbles can add up to a few hundred calories by the end of the day. Multiply 100 calories by seven days and that adds up to 700 calories a week, or 2800 calories a month!
What’s your nutrition action plan? Share with us one of your favorite strategies to eat healthy and, or avoid excessive calorie consumption.