Put Yourself in Diet Rehab
Sally Kuzemchak, RD
Job: Dietitian in Columbus, Ohio, and creator of the blog realmomnutrition.com
Personal food philosophy: A food realist. Her goal is a balanced diet full of whole, unprocessed foods, but she knows that's not always possible. "Life happens, but then try to get back to healthier patterns."
Choose the right pasta. Aim for a 1 cup cooked serving of whole-grain varieties: You'll naturally eat less of it because it's so filling, and it's got more vitamins, protein, and fiber than the regular kind.
Try skinnier fast food. Panera Bread is my go-to lunch spot when I'm traveling. I get the Fuji apple chicken salad, which has nuts, fruit, and a little soft cheese, and my kids eat sandwiches and squeezable yogurt. Both meals are much more nutritious options than what you'd find at a typical burger joint.
Sweeten the deal. I eat something sweet every day, but I limit myself to 50 to 100 calories. I'll have a cup of Jell-O, which is only 50 calories, or one mini candy bar. After I eat the miniature chocolate bar, I'll snack on an apple. If apple is the last taste I have in my mouth, I won't go back for more chocolate.
Check off success. Set a reachable goal and put it on paper. I give my clients worksheets with boxes to check each time they follow a new healthy habit. For example, if your goal is to eat more fruit, start eating one piece a day. Next, add a second piece of fruit three or four days a week. Marking that box each time keeps you motivated.
Measure it out. It's tough to eyeball cereal portions, so I keep a measuring cup in my box of Post Shredded Wheat Wheat'N Bran (it's loaded with fiber). Not all cereal serving sizes are the same, so check the label.
Sally's Go-To Foods
I switched from fat-free to one-percent. There's a debate in the nutrition community about whether saturated fat is truly the evil we thought. I'm okay with a little fat in my milk.
Sharp cheddar cheese
Pair it with Triscuits or Wasa crackers for a high-calcium, high-protein, high-fiber snack that fills you up. Just limit yourself to about one ounce of cheese.
A tasty variety can motivate you to eat more greens, but skip fat-free versions. A source of fat helps your body absorb the vitamins from veggies.
Morningstar Farms chik patties
They're made of soy but they look and taste just like chicken. I cut them up and put them on salads to add some low-fat protein.