Put Yourself in Diet Rehab

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Juanita Lopez, RD

Job: Dietitian and lifestyle educator for Kaiser Permanente in Downey, California

Personal food philosophy: Believes in eating sensibly and in moderation. She likes how Michael Pollan, author of Food Rules, sums up that sentiment: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Rethink fat-free. My clients often assume that they can eat as much as they want of fat-free or reduced-fat foods. But these may still be high in calories, sugar, and sodium. A lower-fat version of a food can even be higher in calories than the original because manufacturers tend to add sugar to make up for the lack of fat. Always compare labels.

Grab a cup of joe. I drink one to two 8-ounce cups a day. Coffee is full of antioxidants that are good for your body, mind, and skin. Just limit yourself to 16 ounces a day and avoid high-calorie, high-fat concoctions.

Get calcium daily. Most women don't get enough of this bone-builder. If you don't like milk, find one or two other calcium sources that you'll eat or drink every day. Think fortified orange juice, string cheese, or vanilla soy milk if you're lactose-intolerant, like me.

Start a food diary. Keep track of what you eat for three days and then study it. My clients are always surprised by how often they reach for food without realizing it -- they're snacking in the car, at their desk, while watching TV. Once you're aware of all this mindless eating, you're better able to curb it.

Have fries with that. Occasionally my family eats fast food, and I go for the grilled chicken salad, one of the healthier menu options. And although I love French fries, my kids and I share one small serving so we all get a little taste but don't overdo it.

Juanita's Go-To Foods

Broccoli
In summer I steam it and add lime juice and red-pepper flakes for a kick. In winter I make broccoli soup with carrots, onion, and veggie broth. Even my children like these dishes.

Bananas
I eat one every day. They're high in potassium -- which is important in regulating blood pressure and keeping muscles healthy -- and low in calories.

Soy chorizo
Chorizo is a fatty sausage, but soy versions are very flavorful and lower in fat. I put it in chili and stews or mix it into hash for breakfast.

Beans
They're high in fiber, protein, and iron, plus they're low-fat. I'll add any type of bean or lentil to salads and burritos, blend them into spreads, or eat them as a side dish.

Continued on page 4:  Katherine Zeratsky, RD

 

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