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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Eating Well


Simple strategies for improving your health


Many invest time and energy in losing weight after the holidays. The most important thing to remember is to adopt healthy habits that last. Glenda Kinder, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension, suggests working on habits that result in both health benefits and weight loss. Weight-loss-only diets don’t work because they focus on avoiding forbidden foods, not on enjoying delicious, nutritious foods.


When making diet changes, keep it simple. Focus on making different choices and examine the types of food you typically eat. Instead of highly processed foods made from white flour, look for ways to eat more whole grain foods. It’s never been easier to find a tasty, whole-grain product in breads, cereals, crackers and other grain foods.


One of the best ways to satisfy your appetite is to eat a lean, healthy protein at each meal. Healthy proteins like chicken or turkey breast, fish, lean red meat, whey protein and nonfat dairy can help you stay on your diet plan. For some meals, choose a vegetable protein like nuts, beans, tofu or edamame. In general, a protein serving should not be more than the size and thickness of the palm of your hand. Proteins take longer for your body to digest so you feel full longer. A meal high in protein and plant foods can prevent cravings for up to four hours.


Another practice for a healthy diet is to eat two colors at every meal. This means eating two or more servings of plants — the fresher and more colorful the better — morning, noon and night. Although juice is a healthy choice, it’s best to limit the amount consumed to no more than 3/4 cup a day. You’re better off eating the whole fruit — it’s more satisfying and provides more fiber. There’s nothing like fresh produce for improving health and achieving weight loss. Vegetables are more important than fruits, so try to have at least one vegetable at each meal.


If you follow these simple guidelines, you can control hunger and you’ll give your body the disease-fighting nutrients it needs.


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Last update: Monday, January 11, 2010