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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Weight Control


Eight healthy habits to help lose weight

Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Barton County, University of Missouri Extension


Losing weight is a common, but difficult goal for many people. It’s easy to get frustrated when you don’t see results quickly or because you’re trying to do too many things at once. It is much easier to work on one or two new habits at a time. Here is a list of eight healthy habits. Choose one or two you would like to work on. Once you have made a new habit, adopt another one.


  1. Drink fat-free milk. For adequate calcium intake, 3 cups of milk per day is recommended.
    • 3 cups whole milk = 450 calories, 24 grams of fat
    • 3 cups 2 percent milk = 363 calories, 14 grams of fat
    • 3 cups skim milk = 258 calories, 1 gram of fat
  2. Use a smaller plate. It sounds simple, but it works! People who use smaller plates take and eat less food.
  3. Cover half of your plate with vegetables. Vegetables are packed with healthy nutrients and are generally low in calories.
  4. For protein, think lean. Choosing lean cuts of meat helps decrease saturated fat. Lean cuts of beef and pork have the words “round” and “loin” in the description of the meat. In poultry, white meat is leaner than dark meat. Always avoid eating the skin of poultry.
  5. Go light on the salad dressing. Salads are thought of as a “diet” food. Two tablespoons of regular salad dressing can have 150 calories and 16 grams of fat. The same amount of a “light” variety has 60 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. Most salsa has no fat and very few calories.
  6. Eat at the kitchen table. We eat more when we are distracted. If you sit at the table with no television you are less likely to overeat.
  7. Eat slowly. It can take 20 minutes for your body to register a sense of fullness.
  8. Eat the fruit rather than drinking the juice. Whole fruit is more filling and has fewer calories.
    • 1 orange = 60 calories, 3 grams of fiber
    • 1 cup orange juice = 112 calories, less than 1 gram of fiber


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