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Healthy eating and exercise for life

Improve Your Diet One Step at a Time

  1. Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day this week.
  2. Fill two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, beans, fruit, and moderate amounts of healthy whole grains. Limit meat and other animal foods to one-third of your plate or less.
  3. When you eat salad this week, have your dressing on the side. Dip your fork into the dressing before you take a bite of salad.
  4. Try a low-fat or fat-free salad dressing this week.
  5. Try eating your rolls and bread without butter or margarine this week.
  6. Eat beans in place of meat at least twice this week. Include them in soups and salads, or use them as a main course. For an easy, low-calorie side dish, combine three varieties of canned beans with fat-free Italian dressing.
  7. Buy a package of ready-to-eat spinach leaves this week. Add to salads, sandwiches, soups, or vegetable stir-fry.
  8. Try a serving of broth-based soup as a first course at lunch or dinner every day this week. Research suggests that eating soup first helps you eat fewer calories during the meal.
  9. If you normally eat white bread, switch to 100% whole-wheat bread this week.
  10. If you normally eat white rice, switch to brown rice this week.
  11. Try a whole-grain breakfast cereal (such as shredded wheat, oatmeal, or whole-grain flakes) at least three times this week.
  12. Measure your servings of starchy foods (potatoes, rice, pasta, corn) this week, and limit your portions to one-half cup.
  13. Buy a small food scale, and weigh your portions of meat, poultry, and fish this week. Limit your daily intake to no more than six ounces (cooked weight).
  14. Eat baked or grilled fish twice this week.
  15. Increase your intake of omega-3 fats by eating two servings of fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, herring, or sardines) this week.
  16. This week, eliminate high-fat meats, such as sausage, bacon, ribs, and untrimmed beef or pork. Instead, choose very lean meats, and use preparation methods that don’t add extra fat (such as baking, broiling, or grilling).
  17. Remove the skin from chicken and turkey before or after cooking.
  18. If you currently drink whole milk, switch to low-fat milk this week. If you already use low-fat milk, make the transition to skim milk.
  19. Try at least one type of low-fat cheese this week.
  20. This week, try an omelet made with egg whites or egg substitute, vegetables, and low-fat cheese.
  21. Look for edamame (fresh soybeans) in the frozen vegetable section of your supermarket. Edamame can be steamed and eaten as a side dish or added to bean salads or soups.
  22. Eliminate all fried foods this week.
  23. If you eat ice cream as a treat, try low-fat ice cream or sorbet this week. Limit your portion to one-half cup, and top with one-half cup of berries or other fruit.
  24. Reduce your intake of commercially prepared snack foods and sweets (such as crackers, cake, cookies, or pastries). If you typically eat these foods every day, you might limit yourself to two servings this week. Set a target that is realistic for you.
  25. If you get hungry between meals, eat a healthy snack, such as a piece of fruit, a container of low-fat yogurt, or a small amount of nuts.
  26. If you drink wine at home, measure the amount that you pour into your wine glass this week, and limit yourself to one 5-ounce serving.
  27. If you often drink beer, limit your intake to one 12-ounce serving.
  28. Sit down at a table for all your meals and snacks this week. Put you food on a plate, and eat without distractions.
  29. Eat breakfast every day this week. Include fresh fruit, a serving of whole-grain bread or cereal, and a source of protein, such as skim milk, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese, one whole egg, or egg whites.
  30. Share a restaurant meal this week, or take half the serving home. It’s not unusual for a restaurant entrée to contain more than 1000 calories.
  31. This week, eat the lowest calorie items in your meal first (soup, salad, and vegetables). By the time you get to the meat and starchy side dishes, you won’t be as hungry.
  32. This week, use mustard or fat-free mayonnaise on your sandwiches.
  33. This week, take your lunch to work at least three times.
  34. Stock up on frozen green vegetables this week (such as broccoli, green beans, spinach, or Brussels sprouts), and include at least one serving in each of your dinner meals.
  35. Plan your meals and snacks every day this week. When you know you’ll be eating again soon, it’s easier to say no to unplanned extras.
  36. If you know you will be attending a buffet meal this week, take advantage of the opportunity to practice some dining skills. Survey the food on the table, and make a decision about what you will eat. Then fill your plate once, and sit down to eat.
  37. If you know you will be going to a Mexican restaurant this week, control your intake of tortilla chips by deciding in advance exactly how many you will eat.
  38. If you know your weeknights will be busy this week, purchase ingredients for easy dinner meals. Examples include low-fat frozen entrees, ready-to-eat salad ingredients, broth-based soups, canned beans, canned salmon or tuna, fresh fruit, and sorbet.
  39. One evening this week, read the nutrition information labels on foods you have on hand. Compare the serving size listed on the label to the amount you typically eat.
  40. If you often eat chips and chocolate bars, try small servings of pretzels, light popcorn, or low-fat chocolate pudding instead.
  41. Eliminate added fat from potatoes, rice, and vegetables this week. Instead, try an herb seasoning mix, fat-free Ranch dressing, or vinaigrette in a spray-on bottle.
  42. If you often find yourself snacking at night, plan to stop eating at a specific time, such as 7:30 p.m.