Healthy meal tips: Eat more food with fewer calories

October 2, 2015

Those plit-second choices have long-term effects.

The choices you make have long-term effects on your health and changing what you eat is an essential step when it comes to reaching your goals. Go ahead; start with small changes for an easier transition.

Healthy meal tips: Eat more food with fewer calories

Have unsweetened cereal for breakfast.

You can enjoy a bigger serving of healthy whole grains for fewer calories. The reason: sugar is very high in calories yet has virtually no nutritional value. Add chopped fruit for flavour and sweetness and enjoy the freshness and the added texture.

Add a first course of vegetable soup to dinner every night.

Research from Pennsylvania State University suggests that your body's satisfaction sensors are activated when a food is bulked up with water.

Consider adding a bowl of low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth brimming with carrots, tomatoes, onions, and green beans.

For something quick,  heat a can of low-sodium vegetable soup, then add your favourite frozen veggies and spices.

Serve your food “plated.”

That's restaurant talk for putting food on the plates in the kitchen rather than putting serving bowls of food on the table (that's typically called family style).

The only serving bowl you should allow on the dining room table is the one holding the vegetables. That way, there's no temptation to take another piece of meat or an extra helping of noodles.

Start every lunch with salad.

A big, fresh salad brimming with veggies or fruit fills you up, satisfies several veggie servings, and tastes great.

Start with a generous bed of lettuce and top with chopped tomatoes, grated or sliced carrots, cucumber rounds, sliced green or red bell pepper, and any of these: shredded zucchini, sliced raw mushrooms, onions, fresh herbs (basil is heavenly), celery, fennel, or shredded cabbage. Top with fat-free dressing, a dash of low-fat dressing (about one capful), or 15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) of olive oil–based vinaigrette.

Consider adding apples, berries, or nuts.  The beauty of salad is that it is so versatile and allows for a lot of creativity an personalization.

Make fruit your usual dessert.

To make it special, spend some time in the produce section of your food market.

  • Look beyond your usual choices for something new or indulgent.
  • If you usually skip berries or pomegranates or melons because of the price, for instance, consider buying them.
  • If you usually buy just one type of fruit, buy two or three and plan to make a pretty fruit plate or salad.

After all, you're not spending money on cookies and cakes. Why not treat yourself to the best Mother Nature has to offer? And check out the choices in the frozen food case. Often, the best-quality berries are frozen. Just thaw gently in the microwave and enjoy.

Reverse dessert priorities.

Usually, people adorn calorie-dense, nutrition-light desserts like cakes and cookies with a few berries. Next time you plan a nice dessert, do the opposite: make the bulk of your dessert berries or fruit sorbet and adorn it with a small cookie or a square of high-quality dark chocolate.

Create a stack.

Fine restaurants often present appetizers and entrées in a stack, rather than spread around the plate. It looks dramatic, and makes it less obvious how much of each dish you're getting. So try this at home. The next time you serve up, say, steak, mashed potatoes, and sautéed spinach, create a stack from the three. Make your bottom stack a large serving of vegetables (in this case, spinach spread into a nice circle on the middle of the plate). Put a modest-size, nicely sculpted disk of mashed potatoes on the spinach. On top, put four lovely slices of the beef. Then add sauce, herbs, or other final touches and serve for a dinner that's yummy, beautiful, and filled with the right proportions.


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