HELP Healthy Eating for Life Plan® – Suggestions

Eating Suggestions – Try one suggestion every day for a month to make it a permanent habit. It’s easier to make eating changes if you eat every 4 to 6 hours when awake so you are not starving all day. You have an active life that can be stressful at times. Accept that you are a human who isn’t perfect. Remember you didn’t gain your weight overnight and it will take time to reach your weight goal. If you fall off your eating plan, it doesn’t mean you failed. Forgive yourself and get right back on your plan. Self talk with positive feedback about your successes and what you are doing well. Research shows that people who have supportive friends with weight loss goals lost more weight and were more likely to keep the weight off. Visualize yourself achieving your weight or nutrition goal like an Olympic athlete. Picture yourself trying these eating suggestions or imagine how you will combat the temptation of going back to your former eating habits. Keep a food journal may help you lose more weight by keeping your focus on food. Set a realistic goal that you can achieve in 1 month, then set another goal.

  1. Set yourself up to succeed. Make healthy food choices easy. Plan what you are going to eat because if you buy it, you will eat it within the next 24 hours. Use grocery lists to control your eating by buying only what you plan to eat. Remove foods from your home and work spaces that don’t fit your healthy eating plan.
  2. To determine if you are hungry, ask yourself if you would eat an apple instead. If the answer is no, then you are not hungry. Plan to eat every 4 to 6 hours to prevent binges.
  3. If you want to quit eating at bedtime, start eating breakfast.
  4. Eat a variety of different foods every day. No single food or combination of foods will cause weight loss and no single food is inherently fattening. It’s the total calories each day that counts. There is no need to buy diet or special foods.
  5. Cook from scratch using as few prepared or processed foods as possible so you can decide how much and what kind of fat, salt or sugar is added to the food you eat. Reduce your food budget by cooking from scratch at home and using fewer prepared or processed foods.
  6. Make time to sit down at a table to eat meals and snacks with silverware rather than eating and drinking in your car or on the run. Be present and in the moment when you eat so you are aware how much you eat. Be purposeful when eating and remove distractions like watching television with meals. Make meals a time for your family to share news of their day.
  7. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. People who sleep less or more are more likely to be overweight. Sleep is a good opportunity to get away from food. You are more likely to eat when tired and may need sleep instead of food.
  8. When you eat at restaurants, ask how food is prepared and choose how much you are going to eat from the plate served to you before you start eating. Bring leftover food home to eat at another meal. If you eat at fast food restaurants, choose either a broiled, skinless chicken or hamburger with lettuce and tomato and no special sauces other than ketchup or mustard. If your drink milk, you don’t need cheese on your burger. Order a side salad or fruit with yogurt and skim fat-free, 1% low fat or 2% reduced fat milk rather than sweetened carbonated beverages.
  9. Choose skim fat-free or 1% low fat milk / yogurt and lean meats so you can add fat to your meals like healthy oils (olive, peanut, Canola, soybean, sunflower or corn), trans fat-free margarine made with healthy oils, salad dressing made with healthy oils, sandwich spreads like mayonnaise, nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds) or seeds (sunflower or flax).
    If you drink soy or rice drink, choose enriched type with added calcium and vitamin D. Flavored soy and rice milks are higher in carbohydrate than plain milk and are not included in weight loss eating plans.
  10. Trim visible fat off meats and remove poultry skin before cooking or before eating. Broil, roast, bake, grill or poach meat, poultry or fish to eliminate fat added to fried meats.
  11. Limit egg yolks to 3 per week due to cholesterol in yolks. Pick 3 days of the week to eat an egg for example Sunday, Tuesday and Friday which makes it easier to remember.
  12. Eat ocean fish (salmon, albacore tuna, herring or sardines) or lake trout twice a week to increase the omega-3 fatty acids you eat. Pick two days of the week to eat fish to make it easy to remember for example Tuesday and Friday. Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish due to high mercury levels. Canned albacore tuna has more mercury than light tuna so limit albacore tuna to < 6 ounces per week.
  13. Choose 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grain breads, cereals, rice and pasta to increase the amount of fiber in meals.
  14. Choose cereals with < 8 grams sugar per serving or < 12 grams sugar if the cereal has fruit.
  15. Eat beans, peas and lentils to increase the amount of fiber in meals.
  16. Eat vegetables and fruits each day to increase the amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber in meals.
  17. Choose dark or bright colored vegetables and fruits for more antioxidants and bioflavonoids. Green leafy or low calorie vegetables are free foods.
  18. Choose fresh or frozen vegetables rather than vegetables canned with salt which are higher in sodium. Steam or stir fry vegetables until fork tender either on stove or in microwave to preserve vitamins.
  19. Choose fruits fresh, frozen or canned in juice. Fruit juice should be 100% juice. Dried fruits are a great snack.
  20. Choose margarines that list liquid oil as the first ingredient and 0 grams of trans fat on the food label.
  21. Choose one food at a meal to add fat servings to such as margarine on a potato or bread or salad dressing on a salad.
  22. Ask for or serve your salad dressing on the side and dip your fork in salad dressing before spearing some salad. Choose oil and vinegar based dressings which tend to drip off salads rather than cream type salad dressings that cling.
  23. Include low salt broth based vegetable or bean soups or salads with dressing served on the side at noon or evening meals to help you feel full and reduce how much you eat.
  24. Read the Nutrition Facts and the ingredient list on food labels. Avoid processed foods that contain trans fats as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Hydrogenated vegetables oils are saturated fats which increase blood cholesterol and risk of heart disease.
  25. Drink enough water and beverages so that your urine is colorless and odorless after your first voided urine in the morning. If you have kidney disease or heart failure, you may have to limit fluids.
  26. If you choose to drink caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, cola or carbonated beverages with caffeine, limit your intake to 16 ounces per day. Pregnant women should not drink caffeinated beverages because it increases the risk of miscarriage.
  27. If you choose to drink sweetened carbonated beverages and you are at a healthy weight, limit your intake to two 12 ounce cans per day. Fruit juice would be a healthier choice as juices have nutrients not usually found in carbonated beverages. If you want to lose weight, you can choose to drink diet carbonated beverages and should limit your intake to two 12 ounce cans per day.
  28. If you choose to drink alcohol, women may drink 1 alcohol beverage or less per day and men may drink 2 alcohol beverages or less per day. If you drink beer, liqueur or dessert wine such as sherry, your eating plan will be reduced to accommodate the extra calories.
  29. Any sweetened drink mixes that you add to alcohol beverages contain calories and carbohydrates which are not included in your eating plan.
  30. If you want to lose weight, we would not recommend choosing these types of foods. Occasionally, you can substitute some of your starch or fat servings for these types of foods.
    1. Desserts (cake, pie, cookies, bars, gelatin or pudding)
    2. Frozen desserts (ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, sorbet or ice cream bars)
    3. Pastries (donuts or sweet breads)
    4. Sweets (candy, syrup or toppings, sauces)
    5. Sweetened carbonated beverages (soda, energy or sports drinks)
    6. Snack or meal replacement bars.
  31. Substituting: You can occasionally switch 1 starch serving for 1 fruit or 1 milk as they contain the same amount of carbohydrate. Remember that starches are a good source of fiber, folic acid and B vitamins. You can occasionally switch 1 milk serving for 1 meat as they contain the same amount of protein. Remember that milk is a good source of calcium and vitamin D.

Serving Size Suggestions – You can practice one serving size suggestion each day of the week.

  1. Use your silverware serving spoons to control portions of foods like cooked cereal, rice or pasta, casseroles or combination dishes, vegetables and fruits. Two heaping serving spoons of food are approximately ½ cup.
  2. Measure how many ounces your beverage glasses and cups hold. Choose glasses and cups that hold 8 fluid ounces so that you can control serving size.
  3. To choose a 3 ounce portion of meat, choose a piece of meat about the size of a deck of cards or about the size of the back of your hand from knuckles to wrist and as thick as your little finger.
  4. A handful of food is about equal to 1 cup (like popcorn or other starchy snack foods).
  5. Two tablespoons of peanut butter is about as big as a golf ball.
  6. One ounce of cheese is about a 1 inch cube.
  7. Your thumb is about 1 tablespoon of salad dressing, oil mayonnaise, or margarine.