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The idea of sticking to a strict diet is daunting, and the thought of avoiding your favorite foods and searching for healthy options when eating out can make it even harder. Luckily, there are ways to lose weight without committing to a fad diet. In fact, many people find that small changes add up to bigger—and more sustainable—results.
Here are a few easy ways to fine-tune your diet this month.
Monitor Portion Sizes
One of the biggest obstacles dieters face is monitoring their portion size. Average portion sizes have swelled for a variety of reasons–our subconscious might even be to blame. Studies have shown that the size and color of your plate may impact the amount of food you put on it, contributing to overeating.
To get your portion sizes under control, it’s important to remember that the serving size listed on your food’s packaging can be confusing. Instead, prioritize your meals by their nutritional value, making sure the healthiest options, such as vegetables, are the most prominent.
Choose Colorful Meals
Try your best to enjoy a “rainbow on your plate.” Incorporating healthy fruits and vegetables as part of each meal is a simple way to help shed the pounds. Aim to fill at least half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables and fruit.
When shopping, choose produce in a variety of colors to get a benefit from a wide range of nutrients. Nutritious options like berries, beets and broccoli tend to stand out, while starches and refined grains are more neutral-toned.
Practice Mindful Eating
We’ve all been guilty of thoughtless snacking at one time or another. Think of the movie theater popcorn that’s suddenly gone midway through the film.
This type of snacking often leads to unnecessary calorie intake and a tendency to continue eating after we’re full.
Chewing food slowly and paying attention to each bite gives the stomach more time to catch up and send signals throughout the body telling your brain that you are full. A slower pace also gives you more time to choose helpings carefully, rather than loading up your plate.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends that approximately 10 percent of our daily calorie intake come from added sugar, but most Americans far exceed that. Added sugar contributes only empty calories that can lead to weight gain or obesity.
To avoid consuming too much added sugar, a quick scan of the label is all you need. Look for keywords on the packaging, such as cane sugar, honey or syrup, and try to avoid or limit your portions of foods containing these ingredients. Remember: sugar can sneak into foods where you least expect it.