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Know What You Eat and Why

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Know What You Eat and Why.

Divide your plate into four quarters while serving your meal on it.

Quarter 1 – this should be your serving of meat or protein.

Quarter 2 - this is for one serving of starchy carbohydrates such as cereal, pasta, rice, bread, corn, potatoes etc.

Quarter 3 and quarter 4 should be filled with fruit, lower calorie vegetables and / or salad.

Margarine, butter, gravy, sauces, and cheesy toppings add calories to your plate and you should use them sparingly, only enough to add flavour to the food. Olive oil, herbs, lemon juice and spices are a healthy replacement to these and can add equally good flavor to your meal.

An adult needs somewhere around 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day, on an average, to maintain his or her current weight. Depending upon your natural size, muscle mass, activity level, age, and gender, every adult needs different number of calories in a day. There are calorie tables and calculators that will help you estimate your daily calorie need. But keep in mind these are only estimates— you may need a few more or a few less calories than what the calculators show, since you may have differences in your metabolism. Over time, you will know to adjust your overall calorie intake up or down by monitoring your weight.

If you need to watch your weight, lose weight, gain weight, watch protein or sodium intake, you'll have an easier time if you use a food diary. Use a notebook or a web-based diet program to keep track of your diet online. Start by just writing down everything you eat for 3 or 4 days before you start a diet so you can see how many calories you're currently consuming. Look at how many healthy foods you eat and how many unhealthy foods you choose as well. Understanding your current diet will help you learn about healthy foods you need to eat more of and the ones you need to eat less of.It is always good to be more careful when eating out at restaurants, coffee shops and hotels. The bagels that you deliciously munch on, amount to about 5 servings of bread. Yes! A supersized meal at a fast food restaurant contains more calories than you will need for the whole day, and yet it leaves you hungry within a couple of hours after eating. A lot of people have portion distortion problem with their meals. It can sometimes be difficult to picture just how big a serving of a food should ideally be. Also, an uncontrolled portion size is sure to make you eat too much! As I always say, the trick is to read labels. You may also use a kitchen scale if portion sizes for packaged foods are too much or too little for you. So, watch what you eat, and don’t get carried away by the moods of other people in the group.

I am not saying it is going to be easy, but it is surely going to be worth the effort!

Here are a few quick tips to recognize portion sizes of healthy foods at meal times:

·        1 cup of green vegetables – one serving is about the size of a tennis ball

·        3 ounces of meat – one serving is about the size of a deck of cards

·        2 tablespoons of peanut butter – one serving is about the size of a ping-pong ball

·        1 cup of pasta – one serving is about the size of a tightly closed fist

·        2 cups of green leafy vegetables – one serving is about the size of two closed fists

·        2 ounces of cheese – one serving is about the size of 2 dominoes

Once you know how many calories you need, your next step is to choose foods that will offer lots of good nutrition for the calories you take in. For example, at snack time, you could choose a healthy food such as a small glazed doughnut for 100 calories, or a cup of blueberries for about 85 calories. Although there is only 15 calories difference between the two, the blueberries make a much better choice for a healthy diet as they are packed with vitamins, antioxidants and are very low in fat. The glazed doughnut has very little nutritional value and a lot of unhealthy fats and sugars for such a small treat.

·        Tip: Start your meals with a salad.