New year, new resolutions! Regardless of whether you are dining in or eating out, if your resolution for the year is to eat right to achieve a healthier weight, then give your meal plan a makeover with these five tips.
Tip #1: It’s the total calorie count of the day that matters
Be conscious of the food portion size and quality of your diet throughout the day. If you had a heavy breakfast or lunch, be sure to have a light dinner following it. Likewise, if you have a big, sumptuous dinner planned, have smaller meals before that. It is also a good idea to find out your ideal caloric intake for the day.
Tip #2: Plan what you put on your plate
Your food selection, both in terms of quality and quantity of food, do matter. Make deliberate decisions to choose quality nutrient-dense foods as well as incorporate healthier choices from all the different food groups.
Here’s how your plate should look like during meal times:
- Fill a quarter of your plate with whole grains such as brown rice or wholemeal bread instead of refined grains such as white rice or white bread.
- Fill another quarter of your plate with protein-rich food such as lean meat like chicken or beef. You may also choose non-meat protein such as legumes, nuts, pulses, or tofu.
- The remaining half of your plate should ideally be filled with vegetables and include a serving of fruit.
If you are having salad as your main course, go for freshly-made entrée salads with baked or grilled chicken, beans, legumes, nuts, or pulses to provide you with the much-needed protein. Also, include some carbohydrate-rich grains or potatoes. Remember to ask for dressing on the side so that you can control the amount to drizzle on your salad.
Tip #3: Don’t be afraid to waste your leftovers
You don’t have to feel obliged to finish everything on your plate if the food portion served is more than what is good for one person. This is especially so in many eateries which serve huge portion sizes (sometimes enough for two or more persons). Eat the portion good for one, and either discard the leftovers or keep them for another meal.
Tip #4: Eat slowly
Your eating speed matters so slow down and savour every bite of your food. It requires about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you are full. Research studies have shown that fast eaters tend to overeat, while slow eaters tend to eat less to feel satisfied. Eating slowly not only ensures you chew your food better but it is also better for your digestion.
Tip #5: Opt for healthier oils
Whether you are dining in or eating out, choose healthier oil for cooking or as a dressing. Healthier oils include monounsaturated oils such as canola oil, olive oil, and peanut oil; and polyunsaturated oils such as soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil.
I hope this article helps you in your weight loss journey. Here’s to a new beginning!
Nutritionist, Halley Medical Aesthetics