Weatherford Democrat

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December 29, 2013

EXTENSION NEWS: Enjoy comfort foods with fewer calories

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If you turn to food when you are stressed, reconsider whether you should purchase foods to which you have a weakness. Having accessible a wide variety of healthy options, along with foods that are considered treats, is a good idea to ensure a variety of nutrients is consumed.

Some foods taste richer than they are. Foods like hummus, bruschetta and pumpkin bread are rich in flavor, nutritious and have fewer calories.

You can increase nutrition while decreasing calories by sneaking in whole grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds into your meals. You can do this by adding oat bran to pancakes, peppers and onions to meatloaf, and spinach to your lasagna. Try to incorporate beans to a salad, flaxseeds to smoothies and nuts to oatmeal.

Desserts can be very tempting when you are stressed, and sometime fruits don’t do. A combination of low-fat cheese can provide very satisfying combinations of carbohydrates, protein and fats. The same applies to foods like yogurt and fruits and trail mix.

Small changes can go a long way and some of these strategies will help as well:

• Avoid eating in front of the television, and always eat from a plate or bowl.

• Listen to your body’s satiety cues to understand when to stop eating. If you stop when you feel 80 percent full, it will only take a few minutes to be satisfied.

• Plan snacks and meals in advance, and never leave the house hungry.

• Use portion control. Your body will not know the difference between smaller portions.

• Consume foods high in water and fiber. Drink water or eat a broth-based soup before meals and load up on fruits and vegetables.

• Set small goals that are measurable. For example purchasing additional fruit rather than the ice cream or chips.

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