Weatherford Democrat

June 16, 2013

EXTENSION NEWS: Tips for eating healthy

Weatherford Democrat


Many people find that keeping a food log helps them lose weight, but if you are not interested in doing that right now, you can take other steps to eat healthy. Here are some tips:

• The Harvard Medical School suggests cutting back on carbohydrates, particularly from sugar-sweetened beverage including sodas, sports drinks and energy drinks. Choose water or unsweetened beverages that have zero or very few calories.

• Cut back on refined carbohydrate foods that include many types of bread, cereal, pasta, snack foods and French fries as well as other types of fried potatoes. Instead, choose whole-grain foods that offer fiber and other nutrients. Look for at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. A product that has at least 3 grams of fiber is a good source of fiber. A product with 5 grams or more of fiber is an excellent source.

• Watch your portion sizes, even if you are eating something you consider to be good for you. A recent study from the International Journal of Obesity showed that people tend to eat more of a food if it’s labeled as “healthy,” even if it has the same number of calories as similar options.

• Don’t assume that cutting fat if always healthier. Some low or no fat products replace the fat with added refined-carbohydrate ingredients. A little fat, such as that in dressings or avocados, help the body absorb nutrients in leafy greens. Instead, focus on limiting saturated fat and eliminating trans-fat, opting instead for unsaturated fats.

• Eat a wide variety of food including whole grains, beans and other legumes to get a broad range of nutrients. Choose fruits and vegetables of many colors, especially green, red, yellow, orange and dark purple. The pigments in colorful product contain vitamins and phytochemicals that are linked with a lower risk of certain cancers and heart disease.

• Include more fish and small amounts of nuts into your diet. They are good sources of protein and healthy fats, and Americans tend to not eat enough of them.

• Never shop for groceries on an empty stomach. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine a journal of the American Medical Association, provided evidence that people tend to choose more high-calorie foods if they shop when they are hungry. Eat before shop and you will be healthier for that.

• Change the way you prepare foods. Cut back on adding fats and/or oils in cooking or spreads. Grill, steam or bake instead of frying. Use herbs and spices and low-fat seasonings.

• Keep a regular eating schedule.

• Eat before you get too hungry.

• Make sure you eat breakfast.

• Don’t eat late at night.

• Chew food slowly every time you eat and enjoy every bite. Pay attention to flavors and textures as well.

• Drink water before a meal as you will begin feeling full sooner.

Source: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Ohio State Cooperative Extension.

Kathy Smith is a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Parker County. Contact her at (817) 598-6168 or