1. Plan Ahead! RDs know the importance of not skipping meals to keep your blood sugar stable and energy at it's max. Without food, carbohydrates in particular, your blood sugar may drop significantly. Carbohydrates are your brain fuel. Very rarely do I meet an RD who doesn't have some food close by, so bring snacks with you when leaving the house and always eat breakfast!
2. Eat Colorful Meals: Phytonutrients are the colorful compounds in fruits, veggies, grains, beans and even nuts and seeds. Packed with antioxidants, phytonutrients are your body's defense line against harmful free radicals you're exposed to daily. Dietitians try to chose meals and snacks that include a variety of colors from a wide variety of plants. This maximizes your line of defense and helps with weight management because most colorful foods are also lower in calories and higher in fiber. Eat your rainbow! Get at least one color in every time you eat.
3. Don't over-fill your fuel tank! When your car is on empty, does it do you any good to over-fill your gas tank? RDs are often skilled at estimating the amount of calories and nutrients just by looking at a food, but for many of you that's not the case. When you eat, ask yourself how hungry you are and start decreasing portions by about 1/3 of what you typically eat. Eat slowly and give your stomach 10 minutes or so to tell your brain that you've had enough. You can always have more later when you get hungry again. The bottom line: eating more than you need will result in weight gain and physical feelings of over-fullness which can make you tired and low energy. It feels so good to only eat what you need and over time, you will lose weight at a healthy rate.
4. Choose flavor to feel satisfied: Instead of high-calorie processed condiments, add fresh or dried herbs and spices to your food to enhance every bite. Flavor makes everyday foods exciting, and it's simple to do. Add cinnamon and ginger to your breakfast: sprinkle on toast with PB, stir into oatmeal or cottage cheese and fruit or blend into a morning shake. On sandwiches I love to use whole basil leaves instead of lettuce and at dinner chop up rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro or chives and mix them into almost any dish to enhance flavor. Dried herbs and spices have an incredibly high Orac value, (Antioxidant effect). In fact, cloves and cinnamon have almost 3 times the amount that Acai berry has, so what are you waiting for?
5. Eat Mindfully, Don't Diet: As the experts in food and nutrition, RDs know that dieting and depriving yourself of foods you love are not sustainable or healthy ways to lose weight. Eating mindfully, is an approach to eating that can result in greater satisfaction from a smaller amount of food. Instead of sitting on the couch with an open container or box, decide how much of a food you're going to eat and put the box back. Try to not multi-task when you're eating (emails, tv, Facebook, work) and definitely slow down and taste your food.