Fat-Proof The New Year

meal prep

(BlackDoctor.org) – We’ve all heard the statistics. In our kitchens—there’s a struggle for our fitness. Our food habits are traditional, but our lifestyles have changed. And who can blame us? Family time has shrunk and while stressed families aren’t ignoring the get-lean message, they just don’t have the time and resources to figure out a way to make a healthy lifestyle work for them.

But armed with expertise from fitness and nutrition specialists, you can reshuffle your life.

Food Rule #1 Don’t diet.

Living well isn’t about being on a diet. It’s about establishing sustainable patterns of good behavior. Restrictive diets don’t work for adults because they collide with our all-too-human nature. Think ‘right food at the right time’, and you will have begun. As soon as you can’t have the bread or the red meat, you want it. For children especially, rigorous diets are a potential disaster. They can set the stage for rebellion or serious diseases like anorexia, say experts.

Food Rule #2 Give yourself a break.

Don’t turn favorite foods into forbidden pleasures. Just don’t eat them every day. Think about how often you’re eating foods that may damage your diet. Then mitigate—have the foods you love in moderation one day, and choose a healthy option on other days. This will help you indulge, yet ensure you’re not straying too far.

Food Rule #3 Be nutrient dense.

Research from the University of California at Berkeley has determined that nearly one-third of the average man’s diet is pure junk. But a quick scan of the nutritional information on food labels can turn all that trash into treasure. Choose foods that are high in nutrient density—foods that deliver the most nutrients for the fewest calories. Toss the ones with top heavy labels—high calories that aren’t underpinned by vitamins and minerals.

Food Rule #4 Eat more foods.

When you eat a balanced meal, you’re more likely to be full. You could have a bowl of rice or a couple of chapattis for dinner and still be hungry, or you could stuff yourself with a piece of chicken, vegetables and less rice, along with a salad, and some fruit for dessert. You can work this balance across the day. If lunch was a carbohydrate-heavy rice or starch dish, eat a piece of grilled meat or chicken with vegetables for dinner.

The Fat-Fighting Food Strategies

The problem Hectic schedules undermine mealtimes. Without structured meals, you are often left to your own dinnertime devices… or vices. Most people normally come home and dive into whatever’s quickest and easiest. Or worse, they’ll hit a fast-food restaurant and scarf down whatever.

Take the coach approach.

Devise a game plan—one that the entire family (if you’re living with yours, that is) has invested in. If you’re single, this is likely to be a lot easier. Spend half an hour together on Sunday putting together a food plan for the coming week. Then develop a specific menu for each day—if you’re living alone, pick items that you can stock up near the house or on your way home from work. Shop accordingly so the food you need is always at hand. Having more meals at home will automatically improve your habits. A Harvard University study found that in families who eat meals together, children consume higher amounts of calcium, fiber, iron, and vitamins B6, B12, C, and E, and take in less overall fat, than children who frequently miss family mealtimes.

Be practical in your planning.

Anticipate roadblocks that may cause plans to go astray. When circumstances zig, you can zag. If you know Tuesdays are crazy, make it an order-in pizza night— that’s okay. Go ahead and write that into your plan. Then, if you know that Thursday night is always a good night to cook, plan on making a meal that includes lots of healthier stuff, and allow for that, too. This is a good way to balance your calories intake as well.

The better way: Eat all the food groups in moderate quantities, focusing on fiber by including fruits and vegetables, whole cereals and whole pulses in your daily diet.