Best Diet Tips Ever for Weight Loss Success (cont.)

She recommends dividing your daily calories into smaller meals or snacks and enjoying as many of them as you can early in the day -- dinner should be the last time you eat.

Best Diet Tip No. 8: Eat protein at every meal.

Protein is more satisfying than carbohydrates or fats, and thus may be the new secret weapon in weight control.

"Diets higher in protein [and] moderate in carbs, along with a lifestyle of regular exercise, have an excellent potential to help weight loss," says University of Illinois protein researcher Donald Layman, PhD.

Getting enough protein helps preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning while keeping you feeling full. So be sure to include healthy protein sources, like yogurt, cheese, nuts, or beans, at meals and snacks.

Best Diet Tip No. 9: Spice it up.

Add spices or chiles to your food for a flavor boost that can help you feel satisfied.

"Food that is loaded with flavor will stimulate your taste buds and be more satisfying so you won't eat as much," says Perdomo.

When you need something sweet, suck on a red-hot fireball candy for a long-lasting burst of sweetness with just a few calories.

Best Diet Tip No. 10: Stock your kitchen with healthy convenience foods.

Having ready-to-eat snacks and meals-in-minutes staples on hand sets you up for success. You'll be less likely to hit the drive-through or call in a pizza order if you can make a healthy meal in 5 or 10 minutes.

Sass stocks her kitchen with:

  • 94% fat-free microwave popcorn (20-25 calories per cup, and you can make it in two minutes or less)
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Bags of pre-washed greens
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • Canned beans
  • Whole-grain wraps or pitas
  • Pre-cooked grilled chicken breasts
  • A few containers of pre-cooked brown rice

Within minutes, she can toss together a healthy medley.

Best Diet Tip No. 11: Order children's portions at restaurants.

"When you are eating out, order a child's pizza or a small sandwich as an easy way to trim calories and get your portions under control," suggest Perdomo.

Another trick is to use smaller plates. This helps the portions look like more, and if your mind is satisfied, your stomach likely will be, too.

Best Diet Tip No. 12: Eat foods in season.

"If you don't love certain fruits or vegetables, it could be because you ate them out of season when they have little taste or flavor," says Pensiero. "When you eat seasonally, fruits and vegetables are more flavorful, at their best, and I promise you won't be disappointed."

At GiGi's Trattoria, her restaurant in Rhinebeck, N.Y., she serves simple fruit desserts, like naturally sweet strawberries topped with aged balsamic vinegar, or low-fat yogurt or fresh berries in a compote.

Best Diet Tip No. 13: Swap a cup of pasta for a cup of vegetables.

Simply by eating less pasta or bread and more veggies, you could lose a dress or pants size in a year.

"You can save from 100-200 calories if you reduce the portion of starch on your plate and increase the amount of vegetables," says Sass.

Best Diet Tip No. 14: Use non-food alternatives to cope with stress.

Sooner or later, you're going to be faced with a stressful situation. Instead of turning to food for comfort, be prepared with some non-food tactics that work for you.

Sass suggests reading a few chapters in a novel, listening to music, writing in a journal, practicing meditative deep breathing, or looking at a photo album of loved ones.

Best Diet Tip No. 15: Be physically active.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, don't use exercise either to punish yourself for eating or to "earn" the right to eat more.

"When you do, it sets up a negative thought pattern, which is why so many people say they hate to exercise," says Mays.

Instead, focus on how great you feel, how much better you sleep and how much more energy you have when you exercise. Physical activity is good for you whether you are trying to lose weight or not, so keep it positive and build a lifelong habit.

Published April 24, 2007.


SOURCES: Laura Pensiero, RD, owner, GiGi's Trattoria, Rhinebeck, N.Y. Malena Perdomo, RD, spokesperson, American Dietetic Association. Cynthia Sass, MA, MPH, RD, spokesperson, American Dietetic Association; co-author, Your Diet Is Driving Me Crazy. Ellie Krieger, RD, host, Healthy Appetite. Michelle May, MD, author, Am I Hungry? What to Do When Diets Don't Work. Rebecca Reeves, DrPH, RD, assistant professor, Baylor College of Medicine Behavioral Medicine Research Center; past president, American Dietetic Association. Donald Layman PhD, professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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