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The 5 Best Diet Changes to Make in 2013

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  January 2, 2013 11:41 AM

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If you want to lose weight, increase your longevity, lower you blood pressure and fight against heart disease and diabetes in the New Year, here are 5 tips on what and how to eat every time you sit down to a meal:    
1)  Eat Off a Smaller Plate at Dinner

You may not have noticed but the size of your dinner plate has morphed over the past century.   
According to research, the size of the standard dinner plate has increased 22 percent in diameter, from  about 10 inches in 1900 to almost 12 inches in 2010.  Let’s face it: the bigger the plate, the more you will heap on and eat.   Join the Smaller Plate Movement and commit to eating off a plate that is only 9 to 10 inches in diameter at your largest meal of the day.  Do this for a month and you will be shocked as to how effective this one small change can make in shrinking your waist.

2)      Load Up on Waist-Friendly Veggies and Fruit

According to research, one of the best strategies for losing weight is to make sure that half of your plate is loaded with low calorie, high-volume veggies and fruit to crowd out more calorically-dense foods such as fatty meats and fried foods:

By adding tons of low calorie veggies such roasted peppers and onions and sliced fruit such as pears and pineapple to your plate, you will reduce the calories but not the sizeor the satisfaction of your meal.   Veggies and fruit fill you up before they fill you out.  If you do this daily, you could be a smaller size by spring.

3)  Go for the Whole Grains

Researchsuggests that a healthy diet that contains high fiber, nutrient- and phytochemical-rich whole grains can help fight against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.  While at least half of your grain servings daily should be whole grains, less than 5 percent of Americans consume this recommended amount.  Choose whole grain cereal and oats in the morning, whole wheat bread at lunch, and quick cook brown rice, whole grain couscous, or whole grain pasta at dinner.  Even though whole grains are healthier for you than refined grains, you need to make sure that only about ¼ of your plate is devoted to grains in order to control calories.

4) Eat Fish for Longevity

Want to live longer?  Studies show that consuming 8 ounces of fish weekly, especially omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish such as salmon and sardines, can reduce the risk of heart disease, the number one killer of Americans, slow the accumulation of artery-clogging plague, and even slightly lower high blood pressure.  Consider having at least two 4-ounce fish meals weekly.  Get in the habit of cooking once and eating twice:  Grill a large piece of salmon for dinner and take the leftovers for lunch the next day. 

5)  Drink Your Milk

Nonfat and low fat milk and yogurt are not only excellent sources of bone-strengthening calcium and vitamin D but also potassium, which can help prevent high blood pressure. Most Americans are falling short of all three of these nutrients, which can wreak havoc with their bones and blood pressure.   To meet the recommended three servings of dairy daily, add low fat milk to your morning java, add a slice of cheese to your lunchtime sandwich, and reach for a vitamin D fortified nonfat yogurt for a daily snack.  Since full-fat cheese is a major source of heart-unhealthy saturated fat in the American diet, choose only reduced or low fat varieties.  

                                          Follow Joan on Twitter at: joansalgeblake

Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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