Monday, January 12, 2009

10 Ways to Start Eating Along Practical Guidelines

I’ve been looking at the Pinch tag line over the last few posts as a means of explaining further what is advocated on the site and to refocus the blog on its core values. After a holiday season filled with sweets and other indulgences it’s a good time to get back to the basics of sustainable eating.

This is the final installment in the series. Today I’m looking at the final part, “…eating along practical, healthy guidelines.”

What does this mean to you? For me, it’s not about weight loss or even weight management, though overall health is usually better when bodyweight is appropriate. Here’s what it means to me:

1. Eat breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. And a snack or two in between (see #4).
2. Create a healthy balance of protein, fat, carbohydrate for your body and keep every meal balanced accordingly. Popular diets advocate different ratios - Atkins and South Beach are high protein and fat, low in carb (SB sensibly argues dieters minimize saturated fat). Ornish and Pritikin are very low fat, high carbohydrate. The Zone Diet is high protein and low carb, but more lenient on carbs advocating a 40:30:30 ratio of carbohydrates, fat and protein at every meal.
3. Eat a variety of foods - fish, veggies and whole grains should probably be increased in everyone's diet.
4. Make snacks meaningful - no empty calories! 100 calorie packs of Pringles are neither nourishing nor satisfying - they’ll only make you reach for another 100-calorie pack of Pringles.
5. Consider the mini-meal, smaller meals throughout the day.
6. Eat close to the vine. Choose fresh foods, not processed.
7. Cook your own food. One way our weekly diet becomes less healthy is by eating out. Restaurants will either overload you on fat or calories, neither of which should be consumed in excess.
8. Eat like people are watching. Slow down - it will help you to appreciate your body’s cues that you’ve had enough.
9. Keep sweets to a minimum. Following the TCBY-binge of the early 1990s we all learned that hard way that low fat is not low calorie and that excess carbs become fat quicker than you can say “small fat-free vanilla-chocolate swirl.”
10. Make sure your protein is lean protein.

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