Best Food Habits for Health and Fitness - The basic steps

If you eat reasonable portions of nutritious food at least most of the time, you'll go a long way toward protecting your waist line and your health.

Minimize, don't supersize . At the movies, buy the child-size bag of popcorn-which, despite its name, is probably bigger than the large size of 30 years ago. When the conveniences of fast food are irresistible, get a plain burger or grilled chicken sandwich and side salad, if available. Hold the mayo, hold the fries, and go easy on the salad dressing.

Vote with your pocketbook. Patronize restaurants that reveal calorie counts or have healthier choices on the menu. If the portion is oversized, move half of everything to one side of your plate before you begin eating. That's tomorrow's dinner. Or share an entree, or order only an appetizer and salad.

Don't drink sugar. Stay away from sugared sodas or juice drinks with added sugars. Instead, drink water, skim milk, tea, or, when you want a sweet taste, artificially sweetened sodas and juice drinks.

Mind your fruits and veggies. At a restaurant, ask for a double portion of vegetables instead of the starch. Eat a piece of fruit for your afternoon snack instead of visiting the vending machine.

Cook in. The produce industry is offering more vegetables already washed, sliced, and ready to steam, stir-fry, or toss into a salad. It takes just a few minutes to cook a lean chicken breast or piece of fish. If you don't know how, buy a basic cookbook and learn. It isn't difficult. 

Keep moving. Regular exercise is vital for maintaining a healthy weight.

Shop smarter . The label on that 23/4-ounce bag of Ruffles says its 160 calories. But did you notice that the bag contains "three servings"?


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