Okay, this is a play on words simply because I had a foot surgery right before Christmas and had to start off the New Year on just my right foot. None the less, it got me thinking about a situation I recently faced. During the recovery period following this surgery, I was not able to run and was very limited in any type of activity compared to normal. Even yoga classes had to be cut out! Now, here is the kicker – even though my activity has declined significantly, I still had a very healthy appetite! I began thinking of ways to decrease my caloric intake to match my decreased activity level, while still maintaining good nutritional intake (since I need that to heal!) and my weight. It was at this moment that light bulb went on — I needed to increase my fruit and vegetable consumption! By swapping fruits and vegetables in place of higher calorie foods, I was able to fill up on fewer calories (and I actually lost a couple pounds in the process)!
Now, if you’re like many Americans, you made a resolution to lose weight, eat better, or get in shape in 2011. Unfortunately, about 30% of all resolutions are broken within the first week. The majority of those who remain on track end up folding before February. Why? Because we set restrictions for ourselves that we cannot maintain, so we give up. This year, forget the restrictions and obsessing about what you can’t eat and start focusing on the tasty things you can eat. Try it! Substitute fruits and veggies in place of higher calorie foods to fill up while you slim down.
Here are some great ideas to get you started …
- Start your meal with a mixed vegetable salad tossed with olive oil vinaigrette. Vinegars such as balsamic, red, and rice, help to ward off hunger. In addition, the monounsaturated fat in the olive oil helps your body absorb the phytonutrients and vitamins in the salad.
- Not a fan of salads? Opt for a vegetable broth-based soup. The soup broth and fiber in the veggies satisfy with few calories.
- Fill half your plate with vegetables. Increase the amount of veggies that you’re eating while decreasing your starch and protein portions.
- Love sandwiches? Pile whole wheat bread high with lettuce, tomato and cucumber and then add a few turkey slices. These veggies add bulk and filling fiber with few calories. Or use lettuce leaves instead of bread slices and fill with shredded chicken and sliced water chestnuts. Be creative and the possibilities are endless.
Happy New Year!