Tips on Healthy Eating and Weight Loss
What is healthy eating? According to WebMD, healthy eating begins with making a change toward a diet that aims for balance, looks for variety, and offers food in moderation. Find out about weight loss meal plans that are healthy, learn what is in a healthy dinner, and discover diet food recipes, such as healthy smoothies and shakes.
To live a healthy lifestyle, you need to make smart food choices. This includes a balanced diet. According to the CDC's Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, a balanced diet is one that:
- Emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat milk
- Is low in trans fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, salt, and sugar
- Includes lean meats, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and eggs
- Meets daily caloric requirements
Weight Loss Meal Plans
According to a recent ranking by U.S. News & World Report, there are seven good overall diet plans. These include:
- DASH Diet – DASH stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension. This diet program helps lower blood pressure, decrease cholesterol, and prevents and controls diabetes.
- TLC Diet – This diet plan was created by the National Institutes of Health. The therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) diet lowers cholesterol and provides a well-rounded, healthy diet for those who like the "do-it-yourself) approach.
- Mayo Clinic Diet – Experts at the prestigious Mayo Clinic developed this plan for nutritional and safety purposes.
- Mediterranean Diet – This diet focuses on vegetables, fresh fruits, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. To stick to this plan, you must give up sugary drinks and processed foods.
- Weight Watchers Diet – Based on a points system, this commercial weight loss diet plan offers emotional support.
- Raw Foods Diet – Dominated by raw, plant-based foods, this diet delivers both short-term and long-term weight loss. This labor-intensive, restrictive program is not for everyone.
- Volumetrics Diet – Based on eating foods that are high in volume and low in calories, people feel full while losing weight with this plan. It receives high marks for nutrition, but requires detailed meal preparation.
Healthy Smoothies and Shakes
Creamy Date Shake – Dates are fruits that are high in fiber and have a distinctive sweet taste. Blend vanilla non-fat frozen yogurt, skim milk, vanilla extract, and pitted dates together for a nutritional treat.
Brandied Berry Milk Shake – Berries have disease-fighting antioxidants. For a tasty treat, blend together some blueberries and strawberries, low-fat vanilla ice cream, low-fat milk, and brandy.
Banana Cream Pie Smoothie – This smoothie gives you 30% of your daily calcium, some protein, and lots of fiber. Mix together low-fat milk, vanilla low-fat yogurt, a ripe banana, some whole-wheat graham cracker crumbs, and vanilla extract.
Pumpkin Pie Shake – Loaded with beta-carotene, pumpkin makes for a great shake. To make this one, blend together pumpkin pie spice, cooked pumpkin, vanilla reduced fat ice cream, low-fat milk, and brown sugar.
Mango Lassi – For a sweet, Indian-style smoothie, blend together some fat-free plain Greek yogurt, fresh mango, sugar, low-fat milk, chopped pistachios, and cardamom.
Three Steps to Making Healthier Meals
Step 1: Choose the right foods. To make well-balanced meals, choose food that are low in sodium, saturated andtrans fats, and calories. Tips include:
- Use 1% or fat-free milk
- Buy low-fat or fat-free cheeses
- Serve beans, whole grain cereals and pasta (couscous, bulgur, barley)
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables without butter, dip, or sauce
- Choose lean cuts of meat, poultry, and fish
- Always buy low or reduced sodium products
Step 2: Use recipe substitutions. There are certain foods you can substitute to eat more healthy. Tips include:
- Use non-fat yogurt instead of sour cream
- Choose egg whites instead of whole eggs
- Use margarine or oil instead of butter
- Choose 1% or skim milk instead of whole milk
- Use low-fat cheese instead of regular kinds
- Choose fresh poultry, fish, and meat over canned or processed ones
Step 3: Make smart recipes. There are some things you can do to create better recipes. Tips include:
- Cool soups and skim off fat before reheating
- Make tacos with skinless chicken breast
- Create your meatloaf with ground turkey
- Add salsa to foods instead of butter or sauce
- Eat fruit for dessert instead of cake or pie
CDC (2013). Healthy Weight - it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle! Retrieved from:
Health.com (2013). 11 Healthy Milk Shakes and Smoothies. Retrieved from:
Warner J of WebMD (2013). DASH Diet Ranked Best Overall -- See What's Second. Retrieved from: