Stay on Track to Lose Weight

We've all no doubt made our New Year's Resolutions to get in shape and get fit, as well as to watch what we eat. It's around this time of the year that many people start to slack and fall back into old habits.

Healthy eating can be a challenge, so we've come up with a few things you can do to eat more healthfully this year easily and to stay on track to reach your weight loss goals:

Brew Up Beans and Grains

Grains and legumes are easy to substitute into your meals as a low-calorie, high-fiber alternative to meat and refined grains. Cook up a big batch of beans, lentils, or chick peas, along with another batch of brown rice, millet, barley, or quinoa. Any time you need some food in a hurry, serve a bowl of these healthy options!

Go Black

Sounds dirty, doesn't it? It's not - it's referring to your tea and coffee. Instead of adding artificial creamer, cream, milk, sugar, or artificial sweetener, just drink it black. It takes getting used to, but it can be very enjoyable - not to mention much lower in calories.

Find Healthy Alternatives

Want a batch of mashed potatoes? Why not replace half the potatoes with cauliflower to make a high-fiber, low carb mash? How about a hamburger made with half refried beans and half ground beef? Find alternatives that aren't just healthier, but also lower in calories.

Measure By Hand

Use your hand to help you measure what you eat. Serve yourself pasta in a serving roughly the same size as the front of your fist, and serve meat that is as large as the palm of your hand. The tip of your finger is the size of your pat of butter on toast, and serve no more ice cream than could sit on the top of your clenched fist.

Use the Oven

Take stuff out of the pan, and start using the oven a lot more. Roasting and baking food is so much healthier than frying it, and you can make some pretty amazingly delicious meals if you get creative.  You can also turn to the crock pot, the broiler, the steamer, and the grill to help you cook meals that are lower in oil - ergo lower in calories.

Try a Veggie Day

Why not have one day each week where you eat nothing but whole grains and vegetables? Cut the meat out of your day, and go vegetarian one day each week. It will help you keep your saturated fat consumption down, making it much easier for you to count those calories. You can get creative with your use of vegetables, legumes, and grains!

Brown-Bag It Regularly

Instead of eating out or from the vending machine, start bringing your own meals to work. You'll be eating much healthier food, and at a much lower cost. It may take time to chop up those veggies and fruits the night before, or to cook that meat and pasta beforehand. As long as you've got a microwave handy or you don’t mind cold salads and sandwiches every day, you'll be so much healthier.

Fill Up on Veggies

Force yourself to eat at least two servings of vegetables before you tuck into the protein and starch in your meals. Have at least a heaping plate of salad (with homemade low calorie dressing), and consider having a portion of vegetable soup as well. Filling up on veggies will make it much easier for you to avoid overeating when it comes to steak, meat loaf, pasta, rice, and other heartier, heavier dishes. Plus, you'll get all of the roughage you need first!

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