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  • Friday, September 11, 2009

    Article: Summer Diets

    Losing Weight Slow and Easy

    When summer comes, the layers of clothing go and suddenly eating healthy food and exercising becomes a priority. We might not want to put on our summer dresses, bathing suits, shorts and tank tops, but let's face it, the weather demands it. If you're like me, you've probably gained a few
    extra pounds. A healthy eating plan is what we need to feel good and start our summer off right. Fortunately, eating healthy food and dropping the weight is not as hard as you might expect.

    First of all, concentrate on food that you can eat and don't worry about what you shouldn't eat: sounds simple enough, though I always have a problem going without chocolate. So take a bite of chocolate on a Friday night and get back to business. If you are going to have that taste of chocolate (or whatever your weakness is) don't be discouraged, just get right back to the healthy eating plan.

    A healthy eating plan for me is to write down a food menu for the day. You might be better at it than I am and have a whole week planned out which probably makes grocery shopping easier. I find that if I have enough fruit and vegetables for a week I can make healthy lunches and dinners with those. Since we need around 9 servings of fruit and vegetables you can easily add or have them for a quick breakfast. Scramble fresh broccoli with those eggs or have a bowl of cherries.

    Breakfast is important. Eating a healthy breakfast will help us think clearly and function well until lunchtime. Try any version of a yogurt parfait style breakfast. The way you present it will more than likely interest your family to join you. Layer a tall glass with your favorite fresh berries or slices of bananas, then a layer of plain yogurt, sprinkle granola throughout and top it off with some raisins'"looks like desert. Did you know that those of us who eat breakfast tend to eat 100 fewer calories during the course of a day then those who choose not to?

    Obviously, eating healthy food might get a little difficult when you work all day and fast-food places are all around. Plan ahead. Try to throw some extra servings of vegetables in your lunch bag. Cucumber slices, little bit of butter, on whole grain bread? Remember that most vegetables
    are low-calorie foods and high in fiber. The latter helps to curb your appetite. I've added a fiber supplement to my diet which seems to control my cravings. Plus, everyone knows that fruit and vegetables are awesome disease fighters.

    Adding more veggies to our summer healthy eating plan will benefit us. To avoid veggie boredom look for something new. Go beyond the usual lettuce, carrots and celery. How about some purple cabbage, eggplant, cauliflower and yellow peppers? Have some fun with it, steam your vegetables if you like, and add some color to your dinner.

    If you're always on the run for lunch, double up on a dairy delight. Calcium is a good part of that healthy diet plan. A fruit smoothie is a great swap for burgers and fries. Pomegranate juice with low-fat yogurt, whipped up with fresh berries will satisfy your hunger and keep you healthy. Researchers at the University of Tennessee concluded that people who integrated dairy into their diet lost twice as much weight as those who avoided calcium-rich foods.

    "In a recent study, we found that by increasing dairy consumption - by including more milk, cheese and yogurt in the diet - we can accelerate weight loss and fat loss in people who are already dieting without cutting their calories any further."
    (Michael Zemel, Ph.D., Professor of Nutrition and Medicine, Director, The Nutrition Institute, University of Tennessee.)

    Seafood is something you will want to add to your diet as well. Instead of beef or pork, try eating salmon or mackerel. Fresh-water fish is loaded with Omega 3-fatty acids. Those will really turn on the fat-burning process whether you are awake or asleep. From personal experience Omega 3 has made the menopause transition a little easier and alleviates menstrual cramps. So substitute pork for mackerel and beef for salmon and see if we feel less hungry.

    And remember the whole grain options. Whole grains will keep your hunger in check. Anything with white, refined flour will mess with your blood sugar and you wind up craving more carbs. We need about 48 grams of whole grains a day.

    So here's a whole-grain toast to sensible dietary changes and a healthy summer. And though our eating healthy plan will be good for the long haul, now is the time to take out the summer dresses and flip flops. Grab your over-sized beach bag, fill it up with
    healthy snacks and head on over to the white sandy shores. Don't forget to take a brisk walk each evening and invite your friends to enjoy a healthy summer.