Seven small, easy things foodies can do to lose weight and stay healthy

Salad with Garlic Lemon VinaigretteWith the bombardment of temptations in our paths every day, it ain’t easy staying healthy. Salt-ladened this, sugar-soaked that, it’s no wonder dieting is an American pasttime — one that isn’t fun or productive. The real way to take pounds off and keep them off is to make permanent life changes. Easier said than done, of course. But here are seven easy, delicious ways for a foodie to start moving in the right direction.

1. Eat more green leafy salads. Once per day with a variety of vegetables (and/or fruit). Choose ingredients that are very fresh, seasonal and organic if possible. Raw veggies have their nutrients intact (cooking often removes them) and they keep you “regular”. Avoid bottled salad dressings since they often contain added sugar. To stave off boredom, experiment with many different dressing recipes, like Garlicky Lemon Vinaigrette or Ranch Dressing.

2. Substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream or mayonnaise. Think baked potato with yogurt instead of sour cream or tuna salad with yogurt instead of mayo.

3. Enjoy dark chocolate instead of milk. Dark contains almost half the sugar content of milk and can be super satisfying. A couple of squares of high quality dark chocolate (65% or more cocoa content) easily scratches the itch. Also has more antioxidants.

4. Use veggies instead of chips with hummus and other dips. More vitamins, more raw food (see #1).

5. Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up. This will quench your body’s thirst plus engage your metabolism.

6. Instead of fruit juice, eat the whole fruit. Fruit juice is packed with sugar (carbs) and will send your blood sugar up almost immediately. The whole fruit has less sugar and adds fiber to your diet.

7. Eat a high-protein breakfast. Scrambled eggs with a couple of chopped veggies and cheese. Or try these make-ahead, crustless mini quiches. Eating breakfast tides you over until lunch and keep you focused during morning drudgery. Plus you won’t carb binge at lunchtime. Some studies have even shown that eggs help people lose weight, likely because they’re not eating sugar and carbs for breakfast.

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