When celebrating the past and looking forward to the future, the New Year is a perfect time to set goals for a better, healthier you.
Setting yourself up with a strong nutrition foundation is essential for long-term success. An expert on helping others attain healthy lifestyles, registered dietitian Elizabeth Somer offers these four time-proven skills for permanent weight loss and health management.
1. Balance calories
Seek the right mix of calories in from your diet, versus calories out from exercise and daily activity. Your goal is gradual weight loss of no more than two pounds per week, which ensures you lose fat weight, not water or muscle weight. Daily exercise is a must to maintain the loss. If you can’t lose weight on at least 1,500 calories a day, you need to move more, not eat less.
2. Focus on plants
Emphasize colorful fruits and vegetables, with at least half of every plate heaped with produce. Complement with whole grains and moderate amounts of foods that are calcium-rich (nonfat or low-fat milk) and iron-rich (extra-lean meats, chicken, fish or legumes). Snack on watermelon cubes rich in vitamins A and C, as well as the antioxidant lycopene. This juicy treat is available all year, even in the winter. In addition, a real food such as watermelon contains at least two of the magic three ingredients for weight loss: protein, water and fiber. These nutrients fill you up before they fill you out, so you are satisfied on fewer calories.
3. Eat regularly
When you eat these calories is also important. Large, infrequent meals result in big-time hunger, which can cause you to lose control of your appetite. Eating regularly and when you are comfortably hungry keeps you in control of your appetite, allowing you to make wiser decisions. Here is an example of a day’s menu:
• Breakfast: 100 percent whole grain cereal topped with nonfat milk and berries
• Mid-Morning Snack: A bowl of watermelon with a 6-ounce tub of low-fat yogurt
• Lunch: A turkey sandwich on 100 percent whole grain bread, baby carrots and an apple
• Mid-Afternoon Snack: 1 ounce of nuts with a glass of watermelon juice
• Dinner: Grilled salmon, baked sweet potato and green peas
• Evening Snack: 2 cups air-popped popcorn and 1 cup of fat-free hot chocolate
4. Commit to Health: Keep in mind that your ultimate goal is not just a certain figure or a number on the bathroom scale; it is a lifelong commitment to be the best and healthiest you. This plan requires a lifetime commitment; not to lose weight and keep it off, but to modify habits so they support health and maintain the best weight for you for life.
For sweet recipes to help you stay on track, visit www.watermelon.org.
Watermelon Pistachio Sundae
1egg white, lightly beaten
2tablespoons maple syrup
2teaspoons brown sugar
1cup roasted, salted and shelled pistachios
6watermelon scoops (using ice cream scooper)
6scoops raspberry sorbet (using ice cream scooper)
1cup marshmallow sauce
To candy pistachios, preheat oven to 300ºF. In medium mixing bowl, combine egg white, syrup, brown sugar and salt. Stir in pistachios until evenly coated. Spread on foil lined baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes, stirring once, until crisp and lightly browned. Cool. Break apart.
Using ice cream scooper, arrange watermelon at bottom of 6 sundae cups or martini glasses. Top with scoops of sorbet. Drizzle sauce over sorbet and sprinkle candied pistachios over sundaes and serve immediately.