“Everything in moderation” has long been my eating motto. As a weight-loss expert, I know small treats often help people
stick to an overall healthy eating style. And the philosophy has always worked well for me. Until recently. For whatever
reason (I’m blaming stress), my “moderate” treats, lately, have morphed into... more. Example: I’ll dish out a half cup of
ice cream, then decide I need another quarter cup. Ten minutes later, I’ll revisit the freezer for just one more spoonful,
which turns into another and another... (Find
Tips to Regain Control Over Your Eating.
I’m not normally one to ban “bad” foods, but I think my taste buds need a reboot, so I’ve decided to “spring-clean”
my diet. For one week, I am ditching refined grains and foods with added sugars, as lately eating them seems to lead to
eating more of them. While I’m at it, I’m also going to scale back my intake of salt and saturated fats (by giving up
cheese). Why? How? Let me explain.
Adieu, added sugars.
As EatingWell’s nutrition editor Brierley Wright has reported, high
intakes of added sugars are linked with risk factors for heart disease
, including increased risks for high blood pressure
and high triglyceride levels. And, like I said, lately, for me, eating sweetened foods seems to be linked with craving more
I’m ditching my daily “moderate” treats, which include things like a handful of chocolate
candies, a cookie (even if it does have healthy ingredients like oats and raisins) and low-fat peanut butter ice cream. I’m
also giving up the hazelnut syrup in the decaf lattes, maple syrup in my oatmeal and honey in my tea. If I’d like something
sweet, I’ll reach for fruit; if it needs to feel special, I’ll make a dessert that’s naturally sweet.
Recipes to Try: 7 Yummy Desserts—No Sugars Added.
Out with you... refined grains.
The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we get at least half of our
grains from whole grains. Processed grains are stripped of many key nutrients, including fiber. Plus, upping your
whole-grains intake could lengthen your life by reducing your risk of cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases,
suggests an Archives of Internal Medicine
study published earlier this year. Sounds good to me.
I’ll make simple swaps, like opting for whole-wheat pasta instead of regular, whole-grain
bread instead of white and brown rice instead of white rice. I’ll cook more grains like quinoa, wheat berries and barley.
Recipes to Try: Delicious Whole-Grain Side
Sayonara, sodium (or least some of it).
I get too much sodium. And so do you, probably: Americans, on average, eat 3,400
milligrams of sodium in a day, about 1,000 mg more than we should. And if we cut that much out of our daily diets, we’d lower
our risk of heart disease by up to 9 percent, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine
I’ll go easier on the soy sauce, even if I do use the low-sodium kind. In fact, I think
I’ll actually measure out 1 tablespoon to put on the rice bowls I often make for lunch. I’ll skip all packaged snacks. I’ll
cook dried beans in my slow cooker instead of popping open cans—which contain significant amounts of added sodium. And, most
important, I’ll eat loads of fruits and vegetables, which are naturally low in sodium.
Check Out: 6 Cooking Tricks to Cut Sodium
Recipes to Try: Get Big Flavor and Little Sodium in
These Tasty Recipes.
So long, saturated fats (from cheese).
Why? Most experts agree that saturated fats raise levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the
blood, which can damage the heart and arteries.
How? I'll give up cheese. (Remember, this is just for a week!) It is, by far, the biggest
source of saturated fat in my diet, since I don’t eat much butter or meat or many fried foods and I drink low-fat milk. I’ll
use healthy fats in place of cheese (avocado in my burritos and almond butter on my toast) to help keep me satisfied.
What happens after a week? We’ll see. I anticipate that I’ll be able to return to my less-restrictive philosophy but with
fewer cravings. Result: Eating habits that are healthier.
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