Did a coworker bring in homemade brownies and you sampled one (OK, three)? At dinner, did you nosh on the breadbasket, order fries instead of a side salad with your meal and eat dessert? Diet slip–ups happen to all of us, so don’t beat yourself up and abandon your weight–loss goals. One meal doesn’t negate all of your healthy efforts, as long as you’re making healthy choices most of the time. If you’ve ever uttered the phrase, “my diet starts next week,” then you know that one indulgent meal can quickly turn into a weekend of eating lots of high–calorie foods. That attitude can quickly turn a minor setback into a complete diet derailer. Instead, let it go and get back on track at your next meal or snack.
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Wouldn’t you love it if you could eat more and still lose weight? Eating foods that are low in calories, like vegetables, lets you increase the size of your portions. But it’s not just extra veggies; there are other ways to help you pump up the volume of your food as well. Try adding liquids (think: bean soup instead of a smaller portion of just beans) and eating airy foods (snacking on popcorn or choosing large tubular pasta shapes instead of denser shapes).
Pictured Recipe: Salmon & Roasted Vegetable Salad
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Snacks can keep your diet on track by preventing your hunger from getting out of control. But if you don’t pick the right ones, in healthy amounts, they can derail your diet instead. Foods with protein and fiber make especially satisfying snacks—they help keep you full on few calories. Try carrots and hummus, nonfat cottage cheese and orange slices, plain nonfat yogurt and diced pear, almonds and raisins, or an apple with almond butter.
Pictured Recipe: Chocolate-Cherry Snack Bars
Today’s Editor’s Tip:
Forget embarking on a dramatic diet shake-up (read: cutting out all carbs or having cabbage soup every day). You’re better off making tiny adjustments that you can permanently adopt, research reveals. Volunteers in an online healthy-eating challenge were given easy-to-implement tips (“Drink 8 cups of water a day” or “Only snack at the kitchen table”). Those who followed the tips for more than 25 days each month had more success dropping pounds than those who complied less often. “Making small, consistent changes fits more easily into people’s routines [than radically altering your diet],” says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., EatingWell advisor and professor of marketing at Cornell University. Remember that healthy eating is a long-term way of life, not a limited-time crash diet.
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Having a plan helps you reach for healthy foods when you arrive home ravenous or need a snack in a pinch when you’re on the go, instead of relying on convenience foods or vending machines. When you make a plan and stock your fridge with cut-up fruits, veggies and other healthy snacks, these nutritious choices become “convenience” food because they’re ready when you need them. If you are following our meal plan, you’re in luck—all the meals and snacks are planned for you. And, if you’re not, check it out here—you might like to try it.
Pictured Recipe: Shrimp Fried Rice
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