If you really want to see that number on the scale drop, what you put in your mouth matters most. People who simply cut calories to slim down lose about 2 pounds a week, says a study in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders. At the same time, people who exercise but don’t restrict calories drop less than half a pound each week.
Energy drink sales are skyrocketing: from 2011 to 2012 they grew by 14 percent, a bigger jump than any other beverage category! That’s not too surprising—who doesn’t want to catch a second (or third) wind?
Don’t Miss: The EatingWell Energy Drink
But are some drinks better than others? Here we take a look at the calories, sugar and caffeine in some of the most popular energy drinks on the market.
Eating clean also means drinking clean. You can still have some alcohol if you want—but stay within the recommended daily limit of one drink for women and two for men. One drink equals 5 ounces of wine, 1½ ounces of liquor or 12 ounces of beer.
Recipe to Try: Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs
Most people eat far too many added sugars. The easiest way to clean up the sugars in your diet is to limit obvious sources of sugar like soda, candy and baked goods. But don’t stop there—healthy foods like yogurt, tomato sauce and cereal can be “sneaky” sources of added sugars. Spend some time today reading labels. Choose plain or no-sugar-added varieties of your favorite foods, and check the ingredients to make sure sugar either isn’t listed at all, or is listed toward the bottom of the ingredient list.
Whole grains have beneficial nutrients that refined grains are missing, like magnesium (which helps the body produce energy) and fiber, which helps you feel fuller longer. Trade your refined grains for whole grains by eating oatmeal for breakfast, swapping out white pasta, flour and bread for whole-wheat versions, or trying a new-to-you whole grain, like quinoa, freekah or barley.
Recipe to Try: Spaghetti Genovese
Most Americans fall short of reaching the average recommended daily amount of 2½ to 3 cups of vegetables—which means they’re missing out on key vitamins, minerals and fiber. Get more vegetables in your diet by adding them to sandwiches, pastas or stir-fries. Try starting your day with vegetables at breakfast (like in this Greek omelet packed with spinach) and be sure to add veggies to your dinner tonight, like in this salad-topped pizza.
Recipe to Try: Margherita Pizz’alad
Clean eating doesn’t mean giving up meat entirely, but cutting back on meat helps you cut back on saturated fat, which can raise your cholesterol and is bad for your heart. Today, try getting your protein from other sources, such as tofu, eggs, beans, yogurt and nuts.
Recipe to Try: Quinoa Veggie Burger
Americans typically eat 1.5 times the recommended sodium limit of 2,300 mg. According to new research, the average restaurant meal at a full-service restaurant delivered more than 3,500 mg of sodium (yikes!). That’s why cooking healthier meals is key to limiting your salt intake. You can boost flavor without reaching for the salt shaker (or at least use less salt) by using herbs and spices and adding vinegar or citrus to foods. Try a squeeze of lemon on fish or chicken, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil over salad, or dried herbs like oregano and rosemary in soups.
You can greatly improve your diet and clean it up in a snap by cutting back on processed and packaged foods, which can be full of sodium, added sugars and sometimes ingredients we can’t pronounce. Try cooking up a stir-fry at home instead of getting takeout, or making homemade pizza instead of frozen.
Recipe to Try: Clementine & Five Spice Chicken
If your recent restaurant dining involved a super-savory dish that made you drool or a salad dressing that knocked your socks off, the chef might have been using a secret ingredient: anchovies. These tiny cured fish pack a wallop of flavor in tiny amounts and because of that, chefs like to add them to everything from salad dressing to beef stew. You might be turning up your nose, thinking of those salty, shriveled bits on pizza. However, canned or cured anchovies are a totally different taste experience.