Step 4. Eat Mindfully

By Dr. Jean Harvey, Ph.D., R.D., Joyce Hendley, M.S., EatingWell Editors, The EatingWell Diet (2007)

Healthy eating means getting a variety of foods in moderation—not making any food forbidden.

Excerpted from The EatingWell Diet Book.

Healthy eating means getting a variety of foods in moderation—not making any food forbidden, but not going overboard on those rich foods that were once special-occasion indulgences. The EatingWell Diet is full of tips on how to make wise food choices. We even break it down by major food groups.

Want an easy way to eat? Just divide your plate into three sections: 1/2 = vegetables,1/4 = whole grains and 1/4 = lean protein. Try to make most of your meals (lunch and dinner, anyway), follow that pattern, and you’ll be eating healthier and leaner.

Quick check—is your eating plan healthy? We’ve included 5 categories of foods we consider critical to any healthy eating pattern on every EatingWell Food Diary page, with check-off boxes corresponding to each. If you check off all the boxes daily, you’ll have eaten wisely and well.

Take on the challenges:

* Coping with holidays and parties. Many of these celebrations center on tempting foods and drinks—but with a game plan, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy them.

* Traveling lean. When you’re on the road, it’s easy to leave your healthy intentions behind. Here’s how to plan ahead so that you’re not sidetracked.

* Navigating restaurants. Americans spend more than half of their food dollars in restaurants—places where the main goal is to get you to eat more. As always, a well thought-out plan is essential.

Eat just enough

As you eat, evaluate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being "ravenous" and 5 being "stuffed." Stop eating when you've reached 3 or 4.