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When combined with regular exercise, a healthy diet can reduce your risk of disease, control your weight, boost your energy and improve your quality of life. Eating right means watching fat and calorie intake and including a variety of nutritious foods in your daily diet. Fortunately, it is easy to cut fattening food from your diet if you read product labels and substitute healthy foods for those high in fat or empty calories. Do not make dietary changes without first consulting your doctor, especially if you have heart disease, diabetes or another medical condition.
Choose lean cuts of meat. Trim all visible fat and bake or broil meat instead of frying it. Avoid fattening gravies and sauces.
Eat low-fat or fat-free dairy products and watch serving sizes when eating cheese and ice cream. A serving size of ice cream, for example, is as small as 1/2 cup.
Substitute whole grains for refined grains and breads that contain egg or cheese. Avoid biscuits, doughnuts, pancakes, fried rice, packaged stuffing and waffles. Instead, choose oatmeal, plain pasta and brown rice.
Serve raw, steamed or boiled vegetables with meals instead of packaged side dishes or rolls. Vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals and low in fat and calories.
Cook cold-water fish for dinner two to three times each week. These fish are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids and are less fattening than many other protein sources. Some cold-water fish include salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna and trout.
Skip high-calorie sodas and iced tea and instead reach for water or fruit juice. If you are restricting calories, however, watch your overall intake of fruit juices; many are high in calories.
Snack on unbuttered popcorn, whole grain crackers, raw fruits or vegetables, and low-fat yogurt. These snacks are nutrient dense and low in fat and calories. Cookies, cakes and pudding are fattening and offer little nutritional value.
Use egg substitutes or egg whites when preparing food instead of using whole eggs. You can cut fat, cholesterol and calories by making this simple change.
Opt for mono- and polyunsaturated fats when cooking, as your body needs some fat to function properly. These fats, which include olive and safflower oils, offer health benefits. Trans and saturated fats increase cholesterol, heart disease risk and diabetes risk, according to Mayo Clinic.
Make a list before grocery shopping that includes healthy foods and does not include fattening foods. You are more likely to make healthy food choices when you plan ahead.
Published in: Cooking