Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Best Weight Loss Ideas

I'm trying to help my younger son control his weight.  I want him establish healthy eating and active lifestyle habits now to ward off obesity to help increase his expected life span and ward off diabetes, depression, aging, and dementia. 

Here are some ideas for him to follow:
  1. Eating a balanced breakfast is critical.  Make sure your meal contains filling ingredients like protein, whole grains and produce; a plain bagel isn't going to cut it.  Ideas: oatmeal with canned pumpkin, walnuts, and a drizzle of honey; whole-grain cinnamon raisin toast with nut butter and a sliced pear; 1 egg and whole grain toast with a clementine; or a granola bar, an apple and a small glass of milk, No-Fry French Toast w/Orange Syrup.
  2. Here's why we shouldn't often eat in front of the TV: research from Cornell University shows that dining in soft lighting -- and minimal background noise -- can help you eat less and feel more satisfied.
  3. Saving the best for last may help you consume fewer calories. Eating the food you enjoy the most at the end of your meal keeps the experience fresh in your mind, so you're less tempted to continue eating.
  4. Make at least one snack a day a piece of fruit.
  5. Measure out snacks of chips, crackers, nuts, etc.
  6. Reaching for seconds or another snack?  Wait 10 minutes and see if you still want it.
  7. Drink more H2O.  Here's why: drinking water with meals may prompt you to eat better, perhaps because of years of conditioning, that makes us associate water with nutritious fare like vegetables, while we typically pair sweet drinks such as soda with salty, high-calorie foods. Here are 25 ways to flavor water, plus the recipe for the famed original Sassy Water.
  8. Not only is exercise good for weight loss and long term health, but it can keep you from getting colds: people who exercise for at least 20 minutes five days a week suffer from half as many colds as those who get moving just one or two days a week. Researchers believe that exercise helps raise the number of immune cells in the body.
  9. Make exercise a habit by planning things around it.  Know when you go to bed at night what your exercise will be the next day: sports practice, walking home, or a hour+ walk with the dog.  Similarly, make PT a habit - do it at the same time every day (can rotate the exercises, doing 1/2 one day and 1/2 the next day).
  10. Similarly, plan your meals and snacks each day.  If you have a big lunch, go light on dinner, etc.  Include drinks (other than water) in your plan, since liquid calories can really sneak up on you otherwise.
  11. Cutting down on sugar and increasing the amount of healthy food you eat also has the dual purpose of weight loss and better immunity: although there's no research that clearly proves sugar causes more illness, some doctors have observed that people who reduce sugar consumption have fewer infections and are generally healthier overall; fresh fruits, veggies, lean meats and fish (especially carrots, green tea, greek yogurt, salmon and garlic) have demonstrated value in giving your body's infection-defeating abilities an extra boost.
  12. Weighing in at least once a week can help keep you honest and on track.  Ditto for keeping a daily food log.
And here are some possible snacks:
  1. Pumpkin smoothie: in a blender, puree 1/3 cup canned pumpkin, one cup almond milk, two dates and pumpkin pie spice to taste.
  2. Blueberry smoothie: in a blender, puree 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 1/2 cups pineapple-orange juice, 6 oz fat-free vanilla yogurt.  Makes 4 servings at 117 calories each.
  3. Meringue cookies (see recipe for Almond Meringue Kisses).
  4. Maple, Apple, and Date Fruit Crisp.
  5. Apple-Date Cake.
  6. Cinnamon dippers: cut a 6-inch corn tortilla into wedges, brush with 1 teaspoon melted low-fat butter, and sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Dip cooled chips in 1/3 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt.
  7. Plum bruschetta: mix 2 tablespoons nonfat ricotta cheese with a pinch of ground nutmeg. Spread over whole wheat toast. Top with 1 sliced plum and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon honey.
  8. ThinkThin Crunch Fruit & Nut Cranberry Apple & Mixed Nuts.
  9. For something sweet late at night, pour a 40-calorie serving of vanilla almond milk over a quarter cup of frozen blueberries. It's a great alternative to ice cream.
  10. For an evening snack, make a sundae out of Greek yogurt, walnuts, a chopped banana and maybe a few dark-chocolate chips. It feels indulgent.
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