While some extreme diets on the market may suggest otherwise, we all need a healthy balance of lean protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals in our diets to sustain a healthy body. Believe it or not, you do not need to eliminate certain food categories from your healthy diet plan, but rather select the healthiest food options from each category. Then, eat those healthy food choices in moderation.
What is moderation you ask? Moderation simply means to eat only as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied as the end of a meal, but not overly stuffed and uncomfortable, but you don’t have to eliminate the foods you love. For example, eating bacon for breakfast once a week could be considered moderation if you follow it with a healthy lunch and dinner, but not if you follow it with a box of donuts and a meat lover’s pizza...
Here are some important ways to help you build your healthy diet in moderation:
• Try not to think of certain foods as “off limits”. When you decide to ban certain foods from your diet, it is natural to want those foods more, and then feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. Start by reducing your portion size, then you may find yourself craving them less or thinking of them as only occasional indulgences.
• Think smaller portions. Serving sizes have increased recently. When dining out, choose an appetizer to start with instead of an entrée, split a dish with a friend, and never supersize anything. At home, serving your food on smaller plates or in smaller bowls can help you eat less at meal time.
• Take your time when eating. Did you know it takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food? When you are eating your meal make sure to chew slowly, drink water in between bites, and enjoy the taste of your food.
• Eat with others whenever possible. Eating alone, especially when in front of the TV or computer, often leads to mindless overeating.
• Avoid eating late at night. Try to eat dinner earlier and fast for 14 to 16 hours until breakfast the next morning. Studies suggest that eating only when you’re most active and giving your digestive system time to rest each day may help to regulate weight.
So, when building your healthy diet, remember to include all food groups, but choose to eat them in moderation. In general, many people define eating in moderation as eating less than they currently eat until they feel satisfied.