1. Choose snacks with 0 trans fats and or low saturated fat snacks like Popsicles, fat free yogurt, or low fat cottage cheese.
2. Plan meals in advance. Include protein and carbohydrates in every meal to keep your energy up and your hunger down.
3. Make time to eat breakfast with your family. It’s a healthy, nutritious habit and you can talk about your plans for the day ahead.
4. Eat the lowest calorie meal items first, like fruits, vegetables and salads. Then move on to the main course and side dishes.
5. Drinking fruit juice that provide vitamin C along with other nutrients can help you feel hydrated.
6. Try pineapple – fresh or canned in juice. 1 cup = 82 calories packed with Vitamin C & manganese. Grill pineapple slices for a tasty twist.
7. Fresh sweet potatoes are a Super Food. Try them baked, roasted or mashed. You get lots of Vitamins A & C plus fiber and B vitamins.
8. Pumpkin & squash are packed with Vitamin A. They also have iron, fiber & Vitamin E. Cut in half, remove seeds & bake until tender.
9. Be adventurous. Experiment with new flavors and ingredients like condiments, spices, fruits & vegetables from different countries.
10. Balance your meals with your physical activity over a few days. If you eat more, exercise more to burn off the extra calories.
11. For a portable healthy snack, pack dried fruits such as raisins, cranberries, peaches or apricots and mixed them with raw nuts such as almond or walnuts.
12. Mix 100% fruit juice and sparkling water for a light, refreshing drink.
13. Cut the toppings that don’t fill you up. Try mustard or low fat dressing instead of mayo: you’ll get flavor with a lot less fat.
14. When ordering pasta or pizza, add extra vegetables.
15. Never leave the house without breakfast. Breakfast plays a key role in improving your children’s academic performance and overall health.
16. Share a meal when you go out to eat. Split large sandwiches or entrees with co-workers or family members. Divide a dessert into bite sizes for everyone to enjoy.
17. When dining out, eat half of your meal and bring your leftovers home for a second meal. Portions are often large enough for 2 more meals!
18. Order soup and salad (or an appetizer) instead of an entrée when you dine out. You’ll save money and calories!
19. Keep plastic forks/spoons in your car. If you’re on the road, look for a healthy lunch like soup, salad or yogurt & fruit @ the supermarket.
20. Make sure everything goes on a plate. You’re less likely to continue eating when your plate is empty. Eat sitting down versus eating on the run.
21. If you have time to watch TV, then you have time to cook a meal.
22. It is a good habit to just keep drinking water or your favorite low calorie drink all day long.
23. Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets. If you’re at a buffet, skip fried foods and foods in cheese or cream sauces. Fill up on salads & veggies.
24. Any healthy food becomes fattening when you eat too much. Pay attention to portion sizes.
25. When eating at a Chinese restaurant, order white rice instead of fried rice. You will save 14 grams of fat!
26. When eating out, opt for a broth-based soup for an appetizer. It will help you feel full without adding much fat or calories.
27. Vary your protein intake. Choose more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.
28. Repackage extra large containers of snacks into several smaller bags. When you need a snack, take one small bag.
29. To quench your thirst, try low calorie fruit drinks with 5 calories per 8 ounces. You can mix in sparkling water to add some fizz.
30. For a non alcoholic Sangria, use diet lime soda, light juices and sliced or chunky fruit.
31. Get some rest!
Sylvia Meléndez Klinger, a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer, is founder of Hispanic Food Communications, a food communications and culinary consulting company based in Hinsdale, Ill. She is Hispanic and uses her in-depth culinary and cultural expertise to introduce new strategies for wellness to an increasingly health-conscious Hispanic population. For more on her, go to hispanicfoodcommunications.com.