Create a healthier lifestyle by setting simple goals, using easy cooking substitutions

VegetablesMany people make it a goal to lose weight through diet and exercise. But a nutrition expert at Baylor College of Medicine suggests that goals should be about more than just weight loss.

“Beyond weight loss, set goals to improve the one thing that only you can do – take care of the body you have been given,” said Roberta Anding, registered dietitian at the College.

Set simple goals

One way to do this is by adopting some simple nutritional strategies, Anding said. These include:

  • Set goals to eat breakfast, such as oatmeal, fruit and milk. This keeps you from being hungry throughout the day.
  • Plan to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies.
  • Choose lean protein. Look for meats that have the words “loin” and “round” in their names.
  • Consume fat-free or low-fat dairy.

“Although the scale may not show the results in the short run, subtle changes like a gradual drop in cholesterol and blood pressure are possible,” Anding said.

Reduce calories with cooking substitutions

When looking to make permanent changes to a diet, consider using ingredient substitutions, suggested Anding. Modifying the fat content in recipes gives the biggest calorie reduction, said Anding. Many times, applesauce can replace butter and oil in baking recipes, and Greek yogurt can replace sour cream.

Learning what substitutions work best does take some time and experimentation with cooking time and temperature, but reducing a diet by 100 calories per day can result in a 10-pound weight loss in one year, said Anding.

Other substitution options include switching to a low-fat cheese rather than a whole-fat cheese and switching from white bread and rice to wheat bread and brown rice. Not only is there a benefit in amounts of fiber, but also in magnesium, which can decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.

“Don’t look for extreme changes to your diet. Look for the common sense changes that you can make permanent,” said Anding.

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-By Dipali Pathak

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