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New Season, New Diet!

New Season, New Diet!

By Christopher Coyne

You're so excited. The crocuses are coming up! It's been warm for three days in a row! Could it be that spring is finally here? So, you throw off that big, bulky sweater and...wait a minute. What's this? Where'd that little spare tire come from that's around your waist? You're not alone. It's very common for folks to let healthy eating habits lapse a little during the long winter months. We're cooped up inside and heartier, heavier foods give us comfort. That often leads to us packing on a few pounds. But don't despair; the coming of spring is the perfect incentive to get back on the right track to healthy eating. It doesn't take a lot to change your habits-and we'll give even give you a few tips to get you on your way to a healthier diet, healthier habits and a happier you.

1. Eat Your Vegetables!

A lot of them. Start your meal with vegetables or a large salad. Vegetables are a great way to feel full on fewer calories. Researchers found that when people ate 3 cups of low-calorie salad before lunch, they ate less for the entire meal, taking in 12% fewer calories than when they didn't eat a first course salad. Load up your salad with carrots, tomatoes, celery, cukes or any other green goodie you can think of, use a light dressing and dig in. Big portions of salad first will fill you up with low calorie substance, and you'll be less likely to overindulge on the main course or dessert.

2. Hot is Better Than Not!

Do you eat cereal in the morning? You should know that hot cooked cereal such as oatmeal has about one-fifth the calorie density of dry cereal. Hot cereal has just 300 calories per pound, whereas dry cereal can have as much as 2,000 calories per pound. Hot cereal is filling and will keep you going longer to avoid the mid-morning crash.

3. Go Green....Tea.

For a lot of us, soda is our guilty pleasure-but the fact is, most soft drinks just aren't good for us. One can of non-diet soda has about 140 calories. That's like dumping nine teaspoons of sugar into your 12 ounce drink! Green tea is a wonderful alternative to soda. Unsweetened varieties have no calories at all, and even some slightly sweetened version, particularly natural fruit flavored green teas have far less sugar than soda-plus green tea has catechins, substances that may stimulate the body to burn calories. Catechins are also rich in anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

4. Indulge in Some Chocolate.

One square of good chocolate can satisfy your cravings for something sweet. Make sure it's good-quality dark chocolate, though. The stronger flavor means more satisfaction with less chocolate and the anti-oxidants in dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and even lower blood pressure. It's also a good source of iron and potassium and boost serontonin which can put you in a better mood.

So, now that you've shed your winter wools and are ready to embrace the new season, think about making a few simple changes to your eating habits to have a healthier Spring!


Contributor: WebMD