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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Healthier Choices, step 1: more vegetables

B was a meat and potatoes eater. One day, B said "I'm eating a lot more vegetables now". And, at my house, I noticed B WAS eating more vegetables, and trying new ones, too. Beets, broccoli, beans. All in all, a better-balanced diet -- a better balance of nutrients. B is thinking about a balanced diet, not weight loss, but replacing some helpings of meat and potatoes with lower-carbohydrate vegetables means fewer calories, too.

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Healthier Choices -- step by step

When it comes to making dieting, some people like to go whole hog. Throw out the "bad food", get on the treadmill, buy a bunch of vegetables and a new cookbook, draw up a menu plan. Never look back. This worked so well for us, I highly recommend it. The parents lost a combined 75 pounds in a year (15 of those "accidentally"), while the kids are learning how to make up a balanced eating plan. Deciding "what to eat" got easier, and we learned a bunch of great new recipes. We cut back on salt and got more active (well, one of us did, anyway). It has been great. I cannot recommend the DASH Diet enough!

Dear B read the DASH book on our recommendation (and even read The DASH Diet Action Plan) but really didn't relish the idea of making such an abrupt change, eating so much more fiber, using new cooking techniques, and eating "weird food" while, at the same time, upping the exercise suddenly. It sounded like a recipe for pain and indigestion. Since the Dash Diet is just what B wants, I countered that it would be illogical NOT to make the change. B was merely amused by my Mr. Spock approach.

Then, B quite sensibly took a very different approach. B is aiming for more energy and improved health. And B will get there -- one step at a time.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Diet -- it's all in the portions

Melanie, at dietriffic, recently offered some tips on making a weight-loss diet work. I know that keeping track of portion sizes really makes things easier. I actually bring measuring cups to the table. These stainless steel cups belong to our "for the table" set. They make it easier to serve everyone the right amount. One cup of rice, one half cup each of two vegetables, a 3-oz serving of meat, and one cup of salad on the side. That's two grains, 2 ½ cups of vegetables, and our evening protein portion. A handy chart on the 'fridge (see below) reminds us what we should be aiming for in a day. Using standard portion sizes makes it all "deal a meal" easy.

source: MyPyramid intake patterns, MyPyramid customized dietary guide, DASH diet guidelines

I know that my 8 year old has had 1 serving of grain at breakfast, two slices of bread at lunch, a granola bar for afternoon snack, and only needs 1/2 cup of rice at dinner. The four-year-old only had one slice of bread at lunch, and so might want a whole cup of rice at dinner (but will probably get full, so I'll start with half a cup). They both get 3 half-cup servings of vegetables at dinner, which is good since the 8-year-old had 10 mini carrots at lunch. The three (or fewer) ounces of meat they will eat with their dinner goes with the bologna or peanut butter they have already eaten today to give them the protein they need.

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Beets are back down

Just as quickly as the price went up, it went right back down. Beets are once again an unbelievable bargain at Wegmans, at 99 cents a pound. How long can they keep that up?

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