Beyond the Basics

From our friends at Center for Healthy Living

You probably know the basics- reduce fat (especially saturated), choose whole grains and limit sweets and salt. Oh, and don’t forget to exercise. Take vitamin supplement and regular check ups.

Here are 10 practical tips to go beyond the basics:

1) Eat bran: Eat 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume. An ordinary bowl of cereal has just 3 grams of fiber per serving. All bran cereals have 10 to 14. Studies show lowered risk of heart disease and even weight loss.

2) Less meat or meatless: Red meat = higher risk of cancer. Go for fish, poultry, or beans. Try veggie sausage and veggie burgers. Toss in tofu or tempeh once in a while. When you do eat red meat, make it local, vegetarian fed and hormone-free.

3) Beans, beans: Eat lots of beans – 3 cups per week. They’re convenient, packed with fiber, potassium, folate, iron and protein. Plus, they lower the risk of some colon cancer. Just open a can, rise (to wash off some of the salt) and throw into rice or pasta.

4) Choose to chew: The calories you drink are more likely to show up on the scale than the calories you chew. Drinking doesn’t make you feel as full as eating. Stick with water, flavored seltzers, plain coffee, tea or diet soda (if you must).

5) Curb the cheese, please: It’s everywhere – on sandwiches, salads, breads, potatoes, chicken and eggs. But cheese can clog your arteries like nobody’s business. Buy a high-quality cheese. With its intense flavor, a little goes a long way.

6) Snack smart: Got the munchies? Try an apple, pear, peach, carrot, red pepper slice or any other fresh fruit or vegetable. Better choices on snacks can make a big difference on your waistline. And if you can afford the calories, go nutty. Nut eaters have a lower risk of heart disease.

7) Fresh fish: Eating fresh fish at least two times a week lowers the risk of heart disease. If possible, make it a fatty fish that contains lots of omega-3s like wild salmon, but any fresh fish will do. Fresh is best but if you normally reach for canned tuna, try canned salmon instead.

8) Vegetables instead of potatoes: Your body treats potatoes like sugar, so try switching to veggies. Coat 4 c of any variety with 2 T olive oil, 1 t soy sauce, 6 cloves garlic and a little pepper. Bake at 450 or grill until tender.

9) Soup, not salt: Salt raises blood pressure, which boosts the risk of heart attacks and strokes. And canned soups are the worst offenders with roughly 1,000 milligrams per 100 calorie serving. Start with a carton of Imagine brand soup like Sweet Potato and add fresh or frozen vegetables.

10) Finish with fruit: A typical slice of cheesecake tops 1,000 calories and provides two days’ worth of saturated fat! Limit your sweet indulgences to an occasional treat. For an easy alternative, try sliced fruit for dessert.