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10 sensible diet habits for 2006
Rohini Cardoso e Diniz |
January 05, 2006
Weight loss and maintenance are on the hot list of resolutions this year.
But what's your plan of action to knock of those kilos? Going on a strict diet could backfire -- you may just end up gaining back almost all the weight lost and even more.
The best and easiest way to lose and maintain weight is sensible eating combined with regular physical activity. A combination of the two results in loss of more fat and retention of muscle.
Try inculcating these10 sensible habits in your diet regime this year and get that svelte body.
i. The right sources of carbohydrates
Restrict your carbohydrate and fat intake, as carbohydrates in excess of energy needs are converted to fat.
Your daily meals should contain restricted amounts of whole grain cereals such as brown rice, chapattis, roti, whole wheat bread, multigrain bread (a combination of wheat and other cereals like jawar and ragi), ragi (finger millet) porridge, oats and products made from them as they contain dietary fibre that helps fill you up, thereby helping you curb your overall calorie intake.
Try to avoid refined cereal (white bread, white rice, naan). Restrict the intake of roots and tubers like potato, colocasia (arbi), sweet potato, tapioca and yam as these vegetables have a high carbohydrate content.
ii. Tricks to cut down on fat
Small amounts of added fat are essential for the normal functioning of the body, but excessive amounts need to be avoided.
Limit the consumption of all high fat foods such as butter, cream, cream sauces, mayonnaise, milk cream, salad dressings containing oil, fried foods such as papads, cutlets, Samosas, Chivda and farsan etc. For instance you should gorge on fried fish or your favourite fried snack or a burger or an irresistible mithai only once a week.
Make your snacks healthier by baking or roasting them rather than frying them. Eat dry roasted nuts and dry fruits in their natural form, rather than fried, salted or sugared, as a snack, instead of fried foods.
iii. Meals before meals
Ten minutes before lunch and dinner eat a quarter plate of raw vegetable or sprouts salad seasoned with lime juice or curd or other seasonings of your choice (herbs like oregano, thyme, coriander leaves and basil) and very little salt.
Vegetables are fibre rich and fill you up thereby helping you to eat less of other calorie rich foods.
iv. Snack time
Snack on fruits in between meals instead of fried and sugary snacks and fast foods. Limit the consumption of banana, mango, chickoo and grapes.
v. Eat the right sources of protein
Your diet should contain adequate amounts of protein. Proteins provide satiety to a meal and help you feel fuller for longer. It is preferable to consume protein from vegetarian sources such as pulses, dals, nuts and mushrooms instead of from animal sources as they do not contain cholesterol and also add fibre to the diet.
Non-vegetarians should consume more fish in the form of gravy preparations or grilled or baked instead of fried seafood. Skinless chicken can also be consumed in form of gravy preparations or grilled or baked.
Red meats should be used as a "garnish" to a vegetable-based dish rather than as a main ingredient. You can eat two eggs whites daily or two whole eggs a week either boiled, poached or scrambled. Use skimmed milk and products made from it. Eat skim milk paneer or soya paneer (tofu) instead of processed cheese or cheese spread.
vi. Use less sugar
Learn to how to sweeten foods with small amounts of honey or jaggery instead of refined sugar. Watch out for hidden sources of sugar such as in milk beverages, fruit juices, and other processed foods.
Another way to reduce the amount of refined sugars in our diets is to use fresh fruits or dry fruit pureés in place of sugar, particularly in desserts, as fruits contain natural sugars, vitamins, minerals and most importantly fibre.
vii. Balance the calories
Eat a lesser quantity of any particular carbohydrate or fat-rich foods in order to be able to eat small quantities of other carbohydrate or fat-rich foods.
For example: if you feel like eating potatoes or any other root vegetable or a small serving of sweet, as a dessert, at a particular meal, then eat less of rice, bread or chapattis at the same meal.
Similarly when fried foods are included in your meal, do not consume cream soups or other dishes containing cream (malai), paneer or greasy gravies in the same meal. In this way you will not exceed your caloric intake.
viii. Small, frequent meals
Never starve or over eat. Start your day with a good breakfast as it provides fuel for the day. Instead of having just three meals with larger quantities, eat small meals every three hours, but make sure they are healthy!
ix. Stop eating after one serving
One extra helping may add more calories than you may realise. If you absolutely must have a second serving, the trick is to eat only half the amount of your prescribed portion the first time round and then eat the remaining half.
Snacks and sweets on the table are a big temptation. Store these foods out of sight.
x. Eat with full concentration
Don't eat while watching telivision or reading or studying as it contributes to overeating. Chew your food slowly and enjoy every mouthful. This will give you the satisfaction of eating a good meal.
In a recent study, by researchers at the University of Adelaide, Australia, found that people who sit up straight while eating fill up faster than those who recline. Sitting upright allows food to settle in the lower part of your stomach, increasing a sense of satiety-which makes portion control more easier.
Rohini Cardoso e Diniz is a consultant dietician with Naomi's Fitness Centre and manages a private practice in Goa.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier