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healthy-webRISMEDIA, April 4, 2009-(MCT)-Changing your diet habits isn’t easy, but here are some tips from Sharon Salsman, a dietitian with Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System, on taking the first steps:

Adopt an “80:20” eating plan. Try to eat healthy 80% of the time. This means you can “blow” one meal a week and also indulge at parties and other special occasions.

Plan ahead. If you know you’ll be having a big meal one day, cut back on your food intake – particularly fats, sugar and sodium – before and after. For example, don’t order a big pizza for dinner the night before Thanksgiving or have a greasy breakfast the morning of a holiday.

Divide your plate. Fill half with fruit and non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, carrots or greens. Fill one quarter with lean proteins (mostly white meats, beans and nuts) and the remaining quarter with starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, peas and black beans.

Be colorful. Try to get as many colors of the rainbow as possible, plus brown and white, onto your plate each day. You’ll find many reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues and even purples in the fruit and vegetable aisles.

Include lean protein at every meal. Examples are fish, skinless poultry, pork chops, unsalted nuts, eggs and low-fat or light cheeses. Limit your red meat intake to about 3 oz. a week – roughly the size of a deck of playing cards.

Add fiber. The body digests protein and fiber slowly, making you feel full longer. Try mixing high-fiber cereals such as All-Bran and Fiber One into other types of cereal, salads, stir-fry, muffins, pancakes and yogurt. You can also grind up the cereal and mix it with bread crumbs to cook chicken and fish.

© 2009, Daily Press (Newport News, Va.).
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.