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If rice or pasta calls for a heaping tablespoon of butter, opt instead for a conservative teaspoon of soy margarine or olive oil. Ultimately your rice will taste same and you won’t have all those extra calories to contend with. Milk and cookies is a long-time favorite, but try for milk and crackers next time. Experiment with jellies and spreads instead of usual mayonnaise and butter for toppings.
Portion Control - It’s easy to lose track of how much you’ve eaten when you drink or eat straight from container. Stay on track by carefully measuring out serving sizes before you begin eating. When you do buy items like chips or pretzels, locate appropriate serving size on nutrition label. As soon as you arrive home, divide larger bag into individual servings in small plastic baggies. In this same spirit, when snacking on any food, separate a single serving’s worth and put it aside in a plate or bowl. Then immediately put food away, before you begin eating, to avoid temptation. Try not to make original packages easily accessible. Purchasing a bag re-sealer is more effective than using chip clips, because you are less likely to cut open a bag than to simply unclip it. Heavy-duty tape and hard-to-open containers can also do trick.
Fast Food - Ideally, fast food should be avoided. However, ever-expanding menus at many of top fast-food chains are now offering many options that can fit into a variety of diet plans. Look for grilled meals instead of fried. Opt for alternate sides instead of French fries if possible. Many chains offer salad and yogurt options as well.
Ask for substitutions if a menu item is not quite ideal. For example, you can request a hamburger without a bun, or you can request a bun without a hamburger. If you cannot get substitution, make modifications yourself before eating, i.e. throw hamburger bun in a nearby garbage bin or discard half your French fries.
Make Your Own - There’s no rule that says only store-bought, pre-packaged foods are convenient. Take time on weekend or on days off to do some conscientious grocery shopping and cook one or two large meals of something healthy that you enjoy. Separate into serving sizes and refrigerate (or freeze) as necessary. Buy fruits, vegetables, deli meats, and cheeses to snack on, and prepare them ahead of time by slicing into bite-sized pieces. Separate into serving sizes and store to use as snacks during week; since they now require no preparation, you’ll be more likely to reach for carrot sticks and less likely to reach for more processed convenience foods. Your own frozen vegetables make a delicious side dish in a snap. Voila! Now you have your own frozen dinners (or lunches, or snacks) with much healthier contents.
Weight Control Services is a site dedicated to providing current health informatiion to the public. All information is provided as a starting point or a "nudge" for the person reading or visiting the site. Please visit or call your health care professional for any and all medical questions.