Millions of Americans follow the latest fad diets to lose weight. The problem is, most of these diets don’t provide lasting results, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.
In addition, many of these diets can cause health problems or physical discomfort.
"Instead of focusing on weight loss, concentrate on eating healthfully and exercising regularly," Reames advises, adding, "Healthy eating is key to looking good, feeling great and being your best." Foods provide the essential nutrients and other compounds the body needs for good health.
A healthy eating plan will help you consume a variety of foods to get the nutrients your body needs and maintain a healthy weight. Let your individual needs and preferences determine your personal food choices. Match your food choices to your lifestyle and individual requirements, choosing enough to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Plan meals and snacks using a variety of foods from the food groups: meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts; milk, yogurt and cheese; fruit; vegetables; and grains. Make healthy choices, such as lean meat, low-fat or nonfat dairy products, whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Choose a variety of foods from each group based on flavor, texture and colors.
"Choosing the right balance of foods helps you get the right combination of nutrients," Reames says, adding, "Look at the big picture when selecting foods; it’s what you eat over several days, not just one meal or day that counts. You can enjoy all your favorite foods, just eat them in moderate amounts."
It’s important to balance your food choices with your physical activities to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. Be sure to enjoy a variety of ways to stay active to feel your best. Make a list of physical activities that fit into your lifestyle and schedule at least one every day.
For information on related nutrition, family and consumer topics, visit the FCS Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com/
Inst/Extension/Departments/fcs/. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.