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Helpful Tips - Eat Wisely

Try using these five (5) Strategies for Eating Wisely:

Strategy 1: Be Flexible!

Go ahead and balance what you eat and the physical activity you do over several days. No need to worry about just one meal or one day. Eating right, while enjoying favorite goodies is a bit of a balancing act but not a tough act to follow when you keep the big picture in mind.

Strategy 2: Be Sensible!

Enjoy all foods, just do not overdo it. Eating is meant to be a pleasure. To enjoy foods that are higher in fat, salt, or sugar, just keep portion sizes sensible.

Strategy 3: Be Realistic!

Make small changes over time in what you eat and the level of activity you do. After all, small steps work better (and are safer) than giant leaps. All good things take time, including achieving a healthful lifestyle. Take it slow and watch those small steps add up to good health.

Strategy 4: Be Active!

Walk the dog, do not just watch the dog walk. Being physically active is a great way to burn off high-calorie treats. Plus, you will look better, feel better, and reduce your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

Strategy 5: Be Adventurous!

Expand your tastes to enjoy a variety of foods. More than 15,000 new food products arrive on supermarket shelves each year, yet many people eat only eight or ten core foods most of the time. Expand your culinary horizons by trying foods you have not had before. You just might find some new favorites.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be challenging, here are some additional tips to help (PDF) keep you focused and motivated (PDF).

When eating out (PDF) choose restaurants that have healthy options. For special occasions (PDF) such as parties and holiday meals go ahead and taste foods in moderation. Just remember how far you have come; do not lose focus. Continue to set goals and keep a food diary. Spice it up (PDF) by adding flavor to your food without adding calories.

Last but NOT least, ask for support from family and friends! One of the most powerful things you can do to change eating behaviors is to get support and encouragement from other people. When others give you lots of encouragement, it makes you feel like you can do anything!! It is really motivating! Tell your family and friends what they can do to help. Let them know that their support is extremely important to you.

Making Healthy Food Choices

Learning how to read a food label (PDF) will allow you to make smart food choices. Use familiar objects to judge a single serving size (PDF). For example, 2 ounces of cheese is about the size of a pair of dice.

Eat small, balanced meals with small healthy snacks (PDF) in between to keep your energy up and your hunger in control.

Always start your day with breakfast and do not skip meals. Avoid empty calories - food or drinks with lots of calories (desserts, candy, and sugar-sweetened beverages like soda) but little nutrition. Use moderation, balance and variety to make healthy food choices (PDF).

Making healthy food choices promotes health and can decrease disability from disease. My HealtheVet provides Journals to help you identify your eating habits and track what and how much you are eating. Do not forget to share this information with your health care provider, who can provide direction for long term behavior change, or assist you with making healthy food choices within the limitation of your condition or illness.

MOVE! Weight Management Program Handouts (PDF)

Yes! Now you are doing it! (PDF)

Motivate! (PDF)

Restaurant Tips (PDF)

Special Occasion Eating (PDF)

Spice It Up! (PDF)

Serving size (PDF)

Snack Attack (PDF)

Healthy food choices (PDF)


Updated January 2012
Clinical Advisory Board Sponsor: Dr. Linda Kinsinger
Clinical Subject Matter Experts: Dr. Kenneth R. Jones, Lynn A. Novorska
Patient Education Subject Matter Expert: Dr. Rose Mary Pries