Healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard.

Losing weight doesn’t have to be hard, practice these easy fundamentals:

  • Spread servings throughout the day. Include at least one serving from most food groups at each meal.
  • If you’re hungry, eat! Starving yourself can be counterproductive, as it can set you up for overeating later.
  • Make pleasure a priority. Losing weight may require you to cut back on some of your favorite foods, but don’t sacrifice enjoyment. Be sure to include the flavors, colors and textures you love.
  • Plan by the week. It’s more efficient than day by day. That way, you can also be sure to have the right foods on hand.
  • Eat ‘real’ food. Limit or even avoid processed foods, such as many canned and most boxed and convenience foods. Processed foods often include unwanted fat, sugar, calories and salt — as opposed to whole foods, including most frozen fruit and vegetables, which haven’t been changed from their natural state and are loaded with nutrients.
  • Count ‘add-ons’ in servings. Don’t forget to include anything you put on or add to your food — such as dressings and dips for vegetables and fruits, as well as cream, milk or sugar in coffee or tea.
  • Be flexible with yourself. Every food doesn’t have to be a source of excellent nutrition. The point is to choose foods that promote good health and are good calorie bargains most of the time.
  • Look for shortcuts. Buy pre-cut veggies and fruits, and shredded low-fat cheese for quick, healthy meals.
  • Tomorrow is another day. If you didn’t get enough veggies Monday, add extra Tuesday and Wednesday. Try not to get stuck on exact servings each day.
  • Beverages — including alcohol — count. When considering calories, don’t forget to count the liquid form. Although some beverages, such as juice and milk, contain important nutrients, they also have a lot of calories. Water is still the best choice when it comes to satisfying thirst and cutting down on the urge to snack.

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