Four Simple Methods for Healthy Eating

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Managing our weight is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy heart. And, according to Gail Underbakke, nutrition coordinator for UW Health's Preventive Cardiology Program, one way to do that is by controlling our calorie intake.


It's about, "Portions, Portions, Portions," says Underbakke.


There are simple methods to help individuals reduce calorie intake while ensuring there are a variety of satisfying foods with each meal.


Simple Method #1: Don't skip meals and have a healthy snack or two


We've all heard it before, but there's a reason - it's true. Eating three small meals and two healthy snacks helps maintain even blood sugar levels throughout the day so you don't get that 3 pm craving for a candy bar and then overeat at dinner because you're starving.


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Simple Method #2: Reduce the size of your plate


It really is that simple. Reducing your dinner plate from 12" to 10" can make a difference. Because your plate looks fuller with the same amount of food, you will be more satisfied, and you'll automatically reduce your calorie intake.

Simple Method #3: Divvy up your plate


Divide your now 10" dinner plate into quarters and follow this formula:

  • 1/2 of the plate should be filled with low calorie vegetables (anything except corn, peas, potato, sweet potato)
  • 1/4 of the plate should be protein (preferably a lean protein like chicken or fish, or a vegetarian protein like beans or soy )
  • 1/4 of the plate should be starch or high carbohydrate foods (such as brown rice, quinoa, whole grain breads, pasta, potato, corn, peas)

According to Underbakke, that's as complicated as things need to get. If you use that as a guide every time, you can ensure you are getting a healthy mix of the right kinds of foods.


Simple Method #4: Eat foods that will help your heart


When you eat, whether it's a meal or healthy snack, choose low-calorie density foods that are high in fiber and/or water - like vegetables, medium-sized servings of fruits or whole grains - that will fill you up without lots of calories. Vegetarian proteins like kidney beans, lentils and hummus are also excellent choices.


And choose healthier types of fats, like olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocado.