Simple Ways to Alter Dietary Habits

When it comes to physical health, many people are aware that making exercise a part of the daily routine is a good means to getting healthier. However, exercise is only one part of the process. Combining exercise with a healthy diet is the best way to achieve optimal physical health. But a healthy diet doesn't have to mean a full dietary overhaul. Rather, there are ways to alter dietary habits without having to sacrifice favorite foods.

* Pan-fry or saute foods with a nonstick spray or low-calorie butter substitute. Bake or broil instead of frying.

*Replace sugar with substitutes when sweetening foods and beverages.

* Order from the light menus now offered at many restaurants, or purchase low-calorie or reduced-fat products at the grocery store.

* Try a meal plan using "exchange lists" based on foods grouped together according to similar food values. Most exchange lists include several "free" foods: those lower than 20 calories per serving, such as many low-calorie, sugar-free foods and beverages.

* Never skip meals. Eat three to six times a day in smaller portions to keep from getting hungry.

* Practice patience when eating. You don't have to be full at the end of every meal. In fact, eating slowly can help you better determine when it's time to leave the table without feeling stuffed.

* Weigh yourself regularly, but don't put too much stock in the scale, particularly if you're feeling better.

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