|Diet Principle #5: Create New Habits|
Have you ever noticed how often you eat the same foods? For most of us, 20 or so different foods comprise 90% of our meals over the course of a week. We then repeat the same 20 foods week after week. You may modify preparation and mix combinations, but tend to rely on a small number of foods. Creating new habits really means just selecting a handful of healthy new foods and re-organizing your meals using these new choices. You don't need to develop hundreds or thousands of new gourmet recipes in order to enjoy your new diet program. Choose 10–20 basic dishes you enjoy to provide the basis for your broader diet. Here's some other new "habits":
* Eat vegetables, vegetables, and more vegetables. Focus on vegetables over and above all other food sources. Take advantage of the vast variety and versatility of vegetables as the basis of your nutrition program. Virtually all plant-based food sources are beneficial. Among the rare exceptions are white potatoes and corn (high glycemic index). Plant-based foods should be the center of every meal , rather than meat. This way, side-dishes, even if not ideal foods, occupy less of your overall intake. For instance, make the main meal vegetarian chile with tomato sauce, beans, and other vegetables, along with a salad. On the side have a low-fat cheese burrito - while it may have some saturated fat and refined flour, it occupies less of your overall meal.
* Eat vegetables first and eat them in unlimited quantities. Seconds, thirds—as long as it's healthy vegetables, eat them in unrestricted quantities and fill up on them before you move on to anything else. This leaves less room to indulge in other foods.
* Treat breads and other flour-based products as desserts, rather than staples. Eat them sparingly and only after you've eaten more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits and lean proteins.
* Substitute fish for other meats whenever possible (for the omega-3 fatty acid content).
* Use low or non-fat toppings and condiments—mustard, ketchup, horseradish, salsa, wasabi sauces. Not mayonnaise, cheese sauces, gravies, etc. If you use oil-based condiments, make sure they are made with canola, flaxseed, or olive oils. Avoid non-fat/low-fat salad dressings made with high-fructose corn syrup.
* Snack on raw almonds, walnuts, and pecans as healthy, filling, low glycemic index foods that lower LDL and triglycerides, prevent heart attack, and are very filling.
* Do your grocery shopping in the outer aisles of the store, where you find produce and dairy products. You'll avoid the temptations of the processed, high-glycemic index foods in the center aisles. If you're just starting to re-design your diet, you may spend a lot of time reading labels and experimenting with new foods and methods of preparation. But commit yourself to a few months of effort and you'll find that eating healthy will become second-nature.