1. Keep track of everything you eat and drink. Write it down as soon as you swallow so you don't forget! Include the type of food or beverage, amount, time, physical feeling of hunger vs. fullness, etc.
2. Base meals around VEGETABLES and WHOLE GRAIN foods, incorporating them into main dishes. Eat at least one meatless lunch and dinner each week to reduce saturated fat, increase fiber, and introduce your taste buds to new flavors. Whenever you normally eat white or "enriched" bread, cereal, rice or pasta; substitute it with a whole grain version.
3. Buy plenty of FRESH FRUITS and VEGETABLES to keep on hand, wash and chop them (if applicable) ASAP, and snack on them ANYTIME! Eat at least 2 servings of fresh fruits and 3 servings of vegetables each day.
4. Eat throughout the day rather than "saving" your appetite for a huge meal. Your body can only use so much fuel at a time, so extra will more likely be stored as fat! Smaller, more frequent meals (every 3-5 hours) will help keep your energy level more consistent. Start listening to your body's signals regarding hunger and fullness!
5. Keep "junk food" and "trigger" foods out of the house. Make a special trip to the store when you MUST have it, and savor it.
6. Include good sources of protein with your meals: chicken, fish, shellfish, legumes, eggs, dairy products, soy products, and lean meats.
7. Use low fat, fat free and lean dairy and animal products. High fat animal products tend to have a lot of saturated fat, which promotes high blood cholesterol levels.
8. Choose calories you can chew - that means drinking more water instead of juice, sports drinks, regular soda, alcohol, and specialty coffees.
9. Shut off the TV, put down the book or newspaper, and turn off the computer whenever you eat - this includes meals and snacks. People tend to eat larger portions when snacking in front of the tube, and the foods chosen are often high in fat, sugar and calories. What's more, when you associate eating with particular activities, you may automatically look for something to eat when engaging in those activities, regardless of hunger.
10. Plan ahead for meals and snacks, have foods on hand to prepare them, and pack them "to go" if necessary. If you wait until you're really hungry, there may not be many healthy choices around to choose from.