The key to dieting is eating smart. That means you are eating for fuel, and giving what your body needs, not just what your tongue wants to taste. It’s also about getting the most nutrients out of the least amount of calories. The smarter you eat, the more satisfied you will feel, the healthier you will be, and the faster you will reach your goal.
Also, you will learn to eat calories when you are hungry and avoid calories when you want to taste food, but you are aren’t really hungry (like after dinner). It’s all about prioritizing food and picking and choosing the correct food for that moment. Simply put, eating smart requires thinking before you eat.
#1 Stick to a Plan
One of the biggest problems in the kitchen is not cooking with rules. It is easy to add a dash of this, and a dollop of that. Before you know it, you have way more calories than you had hoped, and you aren’t getting the calories from the foods you actually need most. I use this simple formula to cook each meal to keep me on track.
Choose 1 item each:
1. Big Portion: Protein (like fish or chicken)
2. Generous Portion: Low-Calorie Carbs (like broccoli)
Limited Portion: High-Calorie Carbs (like potato or rice)
3. Small Portion: FAT (like olive oil, nuts or cheese)
Once I have made my choices, I rely on my cooking style, seasoning and free calorie items (like lemon juice, vinegar, lime juice and herbs) to give me the flavor I want to make the meal come to life.
PFIT TIP: Each meal for a dieter should tally 300-350 calories for women or 400-450 calories for men, with a healthy balance of calories coming from each substrate.
PFIT TIP: Each meal should be a balance of protein, fats and carbs. The fats slow digestion so the food stays with your gut longer. This means you’ll stay fuller longer too. If you are avoiding fat, you can sabotage your diet very quickly because the fat is what gives you energy and helps you to stay full.
#2 Avoid Unnecessary Calories
Avoid high-calorie sauces, creams, dressings and fillers. Instead, learn to season and prepare food better. Cook meats slower and try not to over cook meat so stays tender, juicy and full of flavor. Many people rely on sauces to cover up over cooked tasteless meat. However, lime juice, balsamic vinegar and meat rubs can add a ton of flavor with very little calories. It just requires a little more prep time, but it worth it! PLUS you can eat a LOT more food if you avoid the extra sauces and store bought marinades.
#3 Forget the 4 Course Meal
If you grew up where you always had a meat, 2 sides, bread and dessert, chalk those times up to good memories. Believe me, it’s hard for me too. I feel like I’m not making a good meal unless I have 3 foods to serve – BUT I know I don’t need that so 90% of the time I only serve one meat and one vegetable. The fewer ingredients, the fewer the calories. The more simple my meal, the more slender my waistline. Simple eating, is smart eating – and in the end, I’m just as full!
#4 Weight & Measure
If you are trying to lose weight, you cannot rely o just trying to eat healthy food. You need to know how much of that healthy food you are eating, healthy or not. I know a lot of people who are overweight that brag about how healthy they eat. You can still eat too many calories of healthy food – and 9 times out of 10, people who eat super healthy but aren’t losing weight are eating WAY more calories than they think. Use measuring cups, spoons and food scales to help you manage portions and track calories.