Improving your diet today could help lower your risk of heart disease and certain cancers, boost energy and more. Still, many Americans struggle to eat healthfully, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that as many as 67 percent of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese.
Try these five steps to help keep good health on your plate:
Step One: Perfect Portions
Start by focusing on your serving sizes. Portion control can help you maintain a healthy caloric intake (as a rule of thumb, a serving of meat should be no bigger than a deck of cards). Try eating off of smaller plates to help cut portion size and be sure to include whole grain rice or beans in a meal to help you feel full.
Step Two: Switch It Up
Next, swap out less-healthy ingredients for low-fat ones when making your favorite recipes. For instance, plain yogurt makes a tasty sour cream substitute, and cornstarch can often be used in place of eggs as a thickening agent. Or, if sweets are your weakness, indulge with fruits or a fat-free dessert such as frozen yogurt and opt for natural sugar substitutes in your drinks.
Step Three: Don't Say Cheese
Now that you've shelved unhealthy cooking ingredients, consider this fact: The average American eats about 30 pounds of cheese every year, according to the California Milk Advisory Board, and it is considered the No. 1 dietary source of artery-clogging saturated fat in the U.S. If you love cheese but want to be smarter, try a soy-based alternative such as Veggie. It has a great cheese taste and melt without the saturated fat or cholesterol of traditional cheese. These tasty cheese alternatives can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores nationwide.
Step Four: Be Prepared