Wednesday, September 24, 2008

19 Ways to Eat Better, Feel Better

19 Ways to Eat Better, Feel Better

You start off your morning with a mug of coffee. By lunchtime, your stomach is growling and you're off to the nearest burger joint, where you inhale a super-sized meal.

Around 3 p.m., you grab a bag of chips and a soda from the office vending hold you over until dinner. Once you finally stumble through the door, it's well after 6 p.m.

Too exhausted to cook, you pick up the phone and call for a large pizza. Eating straight from the box, you devour three slices...with extra cheese.

It's a frightening scenario, but does this day hit a little too close to home? It's no secret that many of us are guilty of poor eating habits. We hurry from one activity to the next, often forgetting the importance of balanced meals.

When we finally do decide to eat something healthy, we grab a Lean Cuisine and a box of Snackwells, only to combine them into breakfast, lunch and dinner!

What you need is a survival guide to get you through those rough periods when your stomach is growling and the only edible thing within reach is a candy bar.

Kathy Kaehler has your lifeline. The nationally recognized celebrity trainer is full of tips for everyone wanting to follow a healthy lifestyle.

When it comes to quick fixes, Kaehler has been there and done that. As a teen, she relied on diet pills and the bingeing and purging of bulimia to stay thin. She overcame the dangerous dieting habits of youth, but then started starving her body as an adult!

The fact that she was slowly killing herself hit home hard the day Kaehler suffered a serious seizure.

It was a harsh lesson that set the fitness expert straight and put her on a mission to help others see the light.

Kaehler now makes a living whipping people into shape the right way. Her more famous clients include Julia Roberts, Cindy Crawford, Michelle Pfeiffer and Drew Barrymore.

Kaehler's motto: It's never too late or too early to learn how to achieve good health.

The 38-year-old mom of three -- she has an 18-month-old toddler and 5-year-old twins -- leads by example. Kaehler has gotten her children interested in nutrition by getting them involved in the cooking process.

But nobody is perfect. There are nights at the Kaehler home where fast food is the main course...and that's OK. She says whether or not you have children, there are going to be times when you stray from your healthy eating program.

Just take it in stride, she advises.

"Life presents itself differently every single day," she says. "We all know very well that you can't predict everything. You can try and stay true to your priorities. If your priorities are to eat healthy, try and do everything on the 90/10 principle.

"Ninety percent of the time you follow the guidelines and eat food from the four basic food groups. The other 10 percent is open for what life brings us: birthdays, weddings, depression, PMS. Those kinds of things you have to allow. Then, tell yourself it was your 10 percent. Go back and start again."

Having trouble sticking to your meal plan? Then it's time to dig into Kaehler's proven eating tips. They'll work just as well for you as they will for your children.

1. Don't skip breakfast. Make yourself sit down, then try a bowl of cereal with low-fat milk, a glass of juice and a piece of whole-wheat toast with a fruit spread. Don't be surprised when you feel more energized throughout the day. If you're not hungry in the morning, you will be if you stop eating three hours before you go to bed.

2. Eat a serving of something that is red and orange. Eating "colors" means you're getting lots of different kinds of minerals and vitamins. A few good selections: a handful of red grapes, strawberries, raspberries, an orange, a sweet potato, a cup of cantaloupe and sliced tomatoes.

3. When the urge strikes to snack, stop and ask yourself whether you're really hungry.

4. Get three servings of calcium a day. This is a must. Some good choices include the following: skim or low-fat milk, yogurt, cottage cheese or orange juice fortified with calcium.

5. Drink lots of water throughout the day. Pour yourself eight to 10 glasses a day. Place water bottles throughout the house -- key on the areas where you know you will be spending time (such as the living room and your bedroom

6. With two of your meals, add something green. Green provides you with different vitamins that purple, red and orange don't. Eat broccoli, green beans, asparagus, green peppers or spinach.

7. When you snack, shoot for lower-fat choices like pretzels, air-popped popcorn, sorbet, frozen fruit bars, pita chips with salsa, an English muffin with fruit spread, raisins or fruit.

8. If you drink diet soda, make a deal with yourself. Before you have a can or cup, you must drink two 8-ounce glasses of water.

9. If you are a fast-food junkie and eat tacos, fries, chili dogs, or doughnuts at least once a day, start cutting back one day a week. Replace your usual choice with healthier food. After a week, cut back two days and eat at a healthier place. Continue until you're down to one day of junk food a week. Better yet, make it one day a month.

10. Walk around the block before you eat a snack. By the time you've finished your walk, you may no longer want the snack.

11. If you're at a restaurant, order what you want, but ask that it be broiled or grilled. If it's something very high in fat and calories, ask for an appetizer size.

12. Try eating a well-balanced breakfast, make lunch your main meal of the day and have a small dinner. If the lunch choice offered at school (or work) doesn't balance out your nutritional needs, pack your own lunch.

13. Eat until you're no longer hungry... NOT until you're full.

14. Keep a bowl of cut-up vegetables and fruits in the refrigerator for snacking. This way you're sure to get several servings of fruit and vegetables a day.

15. Double up on fresh fruit. Most of us only get half of what we need.

16. Keep chips and fatty treats out of the house.

17. It only takes 75 to 100 calories to satisfy your sweet tooth. So take your favorite candy bar, cut it up into thirds, freeze two pieces and eat the third. This way you have enough left to counter your next two sweet attacks.

18. Don't fall for the fat-free sweets frenzy. Just because something is fat free doesn't mean it's not loaded with sugar calories.

19. Take a multivitamin daily. It's not a substitute for good food, but it may help give you extra protection during the cold and flu season.

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