Valerie Early, RD
Most people who lose weight gain it back within two years after their “diet,” often with a few extra, unwanted pounds. Keeping a food diary helps maintain your desired weight, but it can be very difficult to keep a food diary long term. If you learn these practical guidelines you will be able to go out to eat, travel, work, and live while maintaining your weight goals with or without a food diary.
*** If a food has a nutrition label, read it. Do not guess. Be sure to understand the serving size. It may be half the bag, 1 slice, 1 ounce, 12 pieces, etc. This is the most important rule, and it includes milk and yogurt.
*** If you plan to eat out, Google the restaurant first to see if it has a nutrition facts page. Choose a smaller size, eat an appetizer for a meal, share a meal, or bring half home to eat for a meal next day.
*** In all other cases, memorize these general exchange facts that I use and find to be practical and most accurate:
Most grain carbohydrates: ½ cup of rice, pasta, or cereal; 1 slice of bread; ½ regular size bagel; and ¼ cup of quinoa all equal approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates and about 80 calories.
Fruit carbohydrates: ½ cup of fruit; 1 small piece of whole fruit; ½ banana; or about 1 cup of any kind of berry all equal approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates and about 60 calories.
Sugar: make sure most packaged foods and bars contain 6 grams of sugar per serving or less. Fresh fruit doesn’t count in this rule.
Protein: 1 ounce of any lean meat (loin, flank, round, or filet cuts), poultry, tuna, or seafood; 1 whole organic egg; or 2 egg whites all equal approximately 7 grams of protein and about 35-75 calories.
Fats: 1 teaspoon of any kind (butter or oil) both equals approximately 5 grams of fat and about 45 calories.
Knowing a few simple food facts can go a long way towards creating and maintaining your food, weight and hormonal balancing goals!
Source: various health websites
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