In my last blog post, I talked about mindful eating and how it can be a great tool for making slight changes to your daily food choices – no diets necessary. Below I share some of my favourite tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy weight without being on a diet.
- Try a smaller plate: You’ve heard it from your mom while growing up, “finish your plate!” and we as North Americans are usually programmed to eat what is put in front of us, feeling full only when we have cleaned our plates. Research from Cornell University has shown that this ideal holds true regardless of plate size! So if you want to shave off some unnecessary Calories, try eating meals on smaller dishes. You’ll still feel full after your meal when you’ve eaten less. Amazing!
- It’s not a race to finish your plate: When we eat in social settings, we are more likely to consume more food! Don’t inhale your food – after all, eating slower leaves more time for great conversation, right? Pace yourself with the slowest eater at the table and you will most likely end up eating less because you will allow time for your brain to register that you are full before you overeat!
- Fill half your plate with vegetables: Vegetables truly are the superheroes of maintaining a healthy weight. High in micronutrients, low in fat and calories, and a source of dietary fibre, vegetables fill you up without weighing you down! Aim to fill half of your plate with vegetables at every meal and your figure will thank you! There are also so many ways to cook vegetables that you’ll never get bored; have fun and experiment.
- Watch portion sizes: I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “everything in moderation” hundreds of times throughout your life, but it is one of the easiest tricks to enjoy your favourite foods without expanding your waistline. Portion meals out onto your plate before you begin eating. This is especially important for snacking! Portion out a single serving and put the bag or container away to discourage you from devouring the whole container!
- The dangers of drinking your Calories: Lets be real, warm specialty lattes have a special place in my heart. But some of these fancy lattes and coffee beverages can contain over 400 Calories! More often than not, we don’t compensate for this by eating less, leading to weight gain. Instead, try drinking regular coffee with a bit of milk and some honey for sweetness, and add a dash of cinnamon to spice things up. Save those lattes with whip cream and chocolate shavings as a special treat, not an everyday indulgence.
- Super Snack Swaps: Eating to maintain a healthy weight doesn’t mean that you have to give up the foods you love. Instead, experiment with healthy swaps! Love chips and dip? Try chopped veggies (like carrots and peppers) with hummus to get that same satisfying crunch. There are also a lot of healthy substitutions you can use in baking to make your favourite treats a little better for you. Applesauce, Greek yogurt, and avocados can easily be swapped into recipes with minimal differences in taste and texture.
- Track your activity: Feel like you might be getting off track? There are lots of great diet tracking apps that can help you chart your progress and see where you can make improvements to maintain your weight. Apps such as MyFitnessPal allow you to record what you eat at meals so you can keep track of your daily intake. Dietitians of Canada has also developed a great app where you can record your daily physical activity and meals, as well as plan future meals and browse recipes.