HANCOCK - Making the New Year's resolution to lose weight is one thing. Managing to keep it off is another.
But there are numerous things people can do in their everyday eating habits that can bring that goal closer to reality, dietitians say.
One step is anticipating busy times in the schedule that might drive people to faster, less nutritious alternatives.
Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette
Kelsae Eliszewski, a registered dietitian at Portage Health, holds a plate with sample portion sizes at the hospital March 13. Monitoring servings is one way to keep weight off, she said.
"If you know you have a doctor's appointment after work and you can't get dinner, bring a healthy snack. you could do anything instead of stopping at a fast food (restaurant) - have some fruit with you, veggies and dip, or a sandwich," said Portage Health registered dietitian Kelsae Eliszewski.
When people have downtime, they can also avoid the drive-through by planning out their snacks for the week, said Portage Health clinical dietitian Lexie Weber.
How often people eat also plays a part in good decision-making. Weber advises not to go more than four or five hours without eating.
"By eating every four or five hours, we can help stave off hunger, as well as overeating when we do sit down to eat a meal," she said.
People should also have fruits and vegetables - five servings a day, Eliszewski said. They can be incorporated into a number of foods people are already eating: dried fruit in oatmeal, vegetables in an omelet or pasta dishes, or apples and pears with pork chops.
Eliszewski said people should choose more lean meats (chicken, fish, turkey, sirloin), low-fat dairy products and whole-grain foods.
"It's higher in fiber and other nutrients that help you feel fuller, so you're more satisfied when you're eating a whole-grain sandwich versus a white-bread sandwich," she said.
It takes 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it's full. To help feel fuller, people should have a glass of water before they begin eating, and then also drink water with their meal to feel fuller, Weber said. To avoid overeating, people can also wait 10 minutes after their first course.
"If you're still hungry after those 10 minutes, go ahead and grab those seconds," Weber said.
Unhealthy snacks can be OK in moderation, but people should stick to the recommended portions, Weber said. Weber advised people to look at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate system, which replaces the longtime food pyramid with a plate showing how much of your diet each food group should take up.
A portion size calling for half a cup is about the size of a baseball, while a serving of meat is palm-sized.
"It shouldn't take up half your plate," Weber said.
Smaller plates, bowls and utensils can also help control portion size.
Calories don't just come from food; much of what people take in during the day can also come from sources such as pop or juices. Instead, Eliszewski recommends non- or low-calorie beverages such as water, tea, coffee or Crystal Light. If people don't like the taste of plain water, they can throw in lemons or cucumbers for added flavor.
Weber said people should also remember to be active. To avoid gaining weight, people should burn more calories than they take in.
"You want it to be a fine balance between what you're eating and the type of exercises and activities that you're being a part of during the day," she said.
While fad diets always have their moments of popularity, Weber said the best approach isn't a diet, but a healthy lifestyle change.
"You ought to do it because you want to, not because you have to do it," she said.