Follow these eight rules of eating, and you'll more easily manage your weight and improve your nutrition -- all in one swoop.
1. Eat when you're hungry. And eat often, so you're never famished. But have your last meal at least three hours before bed.
2. Change your plates. Switch to 9-inch plates for meals, not the usual 11- or 13-inch variety. Smaller plates = smaller portions.
3. Eat these every day:
- Nine handfuls, total, of fruits and vegetables
- At least 1 ounce of nuts (a small handful)
- High fiber whole-grain bread or cereal, especially in the morning
4. Eat fish at least 3 times a week, ideally salmon, mahimahi, tilapia, catfish, or flounder.
5. Be a hot tomato. Eat at least 10 tablespoons of cooked tomato products (ketchup, marinara sauce) a week for a healthy dose of the antioxidant lycopene, which can decrease the risk of prostate and other cancers.
6. Avoid these like a hot potato:
- Anything that contains trans and/or saturated fats
- White foods -- white bread, white rice, white pasta, creamy sauces -- white tends to go with foods that are highly processed, high fat, or both
- Products that list simple sugars, including high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), in the first few ingredients; they put your blood sugar on a roller coaster that makes you crave high-calorie foods
7. Before you eat, drink. Have one or two glasses of water before every meal to help fill you up.
8. Take daily:
- Vitamins and minerals that contain at least 800 micrograms of folate, 400 international units of vitamin D, 1,200 milligrams of calcium, and 400 milligrams of magnesium.
- If you don't eat fish, an omega-3 supplement that contains 2 grams of these heart-healthy fatty acids.