By Lynn Difley

So you are one of the millions struggling mightily to keep the New Year’s Resolution you made to lose some weight. You are walking every day and trying to stick to your healthy eating plan. Most nutritionists recommend that dieters consume between 1200 and 1800 calories per day, based on our current weight, desired weight and activity level. This amounts to about 300-400 calories for each of the three meals. So let’s talk about the choices we have if we assume that each meal will add up to 300- 400 calories. You will, of course want to get the most bang for your buck, the goal is to be able to eat food that is nutritious and satisfying as well as meet the calorie standards. So let’s take a look at an option for breakfast.

You can have 1 whole-wheat bagel, 3 tablespoons fat free cream cheese, one orange and 10 pineapple chunks all for the cost of 300 calories. This meal provides a sustaining whole grain, vitamin and mineral packed fruits, a protein that will keep your appetite at bay all morning–in short, a meal that will keep you firing on 10 cylinders all morning long. If, however, you stop off at Starbucks and opt for a Blueberry Muffin, you can only have ¾ of the muffin. The whole muffin will take you over the top at 400 calories, 20 grams of fat, and 54 grams of carbohydrates. I don’t think the muffin fragment will keep you satisfied all morning long, as the fruit, whole grain and cream cheese breakfast will do.

How about your lunch? You have 350 calories to spend for your midday meal. You want something that will keep you feeling energetic and yet not stuffed, and provide energy for the afternoon activities. If you’re a pizza fan, you can have a lean cuisine spinach and mushroom pizza, accompanied by a green salad with low cal dressing, for only 350 calories, or you can have 1/2 slice of Personal Pan Pizza Italian Sausage pizza. Yes that’s one half of a slice, not one half of a pizza. The whole slice will set you back 740 calories.
If you’re typical, you enjoy a hearty dinner, or at least more generous than the other meals. If you combine a lower calorie protein and lots of vegetables, your plate will be full of nutritious satisfying dinner. On the other hand, eating out can leave you feeling deprived.
Let’s say you pick a lean cuisine glazed turkey tenderloins meal. And add a cup of steamed green beans and a whole-wheat dinner roll. Your plate is full of tasty, satisfying foods. On the other hand, if you go to Marie Callendar and decide to have Chicken Pot Pie, you can only have 1/3 of the pie. The whole pie will cost you 1060 calories, 62 of them fat, and that’s almost the whole day’s allowance. I doubt you will leave the table feeling full and satisfied as you would with our lean cuisine choice.

It’s plain to see that you can either feast or famine when it comes to meals. Make better choices, such as eating home prepared foods, emphasizing vegetables, lean protein, and grains–and watch calorie content readings like a hawk. You can fill your plate with healthy food choices, feel satisfied and keep energy levels high, while keeping your New Year’s Resolution.

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