Where to Find Nutrition For Weight Loss

In my experience with patients who are trying to lose weight and become healthier, I’ve noticed about 80% of the solution is simply modifying the foods they eat and only about 20% is changing their physical activity. 

So, if you want to make progress and have some quick success, simply educating yourself about which foods to eat and which to generally avoid will start you in the right direction. There are hundreds of ways to get calories out, there is only one way to get them in.

Eat Whole Food

Whole food is best defined as food that has not been processed or refined and is in its original form, free from additives or other artificial substances. Whole food should comprise a large amount of the food you eat on a daily basis. 

Whole food is the complete opposite of processed food as it contains the highest density of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fiber, proteins and healthy fats. By striving to eat foods in their original, unprocessed form you have the best chance of providing your body with everything it needs to function at the highest level.

You can eat very healthy and relatively inexpensively by only buying foods in their original form with no processing and minimal packaging. Foods in their whole food forms are found along the perimeter of the grocery store. These foods include fruits and vegetables, meats and seafood, dairy, and eggs.

Perimeter Shopping

If you imagine your local grocery store, you will realize all of the fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, meat and seafood, dairy and eggs are all along the outside walls, or the perimeter, of the store. In the centre of the store are the aisles which contain mostly highly processed, refined and packaged foods.

Grocery stores have an easier time displaying, cooling, watering and stocking fresh foods along the perimeter of the store compared to the rigid aisle shelves. Processed foods come in cans and boxes which are easier to stack on shelves.

Vegetables and fruits don’t stack very well so they require different displays. Eventually, the fresh food will spoil if it isn’t purchased. If a majority of the foods you buy at the grocery store could eventually spoil or go bad, then you’re on the right track.

In the aisles of the grocery store on the shelves you’ll find the processed and packaged foods which are designed to sit on the shelves for months or even years until they are purchased. These processed foods contain dyes, fillers, sugar, preservatives and other chemicals designed to improve the appearance and taste of food so you’ll want to buy it even though your animal instinct says, “Danger! This looks like poison!”

Just like the “food products” in the aisles, the products in the bakery section and hot food cases in the grocery store are essentially the recently created versions of the processed aisle foods. The chemical bombs including store brand cookies, muffins, cakes as well as the hot food case with “food products” like deep fat fried burritos, cheese sticks and corndogs should be avoided at all costs.

Your goal should be to maximize your shopping time along the perimeter of the store in order to buy fresh foods and minimize the time in the aisles where the processed foods are located.

If you don’t bring processed food products into your home then you won’t be able to eat them, which reduces your exposure to chemical-filled foods and added forms of sugar. 

Try and avoid shopping in the aisles at the grocery store as much as possible. You’ll eat significantly healthier if your habit is to shop around the perimeter of the store. Think about this next time you go to your favourite grocery store. It’ll become remarkably obvious how simple this one simple trick can drastically improve your nutrition. 

However, I do have one question, why are most of the grocery stores in the United States oriented for shoppers to shop in a counter-clockwise direction? Chew on that!

When it comes to your nutrition, I want you to think about what you are really shopping for when you’re in the store. You’re shopping for nutrients, as many as you can buy for as little cost as possible. Most people buy the same 20-25 foods each week out of habit whether for ourselves or for the entire family. 

An easy way to eat much healthier is to replace some less healthy food options with healthier, natural, whole foods. For example, instead of buying sweetened apple juice, buy a bag of apples instead. If you simply modify your weekly shopping list to include healthier, fresh foods, then your habit will be to buy this new, healthier set of foods automatically without any more life-sucking decisions or the exhausting use of willpower. 

The decisions have already been made and there is no reason to reinvent the wheel on a weekly basis. Why not make losing weight and getting healthier as easy, inexpensive and effortless as possible?

Perimeter Stop #1: Vegetables and Fruits

The one undisputed element of any healthy eating plan is to use vegetables and fruits as a large percentage of your daily nutrition intake. These foods have tons of nutrients, fiber, water, and are easily digested. I recommend trying to eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits in as close to their original form as possible. 

There are hundreds of different vegetables and fruits available; all have different vitamin and mineral contents. Try not to get focused on certain nutrient profiles or benefits of one individual food.

The easiest and most effective way to shop for vegetables and fruits is to have as many colors in your shopping cart as possible (1). If you follow this one rule, there are essentially no further decisions that need to be made or thoughts that need to go into shopping for fruits and vegetables. 

Think: lots of colors, in their original form, and then move on. Here are some examples of color groups: Red options include: apples, peppers, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, beets, radishes, pears, strawberries, raspberries, etc.

Yellow options include peppers, corn, bananas, summer squash, beets, and pears, etc.

Orange options include: carrots, oranges, cantaloupe, grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, mangoes, and peaches, etc.

Green options include: avocado, apples, spinach, lettuce, green beans, kale, broccoli, cucumber, asparagus, and arugula, etc.

These are only general color examples of various vegetables and fruits. Many of these have multiple colors and textures. Remember, especially for fruits, it’s best to eat them in their whole form including the skin if possible so you don’t get a big blood sugar spike from eating just the juice. 

Again, eating fiber also helps you feel full which is important to reducing the amount of food eaten in a day. Fiber is the reason we would struggle to eat an entire five-dollar bag of carrots in a week but can eat an entire five-dollar bag of potato chips in about ten minutes! Well, at least I can!

Vegetables are easy to prepare which makes them a great part of any meal even if you don’t know how to cook very well. Strive to buy vegetables in their freshest form as much as you can. Avoid canned vegetables if possible as these are slowly having their nutrients leached out into the canned water or syrup. Frozen, sliced vegetables are a great alternative to eating fresh vegetables if necessary. 

I recommend going to the freezer section of the grocery store and buying the store brand or generic brand of vegetables since these usually only contain the sliced vegetable and some water. Avoid the seasoned or processed forms of vegetables to avoid added preservatives and fillers. Frozen vegetables store well and can be opened and sealed up several times which makes them much more convenient and reduces food waste. Simply steam or microwave them and they’re ready to go.

A great lunch prep trick is to put some frozen, sliced veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots into your Bento-style lunch box and they will stay nearly frozen until lunch time. Simply warm up your lunch in the microwave and they are ready to enjoy!

Easy Health Trick: My family usually has a cutting board set up on our counter so when we want a snack we simply reach into the produce drawer of our refrigerator and slice up veggies or fruit instead of reaching into the freezer for ice cream. 

Our children know to look at the cutting board first and only if there is nothing sliced up do they look in the pantry. It is actually pretty amazing how much more fresh vegetables and fruit we eat as a family using this one trick. Kids and adults on the run easily grab slices of cucumber and don’t even question it! It’s easy to slice up some produce if the cutting board is out; it usually takes a bit of work to get a bowl of ice cream ready to eat!

Many patients ask my opinion about fruit since it is sweet and is sugary. My rule is this: only eat fruit if you have to chew it. In other words, eat the fruit in its natural form such as an apple, slices of orange or berries as the whole fruit.

Don’t drink fruit juice as it is complete garbage. Fruit juice is merely the pure sugar form of fruit with all of the fiber removed and sugar likely added to improve the taste and help it last longer. Honestly, look at the ingredient label of your favorite orange or apple juice. Sure, fruit juice is an ingredient but what about all of the other ingredients which have been added in? It is garbage; all of it. 

I don’t care if the juice is “High in Calcium” or “Pulp Added,” in that case it is healthy-sounding garbage. Even if your juice doesn’t have additives it still spikes your blood sugar and insulin which immediately leaves your body to believe that it needs to store all of the extra “juice” calories as fat. Your body and checking account will thank you when you buy a bag of apples and oranges which will last a week or two compared to a half-gallon of fruit juice that lasts two days.

Perimeter Stop #2: Protein and Fats

The other two important macronutrients are proteins and fats. It’s important to consume enough protein and fats for your body to function properly. However, there is a significant amount of debate regarding the best amount of protein and fats, and what types or sources of protein and fats a person should consume in a day. A person can essentially find research to back up any opinion or point of view.

As perimeter foods, it’s important to have a simple list of the best protein and fat sources to add to your nutrition plan. Since I think a big picture view for your nutrition is the easiest and best, I recommend obtaining protein and some fat from eggs, chicken, beef, pork, and fish as well as beans, peas, lentils, nuts and tofu.

If you don’t mind eating animals and their byproducts, then eat eggs and lean meat sources. If you wish to avoid animal sources for your proteins and fats, then eat the beans, peas, lentils and tofu. See how easy that was? 

You have every right as a human being to decide what the best option is for you and your family. Therefore, choose what works best for you and run with it!

Which oils to include in your nutrition plan is something to consider as well. I recommend using pure avocado, olive, coconut, sesame, and grape seed oils. These can and should be used in cooking prepared dishes and some can be drizzled on salads as dressings instead of processed, chemical and sugar-filled dressings. Also, a little butter goes a long way and allows you to avoid butter substitutes which are processed and generally regarded as no healthier in the big picture.

Perimeter Stop #3: Dairy

Dairy products are another perimeter food worth deciding whether or not to add to your nutrition plan. The risks and benefits of dairy products can be a “cow-sized” source of debate when it comes to the subject of healthy eating. That said, some dairy products including skim milk and cheese can be great sources of protein and fat.

If you consider the big picture, what is mammal milk, like cow and goat, designed to do? It is used to fatten a baby cow or goat up as fast as possible which improves its chance for survival. So, is this milk ultimately good or bad for humans? 

You can easily find research supporting both sides. The original dietary guidelines included dairy products as a critical aspect of good nutrition.

However, many meats, vegetables, fruits and nuts are also excellent sources of calcium including salmon, almonds, kale, beans, broccoli, and figs. So, maybe humans don’t need to be consuming as much dairy as was previously recommended? 

My big picture approach is this: it seems appropriate and reasonable to have some skim or 2% milk occasionally and enjoy cheeses a bit more often. However, if you choose to limit your dairy intake this is likely reasonable as well, especially if you are lactose intolerant or get stomach issues due to dairy products.

Consider the source: I recommend paying attention to where your meats, dairy products and eggs come from. There are many options available however I recommend buying the highest quality meats, eggs and dairy you can afford from the healthiest sources possible to avoid the chemicals and antibiotics the animals may have been exposed to.

Consuming protein and fats from the listed sources you prefer on a daily basis will supply the nutrients your body needs and will complement your intake of fresh vegetables and fruits. The goal is to get away from processed foods, sugar and grains and eat fresh, whole foods including lean meats or beans/lentils, nuts, vegetables, fruits, oils, some dairy and plenty of water. If you do this, I believe you will be completely amazed at how much better you feel and how much better your body functions!

I have also reviewed a lot of dietary supplements, if you are interested, you might check them out.

Warehouse Clubs

A great way to save money on nutrient-dense, healthy food is to become a member of a warehouse club like Costco or Sam’s Club. Buying fruits, vegetables and lean meats in bulk is essentially an unsurpassed method to save tons of cash! Usually these foods are all located on the back wall along the perimeter of the store so they can be easily restocked.

Warehouse clubs are one of the main sources of fresh, bulk ingredients and whole foods that supply local restaurants so you can use this to your advantage and stock up on ingredients for you and your family. These stores also have healthy bulk ingredients like olive oil, avocado oil and other items such as beans and fresh eggs.

Many people say, “yeah, but a membership costs money!” Yep, but the small annual fee is ridiculously low compared to the money you’ll save during an entire year! A great trick is to get a membership and then add relatives or friends onto your membership. 

Simply split the annual membership fee amongst all the cardholders and the price drops drastically! For warehouse clubs, make a list of the main foods you use, buy them in bulk and then split the food and cost.

This way, you’re getting these foods at the best price and you aren’t wasting food by having some of it spoil before it gets used. Some, if not most, of your friends and neighbors have the same challenge of using larger amounts of food when they buy in bulk. Plan ahead and everyone can benefit by splitting up large packages of various items.

A word of warning, avoid going to these stores when they have “sample days.” The samples are never slices of a fresh apple or a handful of green snap peas; they are always heavily processed foods which usually cost much more than their whole food counterparts. There is a reason they need to give out free samples, if you ever really looked at the ingredient list you’d never buy them. They give you samples so you taste it first and then have your brain override

your common sense and end up buying it. Be smart.

Local Farmers and Ranchers

Now, more than ever, we are realizing the critical importance of local farmers and ranchers who are able to bring freshly harvested fruits, vegetables and meats to our local markets or farmer’s markets. These health-conscious families understand the critical role our food contributes to our health as a community and society. 

As our society has unfortunately changed to a more convenience and processed food lifestyle, we have almost lost touch with our local farmers and ranchers who have faithfully served our communities for generations. 

They were the original source of fresh produce and meats and still serve their neighbors and communities to this day. I encourage you to make an effort to go visit your local farmers and ranchers who have stands either at their property or at the local farmer’s market. It’s an awesome experience and helping your neighbours helps you as well.

Many farmers and ranchers will often sell their organic, grass-fed livestock directly to customers. You can buy a third, half or full beef or pork directly from the rancher and have it delivered after it has been butchered and wrapped. 

All it takes is a small, efficient freezer and you’ll have organic meat for a year! Their offerings are very reasonably priced and generally less expensive than most grocery chains. By supporting farmers and ranchers you are supporting your community and neighbours. Most importantly, you’ll know exactly where your meat came from and can rest easy knowing it wasn’t processed, mixed with fillers or dyed for color.

If you live in a medium to large city and this concept seems strange to you, feel free to go visit some of the farmers markets in the rural areas where some of the vendors can point you in the right direction. 

Purchasing meat this way has been in existence as long as humans have been forming communities and co-ops. I truly enjoy visiting with local farmers and ranchers to see which crops are in season or livestock that might be available for me to buy in order to provide my family with nutrient-dense food. By supporting our local farmers and ranchers we are insuring a healthy future for our future generations.

Another great source of whole, fresh food can be grown in your own local garden. More and more urban garden areas are being formed each year in cities and neighborhoods. Growing your own garden vegetables and fruit is a neat way to learn more about the food you eat. 

Gardening is incredibly rewarding especially if you have children who can learn important lessons and have a sense of responsibility for their garden, too. It takes some planning and organization but the results taste great! Simply go online and search for phrases such as “starting a garden” or “how to start a garden” and you’ll be able to get started right now!

Ultimately, by maximizing the combination of perimeter shopping, buying from local farmers and ranchers, or maybe having your own garden, you’ll be eating foods in their original, unaltered states which will automatically allow you to eat much healthier and save money.

Organic or Not-Organic, That is The Question

Another very common question I get concerning how to eat healthier and not spend as much shopping is whether or not to buy only organic foods. 

The goal is to reduce the amount of dangerous and unhealthy chemicals you are consuming. This is always a controversial conversation but I think it comes down to a couple main issues. 

The first point I would like to make is if you are currently consuming lots of processed, prepackaged foods then you are consuming TONS of chemicals, preservatives, additives and dyes as ingredients in the processed foods. 

In addition, you are consuming all kinds of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides used on the various ingredients while they were growing before they ever even made it into the processed food. Many of the ingredients in processed foods were either produced in a chemical facility or grown in fields without organic methods so you’re already getting exposed to a significant amount of the bad stuff when eating processed foods.

As you are modifying your shopping and eating habits as part of your nutritional plan, you need to realize that by changing to more whole, naturally grown food, you are already likely getting a significant reduction in the number of dangerous chemicals you are consuming, even if you don’t buy organically grown foods. 

So, the choice of whether to eat only organic really comes down to the issue of cost. Organic food is expensive and often times spoils more quickly due to the lack of preservatives present in and on the food.

I recommend not buying organic foods as you change your nutrition plan as the high cost creates a negative mental feeling when grocery shopping. 

I recommend avoiding all organic and buying regular whole, natural foods initially. Once you’ve made these changes to your nutrition plan, then you can decide if you want to change over to all organic versions of these foods. After a decent length of time eating healthier and increasing your activity, you’ll likely have a surplus of extra cash you’ve saved by not wasting it on restaurants, medications, health care bills since you’re now healthier! Use this extra cash on buying organic if you want! Cha-ching!

Healthy Tip: Make sure you wash your vegetables and fruits to get off as many chemicals as possible. This old saying easily explains this principle: the solution to pollution is dilution. Aggressively rinsing and sometimes brushing the outside of fresh foods will remove chemicals and dirt from the harvest process.

Counting Calories

Whether or not you choose to count calories is up to you. Most people find it labor intensive and time consuming. Most people don’t make the time to balance their bank accounts so how many people are going to keep track of every calorie, every day? Not many. 

I personally don’t recommend counting calories because I don’t think it provides very much value for most people unless you have an analytical mind and like number crunching. The reason I don’t generally recommend that people count calories is because it is not really the calories which seem to matter as much as the quality of the calories.

For example, 200 calories of a candy bar versus 200 calories of a green pepper are metabolized very differently and affect the health of your body very differently. When the pure sugar of candy enters your system, it causes an enormous spike in both your blood sugar and the fat-storage hormone insulin.

The spike in insulin causes your body to try and store those calories as fat, which is NOT what you want. And, your hunger centre will be stimulated and you’ll feel hungry again within minutes to an hour. This is why most people graze or eat up to six meals during the day. By eating so many carbs, you’re telling your body it’s starving and to store fat all at the same time. This makes us eat more since we’re constantly hungry.

Compare this to the 200 calories of green pepper which does not cause a large spike in blood sugar and insulin and therefore doesn’t prompt your body to try and store it as fat. This reduces weight gain, which IS what you want. Also, the vegetable has a lot of fiber which is great for your digestive system. And, if you measure out 200 calories of green pepper, you’ll realize it is A LOT of green pepper and goes a long way compared to the speck of candy for the same amount of calories.

If you are going to eat 200 calories, wouldn’t you rather eat the version which allows you to eat more, feel better, digest better, and not promote putting more fat on your body?

This is why I really don’t care about the number of calories you consume; what I care about is where you get the calories from.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the calories in/calories out theory as well as the benefits of calculating your Basal Metabolic Rate. But in the big picture, it takes a lot of time to add up calories each and every day. 

Sure, many people say that focusing on the calories you consume helps you examine and realize which foods you are eating. There is no doubt this can be helpful but whether someone actually does it or not is the deciding factor.

Also, this is another common form of adding an additional habit to another habit, or habit stacking, which can end up sabotaging your good intentions. In other words, if you require yourself to track every calorie every time you eat then you will end up spending a lot of unnecessary time focusing on food which can create a bad cycle. 

If you buy healthy foods and only have these available, you won’t have to worry about what you’re eating since you already know and have planned ahead to set yourself up for success! If you see the forest for the trees you’ll have a lot better chance at reaching your goals.

Daily Multivitamin

One of the best habits to have regarding your daily nutrition is to take a high quality, daily multivitamin. This is the least costly habit which yields some of the highest nutritional benefits available. Don’t waste your money on the gummy ones as it is another example of companies adding sugar and chemicals to a normally healthy product.

The best time to take multivitamins is in the evening or before bed. Think about it, if you are eating well during the day then your body is absorbing all of the vitamins and minerals from the healthy food you are eating so you won’t be able to absorb much more. 

Since you aren’t eating and are fasting while you sleep, taking your multivitamin at night will increase the chance it gets absorbed and can contribute to your overall health. Again, try to find a higher quality daily multivitamin as there are many low-quality ones with lots of useless fillers and various forms of vitamins that have a low ability to be absorbed by your body. 

Ask a pharmacist about which brands or types they recommend. Pharmacists are literally experts in medications and are able to offer their expertise to the general public on pretty much any medication or vitamin question. 

We often see pharmacists busy behind the counter or glass working on certain prescriptions however every pharmacist I know genuinely enjoys educating and helping people in their effort to become healthier.

Powders, Pills and Promises

Supplements have become a ridiculously enormous industry in the United States alone. It’s difficult to tell exactly how much since there are weak regulations on what is considered a supplement but Americans likely spend around $30-35 BILLION of their hard-earned dollars per year. This is completely ridiculous!

Among these are mostly weight loss pills, pharmaceuticals, and natural supplements. They are said to assist in weight loss, or at least make weight loss easier when used in conjunction with other methods.

It should be noted that pills or supplements only work when combined with a healthy weight-loss diet. Supplements are ineffective on their own and are hardly a solution to obesity. 

Besides, it’s always best to talk with your doctor before you start taking a supplement, especially if you already take medications, have health concerns or are pregnant.

Generally, supplements work through one or more of the following mechanisms:

  • Reduces appetite, making you feel fuller so that you consume fewer calories
  • Reduces the absorption of nutrients, such as fat, causing you to consume fewer calories
  • Burn more calories by increasing fat burning

Resurge is one of the most popular weight loss supplements that promise to help you shed pounds and sleep better. Because studies have shown that sleep deprivation is associated with deficiencies of growth hormone and elevated levels of cortisol, both of which contribute to obesity.

While other supplements promote nutritional factors, meal replacement forms, appetite suppression, or similar effects, Resurge boosts your body’s metabolism by increasing your core temperature. However, before making any purchases, you might want to read some Resurge reviews.

Apart from that, there are other supplements such as protein powders, herbal supplements and weightlifting products that offer to replace or add something that is missing and “supplement” your nutrition plan so you can function at a higher level. I have patients who can barely afford their utility bills but always tell me which new protein supplement they bought. I always have to ask, “Do you even know if you are low on protein?” They never know how to answer because it never occurs to many people that they likely don’t need to supplement a single nutrient.

Please think about it like this: if you are eating a healthy mix of whole, fresh foods including meats, vegetables, fruit, some dairy and a quality multivitamin then you are likely getting all the nutrients including protein, minerals, and vitamins you will ever need. Supplements aren’t necessary unless you are eating poor quality, processed food that has had all of the nutrients removed!

The food and supplement industries have created a clever and high-profit business model: remove nutrients from healthy, whole food which results in expensive, processed food and then sell a version of these nutrients back to you in the form of an expensive, questionable supplement! 

It’s brilliant and unfortunately, we’re buying it! Also, the supplement industry is so poorly monitored these products can contain ingredients that could be dangerous to adults, children and pregnant women. I see patients every year who are unknowingly consuming toxic levels of vitamin D and various herbal supplements believing they are doing the right thing.

Protein supplements have become very popular over the past decade as well. High protein intake over a short period of time can be really tough on your kidneys. Taking protein supplements above and beyond a healthy consumption of lean meat is likely adding too much protein to your nutrition plan. 

If you are wondering if you even need more protein you can always ask your primary care provider who can order a simple blood test.

In conclusion, I’m simply asking you to be wise and really think about why you are taking a supplement and if you even truly need it. One of my favourite human metabolism professors used to joke that supplements are simply expensive urine.

If you’re eating healthy and you already absorb all the nutrients you need, then any additional nutrients or supplements are simply sent out with the waste and end up being just that, a waste.

Increase Fiber

An easy way to decrease the amount of low quality processed foods while increasing your intake of healthy foods is to increase your daily fiber intake.

Whole foods such as vegetables and fruits naturally contain a high amount of fibre when eaten with their skins still attached and in their whole form. Strive to increase your consumption of foods such as apples, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and green salads. Fibre is also known to help decrease the risk of some types of cancers.

If you find yourself grazing or snacking throughout the day, then you will definitely benefit from packing fibre-filled foods to snack on. 

Simply slice up a couple apples, a handful of snap peas, or make some carrot sticks and you’ll feel full throughout the day and won’t even be interested in the office snack machine or candy jar. 

Simple tricks like packing some sliced fruit and vegetables can be a game-changer if you find yourself pulled away from your work duties due to hunger throughout the day. 

Most workplaces have employee lunchrooms with refrigerators to store your lunch. My trick is to slice up a bunch of raw carrot sticks, green peppers, and celery sticks in a reusable, gallon-size Ziploc. I also put some apple and cucumber slices in another Ziploc and take them to the office at the beginning of the week. This way, I don’t have to pack this each night for the next day which saves a lot of time. 

As long as you seal it between uses it will easily last all week. I generally rinse and reuse the plastic bags, which saves money and also saves space in the landfill for the sugar-filled processed foods you just removed from your cupboards…hint, hint. 

Also, a bunch of bananas, walnuts, pecans, peanuts and dried fruit easily pack and store at the office for snacks. Trail mix is a great option, too. Using these tricks you’ll save time, money and be more productive whether you work for a boss or yourself as your own boss!

Another huge benefit of consuming fruit and vegetables is their water content. These foods will help you stay hydrated by providing natural water intake. Some people really have a tough time staying hydrated so this is a great method to use if this applies to you. If you fill your stomach with nutritious foods you won’t feel the need to fill it with junk food.

Back in the day we used to eat a salad before having the main course and coincidentally we didn’t have the same rates of obesity and diabetes as we do now. Consider restarting this tradition since it’s a healthy way to feel full more quickly and reduce the amount of the calorie-dense main course you’ll eat. 

You can easily buy spinach, lettuce, peppers, and olives in bulk at your local warehouse store. These ingredients will create a great salad to have before or part of your lunch and dinner. It’s easy to eat your greens when you’re hungry before main meals. Make it a habit and it’ll feel really strange not having a fresh salad before your main course!

Learn How to Cook For Free

The lack of cooking knowledge has prevented younger generations from inexpensively eating well. Purchasing bulk foods and cooking at home is probably the number one way to save money and be healthier. These days I recommend going online to find fun, free videos to learn how to cook better. (Of course there are a lot of cooking shows on cable TV these days but who would waste their money or time watching cable TV in the first place.)

There are hundreds of cookbooks available in print and online to learn recipes and methods for low carb or no carb cooking. Learn easily from the professionals and you’ll be cooking healthier in no time! Consider visiting your local library for a FREE library card and access to thousands of FREE cookbooks and food magazines!

YouTube has tons of free cooking videos which help you learn pretty much any technique or method of cooking you could ever imagine. Cook along with the videos and improve your skills without spending a dime on books or lessons! Getting healthy and losing weight doesn’t have to cost you anything, in fact, you’ll save money!

You can make learning to cook a fun social event with friends or family as well. If you’re learning together, simply divide the grocery list up and have each person bring certain ingredients for a great dish! Gather at someone’s home and either make the dish together or if one of you knows how to do it, have them demonstrate and teach you how to make it! This fun evening is inexpensive, social, and gives you a new skill!

Another great way to learn how to cook is to have a group of friends who go from home to home in an evening with each location responsible for making a different course of the meal! This is really a blast if you all live within biking distance of one another. 

At the first home, the host may show everyone how they have learned to make a specific, fresh salad. At the second home, you might learn how to cook the main course. At another home you can learn how to make a low carb, low sugar dessert to end the night! It’s a great way to spend an evening with friends and also helps build friendships while learning new skills together!

Get a Drink of Water

Drinking a full glass of water before each meal is a great way to feel full earlier and also stay hydrated. Your stomach has pressure sensors that tell you when you’re full. By starting out your meal with a glass of water, this provides a zero-calorie head start and when you do eat, you’ll feel full earlier and won’t be able to eat as much as you might otherwise. 

Plus, you get the added benefit of staying hydrated which allows your body to function at an

optimal level. The salad plates made by almost every dinnerware manufacturer are the ideal size plate for most people. I recommend avoiding the large size plates found in dinnerware sets. They are simply too large to eat meals on consistently and will absolutely cause you to overeat.

Smaller Plate

Many weight-loss experts recommend using a smaller plate at meals. This has proven to be an easy way to monitor the amount of food you eat and provides a psychological advantage to you. Your brain feels like it is eating a lot when your meal fills your plate. So, if the plate is smaller you are consuming less food. Eating lean meats combined with fresh vegetables can quickly fill up a plate.

An awesome tip for packing your lunch is to have a specific size lunch container which won’t allow you to pack too much extra food into it. I’m a big fan of some of the Bento boxes available online. 

Using one of these you’ll be able to set your portion sizes very easily. I bought a set of five lunch containers with lids online for about $10 and have used them every day for over two years! Don’t set yourself up for failure by packing too much food and feeling tempted to eat it all.

Share a Meal with Someone

If you do end up visiting a restaurant, consider ordering a regular meal but splitting it in half so you get the pleasure of dining out with less cost and less food intake. 

Most importantly, you get the luxury of spending some quality time with a friend or family member! A while back there was a book written about this principle and the benefits of making your lunch time productive to nurture relationships while enjoying some healthy food. 

The old adage of “breaking bread” with someone really does help a relationship grow. Many restaurants will allow anyone to order off the “seniors” menu which is great since these are always smaller portions, too.

Food Dependence

Many people eat for comfort and to avoid being social. Consider speaking to your primary care provider if there are mental, emotional, and social issues you feel you are trying to solve by eating. 

This is VERY common and is often overlooked in our society. Many people eat when they are bored as well which can be a big source of extra eating and ultimately weight gain. Many patients I work with have realized they were only eating most of their extra meals and snacks to soothe emotional and traumatic psychological wounds instead of dealing with them. 

If you feel like you are an emotional eater which is limiting your ability to reach your goals, consider finding a counselor through your work, church or community center. A skilled counselor is incredibly helpful to assist you in evaluating your psychological dependence on food and can help improve your relationship with food and help reach your goals. Never feel embarrassed or too proud to seek assistance from someone more knowledgeable when it comes to your mental and physical health. 

The act of bravery is to be supported and commended and should never be a negative feeling. Again, this is much more common than people think so know you are not alone if this applies to you.

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