Foods to Increase, Foods to Decrease

Foods to Increase, Foods to Decrease

Even if you haven't developed a weight loss plan, making better food choices throughout the day can lead to improved health. Understanding this simple list of foods to increase and foods to decrease is the first step to adopting eating habits that will help you to lose weight and lower your risk of chronic disease.

Foods to Increase

Fill up on these foods throughout the day to get the nutrients your body needs to lose weight and stay healthy.

  • Fruits and Vegetables. At mealtime, make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Eat fruit, vegetables or unsalted nuts as snacks.
  • Whole Grains. Make at least half your grains whole. Whole grain products are high in fiber and help with weight management. These foods will say "whole grain" or "whole wheat" on the label.
  • Lean Protein. Vary your protein food sources and try to make seafood your choice at least twice a week. Keep meat and poultry portions small.
  • Low Fat Dairy Products. A small number of low fat dairy products is important for optimal health. Skim milk, low fat cheeses and yogurt products are good options.
  • Healthy Fats. A limited amount of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat can be part of a healthy diet. But remember that than less than 30% of your total calorie intake should be from fat. For most people that is only a tablespoon or two. Try to choose foods with omega-3 fatty acids, which may help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Salmon, nuts, and soybeans are all good choices.

Foods to Decrease

Limit your intake of these types of food and you'll increase your chances for weight loss success.

  • Sugary Drinks. Soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened teas, and fruit-flavored drinks are often packed with calories and sugar. By replacing these drinks with water, you will decrease your daily calorie intake.
  • Sugary Desserts. Cookies, donuts, pastries, muffins and other baked goods (especially those that are pre-packaged) often contain high amounts of saturated fat and sugar. Select fruit for dessert instead.
  • Fried Foods. Even a healthy food can become unhealthy when it is put in the fryer. The process of frying creates food that is loaded with fat. Try to limit intake of these foods.
  • Solid Fats. Solid fats are those that are solid at room temperature, such as butter, margarine or lard. Try to use oils such as canola oil or olive oil when preparing food.
  • Fast Foods. Many convenience foods, especially those from fast food restaurants, are processed with high calorie, high sugar and high salt ingredients.
  • High Sodium Foods. Compare sodium (salt) in foods such as frozen meals, soups, breads or packaged foods. Add spices or herbs to season food without adding salt.

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