Tuesday, August 4, 2009


By Marilou Lissandrello

Eating healthy does not have to be complicated nor difficult. After you begin making healthy choices, and make it a habit, you don't have to think about it again. Just have healthy food choices always available and the decision will be easy.

A meal or snack needs to incorporate a proper balance between a protein, carbohydrate and fat.

What have you established for your caloric consumption needs? I know for myself, that if I want to lose weight, my caloric intake cannot exceed 1200 per day. If I'm trying to maintain my current weight, I should not eat anymore than 1500 calories per day.

Once you find out how many calories you should be eating, you then need to space them over 5-6 small daily meals/snacks through the day. The meals and or snacks should compliment each other with the proper balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein. I will give you an example of these choices to make during the day.

I should quickly mention something about portion sizes. Do you know what a serving of protein looks like? No, it's not the 16 ounce Prime Rib at your local steak house. A portion of protein is 3 ounces, the size of a woman's palm.


* 1 medium fruit -- tight fist or tennis ball

* 1/2 cup of rice, pasta, cooked cereal, fruit, or veggie -- cupcake size or tight fist

* 1 cup of tossed salad -- the amount you can hold in two hands cupped together.

* 1 medium baked potato -- computer mouse

* 1 cup of cold cereal -- large handful or tight fist

* 3 ounces of fish, meat or poultry -- deck of cards or a palm of a woman's hand

* 1 ounce of cheese -- 4 dice or the top half of your thumb

* 1 ounce of meat, fish, chicken or poultry -- 1 egg

* 1 tsp -- the tip of a medium-framed woman's thumb. 1 tbsp is equal to 3 tsp.


A good breakfast is key to starting your day off right. Skipping breakfast is a surefire way to setting ourselves up for failure to maintain level blood sugars. I suggest keeping breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same calorie count and then adding two smaller snacks between meals.

Choose an item from each of the food groups for a healthy balanced breakfast.

Protein: 1 cup low fat yogurt, 1 oz of low fat cheese, 1 cup nonfat milk, 1 hard boiled egg

Carbohydrate: 1/2 cup of whole grain cereal or oatmeal, granola bar, 1 slice of whole grain toast, bagel or muffin.

Fruit: 1/2 banana, small apple, orange, grapefruit, 3/4 cup of raspberries, strawberries, blueberries


Preparing lunch and dinner is very simple. Pick a lean protein, add some vegetables and top it off with some fruit for dessert.

Choose an item from each of the food groups for a healthy balanced lunch or dinner.

Protein: Lean beef, pork, beans, chicken, fish, turkey, etc.

Vegetable: Salad greens, spinach, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans, etc. For a serving size, fill about 1/4 of your plate with protein, 1/2 of your plate with vegetables, and the other quarter with healthy carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate: 1 slice of whole grain bread, brown rice, corn, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, etc.

Dessert: 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup of strawberries or raspberries with a dollop of nonfat whipped topping, pear, apple.


Snacks are what make or break the weight loss. You need to maintain your metabolism in between meals so that is why healthy snacks are essential. For your snack, consume between 100 to 125 calories.

Choose an item from each of the food groups for a healthy balanced snack.

Protein: 1 oz. low sodium, low fat luncheon meat, low fat string cheese, hard boiled egg, small yogurt cup, 1/4 cup of low fat cottage cheese.

Carbohydrate: 1 slice of whole grain bread, 1/2 banana, apple, grapes, plum, baby carrots, etc.

Healthy fats: 1 slice of avocado, 2 tbsp of peanut butter, handful of almonds, walnuts cashews or mixed nuts.

This doesn't have to hard. These are just guidelines for healthy foods. Don't make this boring by eating the same thing every day. There are so many more foods then what I listed here but be creative. Try a new fruit and vegetable every week. Remember, this is easy!

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