1. Smash the diet mentally
Think of eating smart as a lifestyle adjustment, and go into it knowing that celebrations and indulgences are part of life. If you make good choices 80% of the time, you can loosen the reins a bit the rest of the time.
2. Check restaurant websites before dining out
Even if the restaurant doesn’t divulge nutritional info, you’ll see what’s on the menu so you can avoid making an impulse decision when you’re there and hungry. Keywords for smart options: grilled, steamed, baked and broiled. Not-so-safe ones: crispy, creamy and cheesy.
3. Don’t leave home without a snack
If you have an emergency snack stash, you won’t find yourself super-hungry between meals, and you won’t fall prey to fattening foods. I typically have two snacks every day, and I look for ones that are high in protein and/or fibre to keep me feeling full. My picks are apples and 420kJ packs of almonds.
4. Find the swaps you love
Invite some friends over for a fun afternoon of taste-testing. Get everyone to bring a new low-kilojoule product find, and you can all see what’s worth it and what’s not.
5. Be smarter than the marketers
‘Multigrain’ sounds full of fibre, right? And ‘no trans fat’: that must mean the food isn’t fattening. Think again. A lot of claims on packaging can be misleading. (Products with a variety of grains don’t necessarily have enough total grains to give you a high fibre count. And ‘no trans fat’ just means there’s less than half a gram per serving – plus, there could be dozens of other fat grams.) I look at kilojoules and fat, and for some other redeeming quality, like a good amount of protein or fibre.