Obesity Epidemic – What can you do?

Martin Fried, MD FAAP ABPNS 

We live in a fast-paced society and often don’t have the time to prepare healthy meals for ourselves. Convenience foods are everywhere and easily accessible. On top of that, the thought of slaving over the oven to cook up a healthy meal after a long day of work seems like a daunting and time-consuming task. Fortunately, commercial food suppliers are taking the hint and providing people with healthier choices like fresh fruits, yogurt and sandwiches in convenience stores and fast food restaurants for people on the go. Eating healthy is not a difficult task; the key is to make healthy choices in advance and practice proper portion control.
Try these easy steps for weight loss and good health:
Avoid oversized portions.
When dining out, choose the lunch portion. Or try splitting your meal with someone. Another great option is to ask for a to-go bag when you meal is delivered to your table. Start with putting half of your meal into the bag to take home, that way you have less food tempting you.
Enjoy your food but eat less (portion control).
When eating at home, serve yourself proper portions sizes. Use the box or label to determine what that may be, and then use a food scale, measuring cups and measuring spoons to make sure you don’t over-serve yourself. Using the salad plate when eating at home is a great way to cut portion sizes! Your plate will look full and will trick your mind into thinking you’ve got a great amount of food to eat!
Learn what a serving is since many restaurants serve helpings that are double portions.
– One serving of grains is 1/2 cup of pasta or rice (think of the size of your fist)
– One serving of peanut butter is two level tablespoons (the size of your thumb tip)
– A serving of meat is equal to 3 ounces (the size of a deck of playing cards)
– One serving of beans is 1/2 cup (about the size of your fist)
– One serving of fruit juice is 6 ounces NOT 8 ounces. Opt for water instead.
– One fruit serving is half a grapefruit, one medium orange or apple, 1 cup of grapes or strawberries
– One serving of cheese is one slice or two small cubes (the size of your thumb tip)
– One serving of dairy is one slice of cheese, 8 ounces of milk, 1 cup of yogurt
– One serving of vegetables is one cup of salad, one cup of baby carrots
Think clear over creamy.
Choose soups that have a clear broth like chicken or tomato, vs. calorie-laden cream and cheese-based versions.
Double up on veggies.
Adding vegetables to a meal is a great way to add bulk without adding excess calories. Veggies are full of fiber and water – both known to keep your belly fuller for longer.
Don’t drink your calories.
Replace sugary beverages like soda, juice and specialty coffee drinks with zero calorie beverages like water, unsweetened iced tea, and black coffee (or sweetened with artificial sweeteners).
Divvy up your plate.
Dedicate ¼ plate for protein, ¼ plate for complex carbohydrates, ¼ plate as fruits and ¼ plate as vegetables.
Stick with whole foods.
If it comes in a box or a bag, don’t eat it. Opt for fresh potatoes, plain oats, whole-wheat pasta and brown rice vs. white.
Switch to low fat 1% or fat free milk.
When it comes to dairy, you’re better off choosing low-fat or fat-free versions over the full fat stuff. That way you can save yourself a number of unnecessary calories.
Choose nutrient dense foods.
Snack on fruits and veggies – both pack a nutritional punch with few calories.
Stick with healthy fats.
Incorporating healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, nuts and low-fat cheeses can keep you fuller for longer while providing ample health benefits. Just be sure you follow the recommended portion size.
Be active regularly.
Choose activities you like and start by doing what you can, at least 10 minutes. Every bit adds up and the health benefits increase as you spend more time being active. Even tasks around the house like shoveling snow or cleaning the floors burn calories. Get creative and have fun with it!
Martin D. Fried, MD FAAP ABPNS

Dr. Martin D. Fried combines conventional practice of medicine with a specialization in nutrition, diet and weight management. As a Board Certified Physician Nutrition Specialist (ABPNS), located in Monmouth County, NJ, Dr. Fried brings a unique point of view to his patients because his training and his approach is more comprehensive than traditional pediatricians, primary care physicians and nutritionists. By listening to his patients, Dr. Fried builds a relationship that allows him to take all facets of health and wellbeing into account. www.healthydays.info

Martin D. Fried, MD FAAP ABPNS
Board Certified Physician Nutrition Specialist
Board Certified in Pediatrics
Pediatric Gastroenterologist
3200 Sunset Ave, Suite 100
Ocean, New Jersey 07712
Phone 732-682-3425
Fax 732-455-3309