Maggie Jover: Fruits, vegetables can help increase bulk to one’s diet

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There are many ways to increase bulk in your diet so that your meals are more satisfying and filling.

Fruits and vegetables in puree or chopped forms can be added to smoothies, quick breads, main dishes or desserts. Doing this not only cuts calories but adds bulk to your diet and increases your fruit and vegetable intake. Here are some additional tips to eat foods that are low in calories and high in density:

Pay attention to your hunger and feelings of fullness and stop eating when full. Don’t eat when you are not hungry and be a mindful eater.

Add fruit and vegetables to traditional dishes to stretch them along with adding fiber, which makes you feel more full and satisfied.

Start each main meal with a cup of vegetable soup or a side green salad. Both add bulk but few calories.

Use salsa as a dressing for salads or on a baked potato. It adds vegetables to your diet and is low in calories.

Fill half your lunch and dinner plate with fruits and vegetables. Go online to ChooseMyPlate.gov to learn more about preparing healthy meals and snacks.

When eating out, order a salad or extra vegetable rather than a starchy food.

Eat a high-fiber, low-calorie snack, such as an apple, before you go out to eat. Go into the restaurant feeling satisfied, not hungry and you will consume fewer calories overall.

For snacks, choose a high-fiber fruit or vegetable and pair it with a low-fat dairy product. For example, low-fat yogurt with fresh berries or baby carrots and low-fat ranch dip. Snacks need to be kept at around 100 to 150 calories, which add to the nutritional intake of your diet instead of just adding more fat, salt, sugar or calories.

Eat more whole grains by substituting a whole-grain product for a refined product. It’s important to substitute the whole-grain product for the refined one, rather than adding the whole-grain product.

And remember, as you continue to lose weight or maintain your healthy weight, exercise most days of the week for 30 minutes. Walking is an inexpensive way to exercise, so join a walking club such as Walk Across Texas.

The Walk Across Texas Kick-off in Sanger is scheduled for 8 a.m. April 27 at Porter’s Sports Complex, 2201 Stemmons St. This event is co-sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the city of Sanger Parks and Recreation.

MAGGIE JOVER is the family and consumer sciences county extension agent with Texas AgriLife Extension. She can be reached at 940-349-2882.

 


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