The Diet Detective: 8 Healthy Habits to Improve Your Lifestyle

Snack More

Trend: According to food consultants Baum and Whiteman, people are eating less during mealtime and making up for it by snacking more. "Snacks account for one in five 'eating occasions' -- multiple snacks now qualify as America's 'fourth meal.'"

Why It Matters: Research shows that snacking can actually help you eat less at meals. However, we tend to eat unhealthy, high-calorie snacks such as candy, fries and cakes.

Fit Tip: Avoid high-carb snacks because they will be digested in about two hours. Instead, it's better to have a mini-meal (e.g., half a sandwich). Also, keep in mind that eating protein and fat together increases the likelihood that you will be satisfied for a longer duration. Come up with five different snacks you enjoy that are low in calories, and keep them readily available. You should create snacks that are about 100 to 200 calories, depending on your daily calorie needs.

More Veggies

Trend: Technomic, a food-service research firm, predicts an increase in veggie consumption. "Vegetables take their star turn. As more diners discover the joys of occasional meatless meals, the flirtation with vegetarian fare evolves into flexitarian fascination with actual vegetables. That means not only innovative salads but also creative presentations of roasted or steamed veggies, even the assertive ones like carrots, kale or brussels sprouts."

Why It Matters: Veggies matter! They're loaded with antioxidants and are very high in nutrients and low in calories.

Fit Tip: For great recipes check out websites such as eatingwell.com, cookinglight.com and allrecipes.com.

Not Just Wheat

Trend: Look for an increase in "other" grains ­ such as quinoa, amaranth, millet, wild rice, corn, oats and buckwheat ­ that do not contain gluten and are therefore being nudged to the fore as part of the movement toward gluten-free eating.

Why It Matters: There is more than just wheat out there to eat, and many people claim to be allergic to gluten. There are alternatives ­ for instance, quinoa (not technically a grain but high in nutrients and protein.)

Fit Tip: I've written about a few of these alternatives.

Quinoa: Grain you Might Have Never Heard or Tried But Should

Bulgur and Sorghum: Bulgur and Sorghum / Milo Grains You Might Have Never Heard of or Tried But Should

More: The Gluten-Free Athlete

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