Whether you want to lose weight, improve your health or just eat better, you can use these tips to simplify the process. The time you spend obsessing and counting and switching food plans can be better spent on your goals, your relationships, your life! Try these tips and relax about it all.

1--Eat breakfast—try fruit, cottage cheese or yogurt, oatmeal, high-fiber cereal, smoothies, --occasionally have bacon & eggs or waffles! Everything in moderation.

2--Drink more water—always a good idea.

3--Watch portion sizes—meat serving is about the size of your palm, one serving of starchy food (potatoes, corn, etc.) is 1/2 cup—a little smaller than the size of your fist, one serving of cheese is about the size of your thumb, one serving of juice, milk, etc. is 8 ounces—like a kid-sized soda from a fast food restaurant.

4--Eat more vegetables and fruits—current guidelines suggest from 5 to 9 servings per day. This does not include potatoes, corn, English peas, or any kinds of beans—those are starchy vegetables. Eat green & yellow daily—green beans, squash, broccoli, peppers, etc. Lots of color is good!

5--Starchy vegetables, pasta and breads—limit—no more than 4 servings and 2 is better—a serving is one-half cup (remember, smaller than your fist).

6--Steam, Grill, Broil or Bake instead of fry.

7--Limit butter, oil and dressings. One tablespoon of each has about 100 calories—all fat. Use herbs & spices to flavor.

8--Eat a large green salad before dinner & lunch—try for 2 or 3 cups of mixed lettuces or spinach plus cut up veggies with a little dressing—use fat free if you just can't use less of the real stuff.

9--Eat a wide variety of foods each day.

Sample meals:

Breakfast: Yogurt OR cottage cheese OR oatmeal, Apple OR Orange, Wheat toast

Lunch: Large salad with Grilled Chicken and lots of veggies, Fruit or sugar-free Jello for dessert

Dinner: Dinner salad, Small steak OR Chicken breast OR Fish, steamed or sauteed vegetable, Beans OR Rice OR Peas OR Potato, Whole grain roll.

Drinks—low-calorie or calorie-free Milk—skim, 2%, soy

Snacks—small quantities of fruit, nuts, veggies.

10—Don't eat after 7 or 8 (depending on your schedule). Drink some water & brush your teeth & keep sweets out of the house.

One last good idea: If you buy junk food for your kids, switch them to yogurt & fruit & veggies & nuts! If you can't, buy things you don't like (for me, that's anything with cooked bananas) and keep them in a closed cabinet or bread box if you're still tempted. (Great snack for kids—raw veggies with ranch dip—let them use frilly toothpicks like at a party—they'll eat their veggies!)

Deborah Crawford may be contacted at . Click here to view more of their articles. Deborah Crawford is an expert in smart, affordable marketing techniques to grow businesses. Visit for more information and ideas.

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