The following is a guest blog entry written by What About Watermelon expert panelist Elizabeth Somer, M.A. (nutritionist, dietitian, watermelon lover). Enjoy!
It’s the New Year and you’re primed for a New You. This is the year you’re determined to redefine yourself, get healthy, lose those extra pounds, and boost vitality. Don’t sabotage yourself with some quick-fix scheme (they have a 100% fail rate!). Instead, build the foundation for the New You on the three time-proven skills for permanent weight loss and health management.
FOCUS ON PLANTS – While there aren’t many black-and-white topics in nutrition, one habit you can be absolutely sure of: People who eat the most colorful produce are the ones who are the healthiest, leanest, smartest, and happiest.
Literally thousands of studies have repeatedly and consistently shown that loading the plate with colorful fruits and vegetables is one of the smartest diet habits to adopt. By doing this, you automatically cut back on bad fats, added sugar, and unnecessary calories. In addition, fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants and contain at least two of the magic three ingredients for weight loss: protein, water, and fiber. These nutrients fill you up before they fill you out, making you satisfied on fewer calories.
For example, watermelon is fiber rich and 92% water. What a great way to snack to your heart’s content without packing on the pounds! Watermelon is also an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and a good source of minerals, such as potassium and magnesium. It is the best dietary source of the antioxidant, lycopene, shown to help lower disease risk. And, it contains two compounds that help keep blood vessels healthy: citrulline and arginine.
Make sure that at least half of every plate is heaped with colorful produce. For example, accompany your breakfast cereal with watermelon cubes, add a slice of watermelon to a turkey sandwich at lunch, top a spinach salad with watermelon cubes, and quench your thirst during the day with a watermelon smoothie. (No excuse about watermelon being hard to find in the winter. It’s available all year around!)
EAT REGULARLY – When you eat is just as important as what you eat. Large, infrequent meals result in big-time hunger, and when you’re hungry, you lose control of your appetite. In contrast, eating regularly when you’re comfortably hungry keeps you in control of your appetite and helps you make wiser decisions. To make this rule work for you, bring healthy snacks with you and stock the kitchen. Pack your food stash with watermelon cubes drizzled with lime juice or watermelon salsa with baked tortilla chips. In the kitchen, keep watermelon cut up and in the fridge for an easy-to-grab snack.
GET PHYSICAL – Your health and waistline depend on being active. Start small. Walk for 10 minutes a day with the goal of increasing that commitment to exercise so that by the end of the year you’re working out at least five hours a week. Your body will repay you a thousand-fold for this tender loving care!