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Change habits, not diets

5 tips from nutrition experts that’ll keep you on track

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  • Creamy Basil-Garlic Dressing

    From the Baltimore Sun. If you’ve got a healthier dressing made up and waiting in the refrigerator, it may keep you from grabbing the high-fat bottled dressing. This can be refrigerated for up to a week.

    1/2 cup low-fat plain Greek-style yogurt

    4 tablespoons sliced fresh basil

    1 tablespoon sliced green onion tops

    1/2 to 1 clove garlic, chopped

    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    1 tablespoon honey

    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

    PLACE all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and green. (Or place in a tall jar, then use an immersion blender to blend until smooth and creamy.)

    REFRIGERATE for up to 1 week.

    YIELD: About 3/4 cup.


  • Sauteed Brussels Sprouts With Pancetta

    From www.skinnytaste.com. If there’s a healthful food you don’t like, Christin Dow suggests trying it in a different form. This is one of her fast favorites.

    2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, outer leaves and stems removed

    2 ounces pancetta, diced

    1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    4 cloves garlic, minced or sliced thin

    Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

    WASH and drain the Brussels sprouts. Finely chop into shreds with a large knife.

    SAUTE pancetta in a deep, heavy saute pan over medium-low heat, until fat melts and pancetta is golden, about 5 minutes. Add olive oil and garlic and saute until garlic is fragrant but not burned.

    ADD shredded Brussels sprouts, salt and pepper and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until leaves are tender-crisp. Serve.

    YIELD: About 7 cups, or 14 (1/2-cup) servings.



Want to lose weight? Make it habit-forming.

Seriously, skip the “low-carbohydrate this” and “the Mesozoic-that” diets and instead consider the habit diet.

“The Mayo Clinic Diet,” (Good Books, 2012), by the staff of the respected Mayo Clinic, focuses on breaking bad habits and forming good habits. (That’s the real Mayo Clinic, by the way, not the bogus one cited in fad diets like the Cabbage Soup Diet and the Grapefruit Diet.)

We thought the idea of forming habits was so intriguing, we asked Charlotte registered dietitian Christin Dow of TriNutrition to suggest five habits she’d like to see every person develop. Interestingly, most of Dow’s habits mirrored the ones the Mayo Clinic’s experts suggested.

“There’s a ‘core of four’ that any registered dietitian will tell you,” says Dow. They come from studies of sustained weight loss – people who lost 10 percent of their weight and kept it off for two years.

1. “Keep a food log.” Make it a food and activity log if you can. The No. 1 tip from registered dietitians is to simply track what you eat and how much exercise you get. Look over the log regularly, so you can spot where you’re falling short or the places where you’re doing well. You probably can’t remember what you ate a week ago, but your scale can.

2. “Decrease any caloric beverage.” There are drinks that pack on calories – sweetened sodas, fruit juices, alcoholic beverages. If you cut those back or cut them out, it will make a real difference.

3. “Increase fruits and vegetables.” Instead of worrying about how many servings or how many kinds you’ve eaten, just aim to eat more of them every day. It can’t help but be a good move.

4. “No eating in front of a screen.” And that means the TV, the iPad or the computer. Turn them all off. When you watch while you eat, you’re eating mindlessly and you’ll end up shoveling in more food than you realize.

The Mayo Clinic has another good TV habit, too: Earn your screen time. Make it a habit to only watch TV for the same amount of time as you exercised that day. Really want to watch that episode of “Downton Abbey”? You’ll have to keep your gym appointment.

5. “Know where your food comes from as best you can.” That encourages you to buy local fruits and vegetables and to keep your foods simple and natural.

“If it’s a processed food and you look at how it’s made, chances are you won’t want to eat it,” Dow says.

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This affects comments on all stories.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

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