Ten Things You Can Do Now to Maintain Calorie Balance and Sustain a Healthy Weight

Families, Food and Fitness June 02, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Author: Ellen Schuster, MS, RD, Human Environmental Sciences, Nutritional Sciences, University of Missouri, University of Missouri Extension

Ten things you can do now to maintain calorie balance and sustain a healthy weight

Knowing your calorie needs can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. You can track what you eat using a food journal or diary. An online food planner is available at ChooseMyPlate.gov. Tracking your calories will help you become more aware of how many calories you eat.

image of children eating watermelon

Other ways you can maintain calorie balance:

  1. Read the Nutrition Facts label, especially the calories and servings in each package. Visit the Interactive Nutrition Facts Label on this site to learn more.
  2. When eating out, go online before you go to check calorie information from that restaurant. Some restaurants now post calorie information on-site on menu boards and menus. You can also take a look at the Interactive Fast Food Menu with Fitness Calculator on this site.
  3. Choose smaller portions. This is important when eating out and eating at home. Visit Right Size Your Portions for more information on appropriate portion sizes.
  4. Choose smaller portions especially of high calorie foods or foods with added sugars and solid fats. Go to My Foodapedia to identify the calories from added sugars and solid fats in foods.
  5. Drink water instead of soft drinks, fruit drinks, or sweet tea.
  6. Switch your dairy. Choose fat free milk, fat free or low fat yogurt, and low fat cheese to get the calcium you need while keeping the calories in check.
  7. Prepare food at home. When you prepare foods at home YOU are in control. You control the fat and sugar that is added as well as the portion size. Visit Prepare and Eat More Meals at Home to learn more about making meals at home.
  8. Include more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in your diet - they help you feel full with few calories. For ideas on ways to increase your fruit and vegetable intake, visit Enjoy More Fruits and Vegetables.
  9. Limit mindless snacking. If you want to snack, serve yourself a small portion and put the rest of the package back in your cupboard. Eating directly from the box often means eating more calories than you need. The article Mindful Versus Mindless Eating provides more information about mindless eating.
  10. Get moving! If you are already active, increase the amount you do each day. If you are not currently active, start with 10-minutes of physical activity a few days a week and increase over time. You can learn more about physical activity at Move More Everyday on the "Families, Food and Fitness" site.

Source: 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, http://www.dietaryguidelines.gov

For additional information supporting the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, visit:

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.