Eating for Health & Weight Loss

— Written By and last updated by Sandy Ruble

Spring is just around the corner! Many folks are trying to lose some fat before summer. If you eat for good health and watch your portion sizes, chances are you will experience success. Don’t forget to get some physical activity every day!

Below are some tips for eating your way to health, which will pay dividends for the rest of your life. These practices are known to enhance weight loss:

  • Eat fewer calories. Track your caloric intake and physical activity on a site/smartphone such as,,,
  • Eat at home most of the time. Eating out or buying already-prepared foods at the grocery store will likely mean you’ll be consuming too many calories, too much fat, salt and sugar, and too few nutrients.
  • Remove sweetened beverages from your diet. Recommendations for added sugars from all sources per day:  Men:  no more than 8 teaspoons and women no more than 5-6 teaspoons. For reference, a can of regular soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar. To determine how many teaspoons of sugar in any product, divide the grams of sugar by four.
  • Limit sweet desserts. Enjoy fruit instead. One guide is that if a serving of any food has 15 grams of sugar or more, it’s more like dessert.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruit. Make non-starchy veggies the star of your plate. Try to eat a big green salad daily – not too much salad dressing!
  • Eat breakfast. Include a protein source. This is a good time to fit in a whole grain, like rolled oats. Avoid sweetened cereals and those made mostly with white flour.
  • Drop the fried foods or enjoy rarely.
  • Eat fewer and smaller servings of meat. Replace the protein with bean sources.
  • Enjoy fish about two times a week.
  • Eat lighter at the end of the day.
  • Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.
  • Watch less television.
  • Reduce stress with exercise, meditation, yoga, tai chi, taking baths or other preferred stress reducers (not shopping or eating!).

It’s much easier to stick to an eating plan if we create an environment at home that supports the changes we want to make. Get rid of the junk foods or they will keep calling your name in the evening. Then you can….

  • Stock your shelves and refrigerator with veggies, fruits, bean spreads (like hummus), whole-grain breads/pita and hot/cold cereals.
  • On the weekend, plan meals and snacks for the week; create a shopping list.
  • Try to cook on the weekends so the food will get you mostly through the week. Try:
    1. Cooking a whole chicken/turkey. Use the leftovers in sandwiches or soups. Put leftovers in meal-size or individual serving-size containers as you are cleaning up.
    2. Freeze leftovers.
    3. Clean lettuce and salad veggies for several days, so you can quickly make up a salad for the week’s lunches.
    4. Make big pots of soup.

Yes, this takes effort, but feeling good and being healthy are worth it!

Written By

Photo of Joan ReidJoan ReidResearch Technician (919) 513-4565 joan_reid@ncsu.eduAgricultural and Human Sciences - NC State University
Posted on Mar 19, 2013
Was the information on this page helpful? Yes check No close