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Think Your Way to Healthy Eating

A teen learns how to change her thinking about eating well and loses weight.
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Step 5: Don't Skip Meals -- Snack Smart continued...

If you are hungry, Favret says, you want a snack that will hold you over until the next meal; not set you up for endless grazing. A good snack is not always the thing that is marketed as "healthy" or pre-packaged as low-calorie or a single-serving snack pack. An ideal snack has some protein to keep you full.

"When we snack on just a processed carb [like chips or cookies] or fruit alone, it's really not going to satisfy us over the long term, and we're probably going to be reaching for another snack," she explains.

The body burns through carbs quickly, but it takes it some time to digest protein.

For a healthy, filling snack, try:

  • A piece of fruit with a handful of nuts or sunflower seeds
  • A serving of whole-grain crackers with peanut butter or cheese (Read the ingredients list on your cracker package: Don't pick crackers made with partially hydrogenated oil.)
  • Reduced-fat Greek yogurt

Step 6: Be Kind to Yourself

If you're changing the way you think about food, be patient, says Julie. It may take a little time to get used to your new mind-set and habits. In the meantime, cut yourself some slack.

"Don't try to do anything unhealthy," she says.

Favret says: Yes -- don't aim for perfection.

"Look at it as if you're trying to be the healthiest person you can be within your genetic frame rather than focus on a certain weight that you want to get to that may or may not be appropriate for your body type," she says.

It's also OK to be less than "perfect" when it comes to eating. Healthy eating doesn't mean banishing yourself to a life of only veggies and no cake. You don't have to think of it that way.

"There is certainly room to have some of your treat foods and to eat some things that are not 'healthy,'" Favret says. So have some cake at a birthday party, or go for pizza with friends. Just make your portions reasonable and don't have these foods every day.