Vegetables are #1!

Vegetables and fruits are number one in importance in your diet. They provide nutrients and phytochemicals (plant chemicals) to help decrease risk of heart disease and cancer. A diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables helps with weight control too.

Try to eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday.

Choose a variety of fruit and vegetables. Each one has its own unique make-up. By eating a variety, they will provide you with many vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. This will enhance your nutritional health and improve your immune system.

Research is being done to find out which plant foods and which parts of plant foods help prevent and fight cancer and other diseases. Studies have shown that some of the most important fruits and vegetables to include in your diet are: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, chard, greens, carrots, squash, peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit, pomegranates, kiwi, mangos, cantaloupe and berries.

Eat them the way you like them. It really isn?t necessary to eat them raw. Raw fruits and vegetables are great, but most nutrients are not destroyed by cooking. In fact, some nutrients are more available for absorption after foods are cooked.

Eat fruits and vegetables at every meal and find new ways of preparing them. They can be part of every course from appetizer to dessert and they make refreshing healthy snacks too.

Ignore secret weight loss formulas and fad diets.

There is no magic diet or formula or pill that will guarantee weight control or weight loss.

Most diets that are promoted in best selling books provide new twists on old diets that did not work in the past. If there really was a secret diet, we would all soon learn about it and there would be no need for yet another diet book.

Many fad type diets are deficient in some essential nutrients. This is true of any diet that limits your selection of foods or dictates specific food combinations. It is important not to stress your body with a diet that is low in essential nutrients or contains an unnatural balance of nutrients.

"Diets" do not work because they make you feel deprived and crabby. Diets are usually "something you go on temporarily" and you tend to live for the day when you can go off your diet. Do not spend your life going on and off diets.

Form good, sensible eating habits and this will be the ideal "diet" for life.

Calories do count. Keep a food diary.

Weight is a balance of "calories in" and "calories out."

Become aware of the caloric value of the foods you eat.

To eat fewer calories, choose lower-fat alternatives in place of high fat foods.

Try reduced-fat modified recipes and use as little fat in cooking as possible.

Limit the fat in your diet, but counting only fat grams is not the total answer to weight control. Low fat foods can fool you. Some low-fat foods are actually high in calories.

Increase the fiber in your diet to help you feel full without adding lots of calories. Foods rich in fiber include whole grains, high fiber cereals, dried beans, split peas, lentils and other legumes. Also, whole fruits and vegetables are higher in fiber than their juices.

Surround yourself with low calorie snack foods at home or work. Avoid having high calorie snack foods around. Making food harder to get forces you to make a deliberate decision to eat.

Don't forget about the calories in the beverages you choose. Calorie in fruit juices add up quickly. Flavored bottled waters and ice teas can be high in calories. Check labels.

Don't use high calorie foods to reward yourself. One high calorie treat can negate all your good choices from the rest of the day.

Budget your calories and use them wisely. If a food isn't very tasty and not worth the calories, don't eat it.

Keep a food diary. It is the one most important factor in maintaining weight.