Healthy Moms: Eating Right - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Healthy Moms: Eating Right

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MADISON (WKOW) -- We may want to eat right, but actually doing it, can be difficult.

Many nutrition experts believe that what you eat actually plays a more important role in weight loss than exercise.

A few weeks ago, I let personal trainer Dustin Maher go through my fridge and pantry.  He got rid of all the food and drinks he didn't think I needed.

So, this week, we headed to the grocery store to find foods that should not only be in my house, but your house as well.

We started in the produce section.

"From a weight loss standpoint, vegetables are your friend.  This is where you want to fill up.  Eat them first, before you get to the other carbs and fats.  It will help you fill up and give you a lot of nutrients," says personal trainer Dustin Maher.

Veggies that are dark or bright in color are your best bet, because they are typically packed with more nutrients.

If you're watching your weight, things like corn, peas and potatoes may not be the best choice, because they are higher in carbohydrates.

As for fruit, Dustin says, "Most fruit is healthy.  If you're feeding it to your kids, don't worry that one is more healthy than another.  But for moms and dads looking to lose weight, I recommend lower glycemic food, which means it isn't going to affect your blood sugar levels drastically.  Apples are great, because they are low glycemic."

Pears and different berries are also good options.

But some fruit may be better than others if you care about the calories.

"Things like bananas are high in sugar.  Not to say that you can't eat them, but eating those or things like grapes in high quantities is a lot of extra calories that add up," says Dustin.

From produce, we headed to the meat section which is full of good protein.

Yes, you can have your occasional steak, just look for steak that has less fat.

You want to look for a steak that has as little white marbled fat as possible.

So, the deeper the red, the lower the fat.

Also, look for lean hamburger. 

95 percent lean - 5 percent fat is very good, you just need to read the labels.

Dustin says that if you can find it, it is always best to choose meat from an animal that has been grass fed. 

According to Dustin, "Chicken is one of the best proteins for you, because it's lean and it's low calorie, just pure protein.  You can use it with anything, it's versatile."

And don't forget about fish, it's a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Dustin says, "Look for fish that is wild rather than farm raised."

As for dairy, skim milk, cottage cheese and yogurt are always a good bet.

But, be careful about your yogurt choice.

"One thing I see a lot of moms doing is buying sweet flavored yogurts.  There are tons of flavors out there, but unfortunately, it's going to add a lot of sugar.  It's best to eat plain yogurt, and just add in your own fresh or frozen fruit to sweeten it up," says Dustin.

Bread is also a tricky food item. This is one that again, Dustin says be sure to read the label closely. The rule of thumb is, the less ingredients the better.

Also, the first ingredient is the most important thing to look at.

"You want to avoid enriched wheat flour as the first ingredient.  Instead, look for whole wheat flour," according to Dustin.

Also, look out for bread with high fructose corn syrup in it. You would be surprised by how many breads actually have it.

There is a newer bread on the market called Ezekiel Bread.  It is an all natural bread that is found in the frozen foods section. Dustin says it is organic, so there are no additives.

Drinks are another area that you need to watch out for sugars. Whether regular or diet soda, if you're trying to watch your weight, it's best to avoid it, even diet, because it is full of fake sugars.

Dustin says, "Fake sugars have been shown to increase your appetite, you're sweet tooth, you're certainly always going to crave sweets.  People who have higher levels of fake sugars are more overweight."

Dustin also says it's key to talk about fats and oils. When cooking, he says stick with olive oil, regular butter and coconut oil. 

He points out that coconut oil may scare people because of it's saturated fats, but it does have benefits.

"There are actually some fats that are saturated that there are good for you, and this is a medium chain fatty acid, which means it's going to get utilized as energy very quickly," says Dustin.

In terms of snacks, he says almonds and other nuts are great. Sting cheese is also good, because it is portioned for you.

It may seem like eating right takes a lot of time and energy, but knowing what to eat is half the battle.

Check out my blog for more details on Nutrition and healthy options.

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