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Your 11 Smartest Nutrition Moves

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FITNESS talked to women like you who've developed fast, easy and just plain smart ways to improve their eating habits. We had top nutrition experts share their suggestions on adapting these tips to suit anyone's lifestyle. So no more excuses! A healthier diet is just 11 helpful hints away.

Smart Moves 1-3

1: Avoid Temptation

"My husband and I keep very little food in the house. We cook just enough for the two of us, so there are few leftovers in the fridge, and we don't keep fattening snacks around. If either of us has a craving for something -- my favorite is pizza -- we're forced to go out for it."
--Erin O'Reilly, 20, Atlanta

Why It Works: Erin and her husband have joined forces to make their home a temptation-free zone — a way to ensure that they both win at weight loss. But eliminating snacks completely can backfire (even Erin admits to cravings). The trick is to stock up on healthy snacks, like fruits, vegetables, popcorn and rice cakes.

2: Fill Up On Fiber

"To boost my fiber intake, I mix a high-fiber cereal with my Cheerios and eat a lot more fruits and vegetables."
--Amy Rayko, 27, Chicago

Why It Works: The American Heart Association advises getting at least 25 grams of fiber daily to help ward off disease. A USDA study found that increasing fiber intake from 12 to 24 grams blocks the absorption of up to 90 calories a day. But beware: If you adopt Amy's tips all at once, you may be plagued by cramping and bloating. Zelman suggests adding a few sprinkles of high-fiber cereal (with at least five grams per serving) to your regular brand, working toward a 50-50 ratio over the course of a few weeks. And, most important, drink plenty of fluids.

3: Plan Your Meals

"As a vegetarian, I need to be extra careful about getting enough protein and B vitamins. To help me keep track, I plan out daily menus for each week, so I know I'm meeting my body's needs."
--Holly Snyder, 42, State College, Pennsylvania

Why It Works: Eating healthfully does require some advance though, and taking the time to evaluate your body's nutritional needs is an integral part of the process. But Holly's meticulous attention to meal planning may not be realistic for everyone. The solution: Take baby steps. First, keep a food diary for at least a week, so you can identify what nutrients you're lacking, how many calories you're taking in, etc., suggests Joan Knoll, R.D., a dietitian at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center's Weight Management Center. Then make small corrections: an extra serving of vegetables one day, two extra servings of fruit the next.

Next:  Smart Moves 4-7

 

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