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Your 11 Smartest Nutrition Moves

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Smart Moves 8-11

8: Get at Least Five a Day

"I keep a dish of fruit and a container of celery and carrot sticks on my desk. Now, instead of going to the vending machine for a snack, I just reach into my bowl."
--Tracy Weaver, 31, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania

Why It Works: Anyone who meets the five-a-day goal deserves an A for effort; the phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables can slow aging and protect you from disease. But researchers agree that give servings in a minimum. You should be getting almost double that. For extra protection, be sure that the fruit bowl's filled with lots of different-colored fruits and vegetables, to ensure that you get a broad spectrum of disease-fighting compounds.

9: Downsize Portions

"I bought a food scale and started measuring out my portions. I was shocked to see that I'd been eating four or five servings of pasta without knowing it."
--Jessica Matyascik, 29, New York City

Why It Works: Measuring pasta and cereal, as well as weighing meats and cheeses, can save hundreds of calories a day. A half cup of cooked grains or pasta, three ounces of meat or poultry, four ounces of fish, a cup of yogurt and an ounce of hard cheeses all count as a single serving. Even if you feel confident eyeballing portions, use a scale or measuring cup every few weeks to remind yourself; without a refresher course, people get less and less accurate, according to research.

10: Remember: Fat Can Be Your Friend

"I try to include a small amount of fat -- whether it's a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of cheese or a smear of peanut butter -- in every snack or meal."
--Emily Lapkin, 27, New York City

Why It Works: Without fat, your body can't absorb some antioxidants, such as lycopene, beta-carotene and vitamins D, K and E. New research also suggests that very low-fat diets may not be effective in the long run. People who follow a moderate-fat, reduced-calorie eating plan feel more satisfied and are better able to stick with a diet than people who restrict their fat intake to less than 20 percent of calories.

11: Don't Forget Water

"I always feel more refreshed in the morning after drinking a tall glass of water. It also keeps me from overeating at breakfast."
--Jill Shockey, 28, State College, Pennsylvania

Why It Works: Water is essential to preventing fatigue and bloating and keeps your whole body functioning optimally. You need at least 64 ounces daily -- even more when you work out regularly. Keeping hydrated should be an ongoing process; drink an eight-ounce glass every two hours. That way, drinking water becomes a regular habit instead of a once-a-day chore.

 

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