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For a healthy 2014, focus on these nutrition numbers

Rather than falling into the “counting” trap—calories, fat grams, whatever—focus on what you can eat so that food  becomes your friend, not the enemy. To get fit and fabulous in 2014, keep your eye on these nutrition numbers.

It’s no secret that fad diets and quick-fix weight loss aids don’t work. The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) shows that people who successfully lose weight rely on long-term healthy eating and exercise habits to drop pounds and keep them off. 

Falling into the “counting” trap—calories, fat grams, whatever—gets boring and takes all the joy out of eating, a recipe that often derails best intentions. Instead, focus on the positive—what you can eat—and food becomes your friend, not the enemy. To get fit and fabulous in 2014, focus on these nutrition numbers.

5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day

Eat more fruits and vegetables: There’s good reason this is the number one piece of solid nutrition advice. For starters, a mountain of evidence details fruit and vegetables’ roles in reducing chronic disease risk. In addition, plants offer a whole lot of nutrients for very few calories, an important principle for weight management. When a diet contains too many low-nutrient foods, calorie needs are met but nutrient needs aren’t, so the body asks for more, leading to overeating. 

Eating 5 cups a day is easier than you might think. Here are simple daily choices you can make.

Breakfast: 1 cup berries or fresh chopped fruit and an 8-ounce glass of 100% juice = 2 cups

Lunch: 2 cups raw spinach in a salad with 1 cup raw or cooked vegetables = 3 cups

Snack: 1 cup raw veggies with dip, or a medium-sized apple = 1 cup

Dinner: 1 cup vegetable-based soup and 1 cup of cooked vegetables = 2 cups

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