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Make water your beverage of choice
You've heard about the unwanted effects of drinking both regular and diet soda, but you may not be aware of some of the benefits of drinking more H2O. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who get much of their daily fluid intake from plain water tend to have healthier diets overall, including more fiber, less sugar, and fewer high-calorie foods.

And in addition to hydrating you, water may be a helpful weight loss aid, by curbing appetite and boosting metabolism. One study found that people who drank about 7 cups of water a day, ate nearly 200 fewer daily calories compared to those who gulped less than one glass. Another found that when adults drank 2 cups of water right before eating a meal they ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories.

And a German study concluded that consuming 16-ounces of water upped calorie burning by 30% within 10 minutes, an effect that was sustained for more than an hour.

How to do it: Reach for 16 ounces (2 cups) of water four times a day. And if you dislike the taste of plain H2O, spruce it up. Add wedges of lemon or lime, fresh mint leaves, cucumber slices, fresh grated ginger or organic citrus zest, or a bit of mashed juicy fruit, like berries or tangerine wedges.


​​Eat produce at every meal

There are numerous benefits to making produce a main attraction at mealtime. In addition to upping your intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, eating at least five servings a day is tied to a lower risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. Fruits and veggies also help displace foods that pack more calories per bite, a plus if you're trying to lose weight. For example, one cup of non-starchy vegetables contains about 25 calories, compared to 200 in a cup of cooked pasta. And reaching for a medium-sized pear in place of a handful of chips, crackers, or cookies can slash anywhere from 50 to 200 calories.

How to do it: A good rule of thumb is to include a serving of fruit in each breakfast and snack, and two servings of veggies in every lunch and dinner. One serving is 1 cup fresh, about the size of a tennis ball. Whip fruit into a smoothie, add it to oatmeal or yogurt, or just bite right in. And for easy ways to make veggies the base of a meal, check out my previous post: 5 delicious pasta alternatives with a fraction of the calories


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