3. Pizza Night!
Marcia Yamashiro, RD, a northern California dietitian who counsels people with eating disorders, participates in a weekly "pizza night" with her family of four.
Sound surprising? The truth is that pizza can definitely be a better choice if topped with vegetables instead of fatty meats, especially if it comes on whole grain pizza crust. Ask for extra pizza sauce. (It's rich in phytochemicals from the tomatoes.) Serve the slices with a green salad or some fresh fruit for a more balanced, fiber- and nutrient-rich meal.
4. Avoid Breakfast Cereals With Fewer Than 3 Grams of Fiber
Carol Ann Brannon, RD, a nutrition therapist and food coach in Georgia, makes sure all the breakfast cereals in her pantry have more than 3 grams of fiber per serving.
"This way I get my youngest daughter to seek out cereal with fiber, and these are usually the ones lower in sugar, too," says Brannon.
5. Pump Up the Protein
Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, makes a point of eating protein at every meal and snack. She suggests trying whey, soy, or egg white protein for meal replacement smoothies.
6. Keep Score of Fruits and Vegetables
Barbara Quinn, MS, clinical dietitian at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, keeps count of her fruit and vegetable servings during the day. "If I get to the end of the day and a piece of fruit or vegetable hasn't touched my lips, then guess what we're having for dinner!" says Quinn.
One of Brannon's favorite real-life diet tips also involves the produce aisle -- she tries to include a vegetable and fruit at every meal. Gerbstadt says she also tries to add veggies to meals and snacks every chance she gets.
7. Have Alcohol Only on Weekends
"If you enjoy alcohol, be aware that the calories add up quickly -- and one way to control it is to limit consumption to the weekends," says Kathleen Zelman, RD, director of nutrition for WebMD.
So try limiting your liquor to Friday and Saturday nights -- and keep it to a drink or two each night.