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What to Eat to Get Fit

By James Roland

Your choices of foods that will help you get fit are plentiful if you're willing to explore the produce section of the supermarket and opt for low-fat versions of some favorite foods. The main idea is to select foods that have plenty of nutrients, but are low in calories and fat, and will provide a balanced diet. Your food needs will vary according to your age, gender, height, weight and activity level, so take all that into consideration when adjusting your eating plan.

Vegetables

The U.S. Department of Agriculture. or USDA, suggests that two and a half servings of vegetables daily for women and three servings for men help make up a healthy diet. The USDA also suggests that you mix up your vegetables from meal to meal and day to day, to include a variety of colors and types. Eating a variety of vegetables will keep you from getting tired of one kind and will maximize your nutritional benefits, since different vegetables have varying levels of vitamins and nutrients. Vegetables are also lower in calories than most other foods, so to keep fit, make vegetables part of meals and snacks.

Lean Proteins

If you still want some animal protein in your diet, just be smart about your choices. Red meat doesn't have to be off your list, but always get lean cuts. Fish actually has healthy fat, as the omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and other coldwater fish has been linked to cardiovascular health. In general, fish, skinless chicken and turkey, and low-fat or skim milk dairy products are the best sources of proteins because they're lower in calories and fat than most red meats, fried chicken or fish and whole-milk cheese and other dairy.

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Fiber

Whole grain products, such as brown rice, whole wheat bread and oatmeal made from whole-grain oats, are higher in fiber than enriched grains, such as white flour. Beans and lentils are also high-fiber foods and they can help fill you up on fewer calories, as well as help lower your blood sugar levels. Mayo Clinic suggests making at least half of your grain intake from whole-grain sources.

Water

Try having a glass of water when you're craving a snack and see the results. Seventy percent of muscle is made up of water and all the body's metabolic activity happens in water. So water is not only good for the body, it can help fill you up and keep you from eating unhealthy foods. The Mayo Clinic suggests having about eight cups of water a day, if you're an adult. But if you're especially active or live in a tropical climate where you lose a lot of fluids during the day, then you should probably have a few additional cups.

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