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A Fun Meal Without The Calories

On Day 3 of theThe Great American Weight Loss series, CBS News Health Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay reports from the supermarket, where dieting confusion often begins.

Excuse of the Day: The rules keep changingÂ…I don't know what to eat.

Millions of people are confused about what to eat to lose weight, as researchers release varying studies on food almost every day.

"There is a lot more food on the market," says Cathy Nonas, a dietitian at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Medical Center in New York. "It's difficult to make the appropriate choices."

So what is the answer to Day 3's excuse?

The Great American Weight Loss Tip of the Day: Cut starchy foods and fat, and eat more fruits and veggies.

Starchy foods include bread, pasta, rice, corn, and potatoes. Starch adds calories, so only a quarter of meals should contain these foods.

Fruits and vegetables not only add color to your plate, but much-needed vitamins and fiber for your body.

Reducing fat should be the first objective for someone trying to lose weight, Nonas says.

A typical high-fat day would include:

  • Cream cheese on a bagel
  • Mayonnaise in a tuna salad sandwich
  • A bag of potato chips
  • Meat and cheese in lasagna
  • Oily Italian dressing on a salad
  • A bowl of ice cream
Although most Americans know they are supposed to reduce fat, not everyone is good at it.

Nonas says many people know to reduce the fats, such as mayonnaise, cream cheese, and oily dressing, but they continue to consume too much starch.

"People have a tendency to eat in - what I call - the 'beige category'," Nonas says. "It's starchy, low-fiber foods."

A high-starch day would include:

  • A bagel without cream cheese
  • Turkey on a roll
  • A bag of pretzels
  • Pasta with tomato sauce
  • Salad with low-fat dressing
  • Air-popped popcorn
But even these foods, with the fat cut out, are deceptively high in calories. A bagel is equivalent to almost five slices of bread - a lot of calories. A bread roll is equal to about four slices of bread. Eating nine slices of bread a day is not the way to lose weight.

Pasta is another tricky meal. Too much of it is served with creamy or oily sauce, and without a balance of vegetables, is also high in calories.

"This day is 1,000 calories less than the high-fat day and it's healthier for you but it's not healthy enough or low-calorie enough," Nonas says.

So, what's left? A "just-right day," Nonas says, would include:

  • An English muffin witjam
  • A turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread with lettuce and tomato
  • A fruit
  • A half plate of pasta with tomato sauce, but with an equal amount of veggies
  • Lots of salad with a little low-fat dressing
  • Ice cream on a cone
This plan is enjoyable and within the confines of a healthy, 1400-calorie day.

"This person is going to lose weight and be healthier," Nonas says.

Nonas says that counting calories and measuring foods is unnecessary, and that people should read food labels only if they are having trouble figuring out what is high fat.

Reported by Dr. Emily Senay

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