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Overcome Any Obstacle to Eating Right

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Problem #3: "I have no idea what's the right amount to be eating."

Follow the rule of palm. You've probably heard that a standard serving of meat is 3 ounces, or the size of a deck of cards. But this isn't exactly accurate, since everyone in your family has different appetites and calorie needs. Instead, eat a serving of meat or grain that's the size of each person's palm, suggests Erin Palinski, R.D., author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies.

Set the mood. Pretend you're eating in your favorite fancy restaurant by dimming the lights and playing relaxing music. According to a recent Cornell University study, that strategy helped diners eat 133 fewer calories—enough to help you lose 14 pounds in a year.

Size things up. You might be surprised to learn what a cup of cereal, a tablespoon of oil or an ounce of nuts actually looks like. "It's a common mistake to think you're pouring a tablespoon of olive oil into the pan when really it's a quarter cup—that's a difference of 360 calories!" says Somer. Measure every time you cook for a week and you'll be able to eyeball it much better.

Problem #4: "Water is my family's last-choice beverage."

Make H2O more interesting. Try this trick from Rachel Beller, R.D., nutritionist on The Biggest Loser: Add mint leaves, frozen blueberries, pomegranate seeds, lemon wedges or cucumber slices to plain water. Or create a mocktail with sparkling water, a splash of juice (cranberry, grape or pomegranate) and a lime wedge.

Put it in plain sight. Fill a pitcher with water and store it front and center in the fridge. Easy access makes it more likely that kids will drink up. Staying hydrated with cold water boosts metabolism. Plus, research shows children gain less weight if they replace just one soda a day with a calorie-free beverage.

Tote it. Moms should aim for 72 ounces of water daily to help maintain energy, since dehydration can lead to fatigue. That may seem like a tall order, but if you sip throughout the day, you'll easily reach your quota. Encourage the habit by keeping one water bottle on your desk, another on the counter at home and a third in your car. "It's a constant visual reminder," says Palinski.

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