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Monday Momentum: 3 things for better health

Textured vegetable protein such as this offering Bob's Red Mill TVP can be a meat substitute when cooked or can add crunch to salads or wraps when used dry. Renee Richardson/Brainerd Dispatch

Need to be motivated on a Monday for better health, just pick from three things to start the week off on the right path.

1. Want a visual to help with portion control? WebMD suggests visualizing other common objects in order to get the right portion size. For example, use a mental image of a regular lightbulb for two servings of rice.

"Our eating habits need help. Fast food, high-calorie desserts, sweet drinks, and more have filled us up—and out," WebMD reports. "Most adults and one in three children in the U.S. are overweight or obese.

"Changing the way you eat can be easy. To start, learn about some of the worst food offenders and how to replace them with healthier choices. Then try some portion-control tricks."

2. Through the recession a particular food seemed to be a staple, supporting multiple franchises even at a time when people were cutting back, but pizza was a popular way to feed the masses. WebMD coined it the pizza problem noting pizza "can have lots of calories, refined grains, and fats. But with a few tweaks, it can be OK."

Suggestions are to change it up when it comes to pizza. WebMD suggests: a thin, whole-grain crust, piling on vegetables, go without meat, use low-fat or fat-free cheese and still using that in limited quantities. And for what may be the most difficult recommendation—just eat one slice and fill the rest of the plate with veggies. The only way to make that work could be having a housefull of hungry friends or family in order to stick to the one slice rule. But there are ways to keep the taste and lower the calorie count.

3. Need to add protein? When cutting back on meat or for vegetarians, there can be a need to bolster protein intake. When also trying to cut back on cheese and nuts to avoid extra calories, it can mean being creative when it comes to getting enough protein. One option comes in textured vegetable protein, such as Bob's Red Mill TVP. TVP® is made from defatted soy flour that has been cooked under pressure and then dried.

It is low in fat and calories and is a complete soy protein. A quarter cup has 80 calories, zero fat, and 12 grams of protein. When cooked, can be used as a meat substitute for ground beef or turkey. Options for use include tacos, sloppy joes, meatloaf or chili but it can also be used dry as an addition to salads—think tiny croutons—or dry to add a crunch to a vegetable wrap.