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Ask Dr. Gourmet

How can I make better food choices and stick with it?

Do you have any tried and true suggestions on how to make better choices and how to stick with it? Or better yet, how to eat less in a world where portions are out of control - I've become accustomed to them and my body shows it!

Dr. Gourmet Says...

two bare feet standing on a scale, which reads 'HELP!'

Successful projects take planning and being healthy is no exception.

1. The first step is to make your choices. What foods do you love? Make that list first and find recipes that you can cook so that you have your favorites as part of your plan.

2. Choose recipes that let you make the correct portion size. One of the reasons that I develop many of my recipes to make fewer servings is because most people will eat just their allotted servings and be satisfied. Research has shown that when recipes are healthier and portion sizes are normal people are just as satisfied as when the portions are enormous.

3. Plan every meal. Start by planning the week's meals on a Saturday and then go shopping for your food and ingredients. The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan is designed this way so that you don't have to think about what is for dinner on Thursday night - you will already know. This means that you get to have the foods that you love in portions that are satisfying because you have planned for it. You should work very hard to use only foods that you make or control. For the most part, fast food is not part of being healthy because the food is very calorie dense and the portions are so large.

4. Snack on fruit and nuts. Research has shown that people are very satisfied with these as snacks. Make having them around part of your plan so that something is available when you're hungry.

5. Keep a food diary. You can download a PDF food diary or use The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan's food diary feature.

Over and over studies have shown that keeping track of what you eat and weighing yourself at least twice a week will keep you on track.

6. Exercise. Find at least four 30 minutes slots in your weekly plan to walk, ride a bike, go to the gym, do aerobics tapes, anything.

7. Remember that being healthy is a long term deal. The fad diets and advertisements that say you can get to your goal in 8 weeks are just silly.

The plans that you make for being healthy this coming Saturday should be similar to what you are making two years and twenty years from now.

8. Plan to cheat. That's right. Make it part of your life to indulge every now and then. Don't feel guilty while you are doing it or after. Remember you have a plan that you can go back to, and it will always help you to bring things back into focus.

Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet