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October 22, 2007

How the World Eats

montage of different foods including fish poultry fruit and vegetables

Photo Credit: Philip Friedman/Studio D

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American women have one of the highest rates of obesity on the planet. What can we learn about healthy eating from the rest of the world? We asked five women to tell us how they manage their meals. See what could work for you.

Ph.D. student
St. Petersburg, Russia
Percentage of obese Russian adults: 17

BREAKFAST: Green tea without sugar; a couple of small sandwiches (think finger sandwiches) with ham and cheese, or maybe lox on whole-wheat bread (sometimes I'll just eat a piece of cheese).

SNACK: Green or black tea and a sweet bun (we drink a lot of tea!).

LUNCH: Soup — often either a cream-based soup or borscht (soup is good for digestion); steak with mashed potatoes.

DINNER: Salad and kefir (or a bottle of mineral water and chocolate if I'm running late to my dance class).

Average calories per day: 1,200

WHY IT WORKS: In Russia, we eat with the weather, so that means a lot of root vegetables and hot food to stay warm in the winter, and salads in the summer. I completely trust my body on the choice of food. If my body says I want to eat, I eat. If I feel like eating an apple, I have that. If I feel like chicken instead of steak, I do that. I eat to live, not live to eat.

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