You know that you should eat healthier and deep down you really want to, but the idea of giving up all that tasty stuff in place of food that’s about as appealing as a piece of cardboard makes you go “blech”, right? That may be your problem— thinking that you need to give up all of the food you love. It’s no wonder that so many people find it hard to eat healthy when they automatically associate healthy eating with deprivation. It’s time to change that.
Take it One Food at a Time
Making the switch to healthier eating is easy when you tackle it one food at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all! Your snacks are always a good place to start. Instead of hitting the vending machine or reaching for a fist full of M&M’s for a snack, pack some fruit instead. Research presented at the 2011 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo showed that American’s are consuming almost 600 calories when they snack, which is the equivalent of eating a full fourth meal every day—a hefty one at that! They also found that a lot of those calories are coming from beverages, so swapping out your pop for water and your mochaccino for a “skinny” version can also make a huge difference.
Eat Healthy, Easy Versions of Your Favorite Foods
The beauty of the internet for those looking to get healthy is the endless amount of recipes for substitutes to your favorite foods. Thankfully there are loads of others out there that love food as much as you do and wanted to find healthier versions of those foods enough to do the legwork and write about it. Take advantage of these do-gooders and what they’re offering and try out recipes that are reasonable facsimiles of your faves but a whole lot healthier. And, make it even easier on yourself but searching for recipes that also contain the words “quick” or “easy” since the easier they are to make, they are more likely that you’ll add them to your repertoire of go-to foods. You can find truly delicious and no-fuss versions of everything from pizza and burgers to the most decadent desserts online.
Change the Way You Cook
You’d be shocked to know just how much extra fat, calories, and even chemicals you take in just by the method you choose for cooking stuff. If you’re using oils and cooking sprays to sauté your foods, then it’s time to try something different, like steaming or roasting. While we do need a certain amount of fat for our bodies to function, you should be getting them from the foods you eat, like nuts and seeds and fatty fishes, like salmon and albacore tuna. Steaming, roasting, and grilling your foods eliminates the need for any kind of oil for cooking. It may not seem like a big deal, but most oils—even the “good ones”—contain well over 100 calories per tablespoon. And if you tend to cook with butter, then it’s not only calories and saturated fat, but high cholesterol you’re taking in too. Skip it entirely or, when it comes to baking, substitute it with applesauce or plain yogurt instead.
Small changes in your diet can have a huge impact on your health and are way easier to start and stick with than a major diet overhaul. Add to that a little effort to eat healthy foods that also taste good and eating healthy will be a breeze.
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Adrienne is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and fitness for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.
- Snacking Constitutes 25 Percent of Calories Consumed in U.S. (June 2011). Institute of Food Technologists. Retrieved on March 26, 2014, from http://www.ift.org/newsroom/news-releases/2011/june/20/snacking-constitutes-25-percent-of-calories-consumed-in-us.aspx
- Nelson, Jennifer K. R.D., L.D., Zeratsky, Katherine R.D., L.D. Tips for healthy eating. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on March 26, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-blog/tips-for-healthy-eating/bgp-20056191
- Nelson, Jennifer K. R.D., L.D. (June 2012). Which spread is better for my heart — butter or margarine?. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on March 26, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/butter-vs-margarine/faq-20058152