Eat for Health without Sacrificing your Favorite Foods
Many of us want to eat healthily and improve our health through diet. We think about food’s nutrients, vitamins, and of course the amount we are eating. Sometimes it seems quite limited when we try to figure out our diet and foods that work with it. But, is there a way to be able to eat every food we want and still be healthy or is it necessary to sacrifice some foods in order to stay healthy?
Sacrificing food always sounds hard and affects our daily lives. Healthy eating and healthy life choices are more about knowledge and motivation. If we know which food is good for us and which we should limit or stay away from, eating healthy can be fairly easy. It is not necessarily about sacrificing food. It is more about replacing it with other foods. The following guide will give you an idea of how easy it can be to make the healthier food choices without feeling like you can only eat bland foods.
Don’t skip meals
Everyone knows that we should aim to have 3 meals a day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Skipping one of these meals isn’t very beneficial and leads to cravings. You could also feel less energized as your body will not have enough energy to cope with the day. Regular meals are a great source of the vitamins and nutrients we need in order to stay healthy. Moreover, they provide a balanced energy supply.
Choose the right meal combination
Choose a combination of healthy vegetables, grains, and proteins for your meals will help you avoid tiredness and cravings. Meals that satisfy you will prevent you from snacking and will fuel your body with everything you need. When preparing your meals, try to figure out which food you feel like eating the most and find a healthy way to incorporate or mimic that food into your meal. That way you will feel satisfied after a meal and don’t feel like you sacrificed something. If you are craving something that is said to be unhealthy, try and eat just a little bit of it until your craving is satisfied. If you just have a small amount now, it will help you to avoid a binge later down the road because you kept yourself restricted. However, focus on healthy foods and make them the majority of a meal.1
Give your recipes a makeover
Every one of us has favorite recipes they love. Unfortunately, some of those, like comfort food recipes, tend to be higher in calories or not all that healthy. They include large amounts of butter and cream or want you to deep fry something. Simply try and replace some of the unhealthy ingredients or cooking techniques by more healthy ones. Switch some fats and add more fiber to make your meal easier to digest. You probably won’t even notice that something has changed in the recipe but the number of calories will have, which is a great way to still be able to enjoy your favorite comfort food and without completely sacrificing it.2
Choose the right fat
When you are preparing a meal, choose a cooking oil such as olive oil, canola oil or coconut oil instead of animal fats such as butter or lard. Moreover, think about ways of cooking that do not involve too much fat. When preparing your food, use techniques like grilling or steaming to save some calories.
Limit sugar and avoid snacking
Nowadays, sugar is hiding in tons foods and we don’t even know it! As refined sugar only consists of simple or ‘empty’ carbs, have a closer look on the package of the food you are about to buy. In particular, premade sauces and dressings can be very sugary. Not to mention about sweets and chocolate bars, which are basically pure sugar. Try to replace those empty carbs with something more valuable to your body. Instead of a chocolate bar choose a homemade granola bar or piece of fruit. You will feel better after eating it and it will provide your body with a satisfying snack. However, focus on your main meals and provide your body with healthy calories and well-balanced meals.
The rule of thumb is that we should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Try to remind yourself throughout the day to drink a glass of water to provide your body with a healthy amount of fluids. If you feel like a little flavor in your water, add slices of lemon or some mint leaves. It is also a good idea to keep a reusable water bottle with you, so you always have water on hand. It is also important to keep in mind that sometimes when we feel ‘hungry’ we are actually thirsty, so drink a glass of water before you reach for the snacks to see if thirst is the real problem.
Living a balanced and healthy lifestyle also includes exercise. To be able to eat without harsh limits, exercise is a great way to burn some extra calories. You will feel more balanced, less stressed, and will keep your body happy and well-functioning. It is all about the combination of healthy portion control, food choice, and the right amount of exercise.
How to substitute
If you are wondering which foods you should swap to eat healthy without sacrificing anything here is a quick overview of the easiest and most commonly hidden ingredients to swap:
|Diet Foods||Try and stick with ‘real’ foods as they haven’t been processed. Many diet foods are high in sodium and sugar to enhance the taste. This is not ideal for your health. Avoid ‘lite’ foods and try to eat a little less of full-fat versions instead or figure out a homemade version.|
|Fruit Juice||Most of these juice contains added sugars. Not only you are drinking the natural good sugar of the fruit but you are drinking refined sugar, which doesn’t provide you with anything but empty calories. Have a closer look on the package to avoid sugary juices, make sure the juice you choose is 100% juice, or make your own with a juicer.|
|Chocolate||If you are craving something sweet, choose dark chocolate that has more than 72 percent of raw cocoa. That way you can avoid an excessive intake of refined sugar and empty calories but can still satisfy your sweet tooth.3|
|Sugar||A great substitution for sugar is honey. Use it in any dish where you want a little sweet touch. One tablespoon of honey only contains 64 calories.|
|Snacks||When it comes to snacking try and replace chips, sweets or other foods with homemade popcorn (but be careful of the quantities of butter and salt you put on it), veggies with hummus, or fruit. These choices are all lower in calories and will satisfy you as more than an unhealthy snack would.|
Healthy eating it is all about the choices you make. You don’t have to sacrifice much food if you make the right choices and can still enjoy the foods you love in moderation. Think about ways to make your favorite recipes smarter and satisfy your craving with healthier options. Try our smarter pancakes for breakfast or enjoy our smarter barley soup.
- "10 Tips to Eat Healthy Without Sacrificing Taste." Eat Well 101. EatWell101, 20 Dec. 2012. Web.
- Hayashi, Yuki. "10 Ways to Make Comfort Food Healthy." Best Health Magazine Canada. The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., 30 Jan. 2013. Web.