As you adopt this new style of eating, you will find that your food preferences will gradually change—when you cut out high-sugar, high-fat goodies, your cravings will actually go away in time. Your body wants healthy food!
One of the biggest challenges to eating healthier is finding substitutions for existing foods in your diet. Here are some tips to make the transition easier:
- Use mustard instead of mayo on your sandwiches. You’ll get lots of flavor with much fewer calories and fat.
- Select whole-wheat bread over white bread. Be sure to read the label to ensure you’re getting whole grains, not just colored white bread.
- Eat the white meat of turkey or chicken, which is lower in fat than dark meat, red meat and pork. Animal fat is the top dietary source of unhealthy saturated fat. If you do choose to eat meat, pick lean ground beef, pork tenderloin or chicken breast instead of high-fat cuts of meat.
- Substitute fish fillets for higher-fat proteins, and get a boost of omega-3s in the process. Added bonus: seafood often cooks quicker and more easily than chicken or beef!
- Change your cooking methods. Bake, grill or broil your meals instead of frying. Use non-stick sprays—or better yet, non-stick pans—instead of oil.
- Drink more water. Slowly reduce the amount of soda you drink and replace it with herbal tea or water. Aim for eight cups of pure water each day.
- Don't drink your calories. Eat a whole orange instead of drinking a glass of juice, for example. Real food is usually more filling and more nutritious than juices, fruit drinks and other high-calorie beverages.
- Serve sauces and dressings on the side. Dip your fork into the sauce, then dip your fork into the food. You’ll still have the flavor but with fewer calories.
- Gradually switch to skim milk. Milk commonly comes in four varieties: whole (4% fat), 2%, 1% and skim (0% fat). Gradually wean yourself from the higher-fat varieties to the lower-fat milk every two weeks. For example, continue drinking your normal 2% milk for two weeks, then move to 1% for two weeks, and then your palate will be ready for the consistency of skim milk.
- Switch from full-fat cheeses to reduced-fat or fat-free cheeses the same way you would with milk (see tip above).
- Order vegetables on the side instead of fries. Flavor them with lemon juice or herbs instead of butter.
- Snack on fruit and nuts instead of sugary treats. The fiber, protein and healthy fats in this combo will sustain you to your next meal and you won’t have the energy slump that comes after eating candy.
- Reduce your portion size. Most people will eat whatever amount of food is in front of them, so start putting your meals on smaller plates. You will be just as satisfied because your mind "sees" that you’re eating a full plate of food.
Eating a healthier diet doesn’t have to mean deprivation. You don’t have to cut out your favorite foods completely—you just have to make a few changes. Treat yourself to a mini chocolate bar instead of a full-sized one, for example. By trying to eat the most nutritious foods possible, you are creating a healthy lifestyle that will help you reach your best weight.
Livingston Gardens Apartments
North Brunswick, NJ