I know I eat better than the average person, but I have my weaknesses. Fried food, sugar, and salty snacks are what I crave when life gets a little too hectic.
I know some of you out there are on a similar journey to simply feel better. Lucky for us the choices we make can also help local farmers, our friends, and families!
It’s so much easier to change your habits if you have someone else doing it with you. Then your friends can ask you out for a walk or to come over for a healthy dinner.
And they can try out all your new recipes!
Cook with less oil
This is really easy and your food doesn’t have to be flavorless either. In fact food with less oil lets the flavor of the vegetables shine through. A sauteed onion is a sweet, beautiful thing – but so is one slow roasted in the oven or crockpot.
- Use a non-stick pan.
- Use vegetable broth instead of oil when you are sauteing.
- Roast vegetables first to bring out the flavor before you put together your dish.
- Use the grill or a panini press to add color – tofu is great this way.
- Use more herbs to add to a flavorful dish rather than relying on oil.
- Make your own oil-free salad dressings – here’s a great place to start.
- Use the slow cooker – dinner will be waiting on you and can be easily made without oil.
Choose lower calorie options
Don’t try to give up everything you love! Instead find some substitutes that you can have everyday and get your cravings satisfied with. Of course you’ll treat yourself to the real thing sometimes, but you may find that these really do satisfy you.
- Try unsweetened almond milk instead of soy – it’s less than 1/2 the calories.
- Get baked chips instead of fried.
- Use the small low carb whole wheat tortillas to make tacos and quesadillas.
- Bake something instead of frying it to make it crunchy.
- Choose steamed rice over fried on a meal out.
- The Hungry Girl website has tons of great substitution ideas. The only thing I don’t like about her is her liberal use of splenda. Personally I’m experimenting using the herb stevia as a sugar substitute – artificial sweeteners give me the creeps!
Add more veggies
Yes, we’re all grown up now and still someone is telling you to eat your veggies. Mom really was right about some things. As we see studies of what we should stop eating, it seems that we should always be adding more colorful veggies.
- Have a salad twice a day – wash lettuce, chop carrots, green peppers etc on Sunday for the week.
- Add shredded carrot or zucchini to muffins or cakes.
- Add a handful of arugula or fresh spinach to your spaghetti marinara.
- Sneak in some pureed cauliflower into the mashed potatoes.
- When making mexican saute up a few things from the garden to add in the tortilla – any veggies will work. Black beans and sweet potato are a favorite combination of mine.
- Make soup out of leftover veggies for a starter to your next meal. Cooked veggies pureed with a little plain almond milk can seem like a luxurious treat on a weeknight.
Eat more fruit
This is the easiest of them all for me. In the warmer weather I can’t get enough fruit. But if you start now, you can freeze some lovely organic fruit that you can make magic with in the winter. I already have some strawberries that I picked at an organic farm in the freezer waiting for gloomier times.
- Stock up on bananas, cut them up and freeze them and you have a perfect smoothie base. I add some berries, almond milk, and other seasonal fruit. It’s the most portable breakfast I know of.
- Top your green salad with a handful of fresh berries in the summer or dried ones in the winter.
- Make your own ice cream, sorbet, or popsicles with in season fruit.
- Cut up a bunch of fruit and pack it in single servings for your mid-morning snack at work.
This is probably the most effortless change of them all. It may take a little time to adjust to the heartiness of whole grains, but you will fill up faster at meals and getting more nutrition to boot!
- Get whole wheat pasta and bread, then move up to more exotic choices like 9 grain bread and quinoa pasta.
- Use quinoa instead of rice – you can still cook it in a rice cooker but it will be done before the ding.
- Make oatmeal in a crockpot for an on the go breakfast.
- Use brown rice instead of white.
- Try new to you grains in vegetable soup as a way of easing them in.
Be open to new things, you never know what might become your new favorites!