What you eat determines your health. If you want to stay healthy and fit you need to keep a close watch on what you are eating. A healthy diet and a little exercise on regular basis can improve the way your body functions, lower cholesterol level and keep you in shape. Healthy diet can be achieved easily, all you need to do is monitor your current diet and make required changes for a better nutrition.
The trick is to learn how to substitute. Take a look at the food that you are consuming daily and see if you can find a healthy alternative for it. If your dietary pattern is good and you eat regular meals which include variety of foods then all you need to do is swap a few things with foods which are healthier.
The first thing to do is make an honest list of all the things you eat for a few days. Once you have everything in black and white in front of you analyzes it without being judgmental. Keep a positive attitude, once you get to know where you are going wrong try to find out how to do it differently and give yourself a thumbs up for the things you are doing good for example if you drink plenty of water or when you fight cravings for sweet things give yourself credit for it.
Next step is to cut back on food you are usually eating that is highest in calories. Begin with the ones that are high in sugar and fat because they are the ones that cause the most damage. Once you have identified the culprits you can swap them with the healthier options. You can find these in the food charts given below. As you start incorporating these healthier food options in your regular meals the nutrient quality of your diet will gradually improve and you will be able to cut down calories and will probably find your meals more satisfying.
Once you have kept track of your diet for a while you will develop a good sense of what you are eating but you should also know what you are eating. So when you go for grocery makes time to read the labels on the packaging. Check the ingredients and the nutritional facts so that you can evaluate the sugar and fat content and calories in the food that you are buying.
Another factor to keep in mind while buying food is to go for the options that are closer to its natural state instead of processed food as natural foods have more nutritional value and lesser quantity of sugar, salt and fat. For example one serving of apple contains 80 calories plus vitamins, minerals and fibre while apple sauce has 100 calories, more sugar and less vitamins, minerals and fiber, apple juice has 115 calories lesser vitamins and minerals and no fiber, apple pie has 300 calories and loads of sugar and fat and apple chips have 450 calories and plenty of salt and fat.
One more important thing to keep in mind is being realistic. If you are craving for a dessert you cannot satisfy this with eating celery or carrots. Instead of a rich creamy dessert which is a calorie bomb you can opt for yoghurt with some sort of fruit like mango or strawberry this way you can get as close as possible to satisfy you’re craving without the guilt.
Here are a few suggestions as to how you can make healthier food choices.
Whole grains are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates that can help you to feel full and stop you from over eating. Whole grain breads are a healthier option for you as they are low in fat and full of nutrients. Choose whole grain bread for making sandwiches and in your meals.
Bakery products like doughnuts and muffins are 50% fat so you should stay away from them instead opt for products like ginger snap cookies which can satisfy your sweet tooth without the guilt of fat.
Instant and granola cereals are also high in sugar and fat. Go for low sugar cereals instead. Avoid snacks that are fried instead go for ones that are baked or are low in fat.
· White bread, cookies, biscuits, croissants Whole grain bread and buns like wheat or rye
· Scones, doughnuts, pastries Whole grain bagels
· White rice Brown rice
· White flour Whole wheat flour
· Pasta , fried rice and rice with fatty sauce Rice with vegetable sauce and whole wheat pasta
· Instant and granola cereals Oatmeal, whole grain cereals and low fat granola
· Potato Chips Unsalted pretzels
· Popcorn with butter Popcorn without butter
Vegetables And Fruits
Vegetables and fruits are the best sources of natural vitamins, minerals and fiber. They are naturally low in fat and add variety and flavor to your meals.
If you use butter, mayonnaise, margarine or cream for your vegetables and fruit then it adds fats to them. Instead of these use low fat or non fat butters and creams. You can also try herbs to season your salads or low fat salad dressings and low fat or 0% fat yoghurt.
· Potato chips, French fries Baked potatoes (white or sweet)
· Vegetables served with sauces of Raw vegetables or vegetables that have cream cheese or butter or fried pepper baked or steamed with a dash of olive oil.
NON VEGETABLE FOODS
The healthiest way to cook meat is to roast, broil or bake it. Lean pieces of meat can be broiled in a pan or stir fried using a non stick pan or with cooking oil sprayer instead of using butter. Trim all the fat possible before cooking the meat. Try to use low fat, lean pieces of meat. Instead of consuming fatty sauces and gravies use non fat marinades, spices and herbs to season your meat.
The same rule applies to poultry. The healthiest way to cook it is to broil, bake or roast it. Use it without the skin and remove all the fat possible before cooking. Chicken breasts are high in protein and low in fat and taste amazing so they are a good choice. Skinless pieces can be broiled in a pan or stir fried using a non stick pan or with cooking oil sprayer instead of butter.
Fish can be steamed, poached, baked or broiled and these are the healthiest ways to cook it. Fresh fish has a moist look , firm and springy flesh, clear color and a clean smell. If you cannot find good quality fish use frozen fish. Seafood is highly recommended twice a week. Fatty fish such as salmon are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which can lower the risk of heart diseases and most of the seafood has high quantity of healthy polyunsaturated fat.
You can also try to substitute meat with beans and lentils once in a while as they are fat and cholesterol free and are rich in proteins and fiber. Try beans in a favorite receipt of yours like in lasagna.
· Regular meat Lean meat
· Regular ground beef Lean ground beef or chicken or turkey breast
· Salami, pepperoni, liverwurst Lean meats such as turkey and chicken
· Hot dogs or sausages Fat free hot dogs
· Fish sticks or fish cakes, canned fish Fresh fish, frozen fish or fish canned in
· in oil or seafood cooked with butter or water or low fat fish sticks or fish cakes served with a fatty sauce
In dairy products you have a variety of low fat choices. Go for skimmed milk or low fat buttermilk instead of full cream milk. Recipes that require cream in them substitute that with skimmed evaporated milk.
Use low fat cheese like skimmed ricotta instead of cream cheese. In salads you can use cottage cheese and use low fat cheeses in recipes. A low fat and high in calcium snack is string cheese.
Sour cream can be replaced with non fat yoghurt in recipes and if you want to maintain the texture stir a tablespoon of cornstarch in every cup of yoghurt you use. Mix fruit with nonfat or low fat frozen yoghurt for dessert.
Ice cream can be substituted with skimmed sherbet. Soft and regular ice creams are lower in fat than the premium ones.
· Full cream milk Non fat or low fat milk
· Evaporated milk Non fat evaporated milk
· Buttermilk Low fat buttermilk
· Full cream yoghurt Low fat or non fat yoghurt
· Regular cheese Low fat cheese
· Regular ice cream Low fat ice cream
SWEETS, FATS AND OILS
Eating foods high in fat does not only make you obese but also increases your risk for developing several diseases. Diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis and a few types of cancer have also been linked to diets that are high in fat. If you are consuming high quantity of saturated and trans fats you can develop coronary artery disease and high cholesterol.
Drinks sweetened with sugar like soft drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks, sport drinks, sweetened ice tea, sweetened and flavored milk are high in sugar and calories. But you need to stay hydrated to stay in good health. You can substitute these drinks with water, zero calorie flavored water, non fat or low fat milk, tea with a little honey or if you really want to drink soda go for the diet ones.
· Cookies Molasses cookies, gingersnaps
· Butter or margarine Olive oil or soybean oil
· Regular mayonnaise Non fat or low fat mayonnaise
· Regular salad dressing Non fat salad dressing
· Butter to grease pan Cooking oil sprayer
Once you have decided to go for healthier choices make a plan for yourself. When you plan your meals it is easier to stay committed to your diet plan, whereas if you don’t plan then you are more likely to fall to your old patterns.
Focus on replacing unhealthy habits with healthy ones and keep in mind that every little effort counts. Every better food choice you make brings you a step closer to a healthy diet. As you work on making better choices they will gradually become habits and you will ultimately be craving for the healthier foods.
Marry Jojo is a freelance writer and blogger. She write tech reviews atTop10BestPro .