So, you just had a visit with your doctor, and he told you that you have to start eating healthier. You immediately go into a mini panic attack and start thinking: “Does this mean I have to cut out my favorite foods?”, “Will I ever be able to eat out at my favorite restaurants again?”, & “Do I have to start eating food that taste like cardboard?” These of course are often the misconceptions about eating healthy. But thankfully it is much easier than this!
The key to a satisfying, healthy diet is finding the right alternatives for your favorite and common daily foods. Sure, some of the alternatives may be slightly less tasty in the beginning, but after a few weeks the taste buds adapt to the new flavors and the craving for junk food starts to weaken. The search for alternatives also brings a fun and interesting new adventure to your day, and opens up your eyes to a whole new world of food that you never even noticed before!
Here are few tasty alternatives to help get you started
1. Instead of white rice, try quinoa or brown rice
White rice is very high in sugar and is mostly made up of bad carbohydrates, which can lead to diabetes and obesity. The thing is, white rice loses most of its nutrients from its original form of brown rice, due to over processing. It is also very low in fiber making it difficult to digest. So, switching to brown rice is a clear alternative! Amongst its many health benefits, brown rice retains its original nutrients, has lots of fiber, lowers risk of diabetes and obesity and lowers cholesterol. Another fantastic alternative is Quinoa. It has double the protein of white rice, is packed full of fiber, and has 15 times less grams of carbohydrates than white rice, great for weight loss, or adding to a diet plan!
2. Instead of sugary deserts, switch to yogurt with honey
After a good meal, we a lot of times want to cap it off with a little something sweet. I mean, honestly, we all love our ice-cream and cakes! But finding an equally satisfying alternative can be as simple as switching to frozen yogurt, or Greek yogurt with added nuts, cardamom, cinnamon and honey. Yogurt with probiotics is packed with healthy bacteria which aids in digestion, prevents constipation and overall keeps a healthy gut, which is where 70% of our immune system lies. Another delicious recipe is sweet lassie, an after-dinner yogurt drink; Take 2 cups of greek yogurt, ¼ cup of milk, a pinch of cardamom powder, chopped nuts (pistachios or almonds are great!), add honey per sweetness desire and blend together, save some of the nuts to sprinkle on top and add a red cherry, yum!
3. Instead of store purchased sugary drinks, switch to water with added fruits and honey
Everyone has that drink that they love to enjoy with many or sometimes every meal. But do you know how bad that drink could be. This ranges from processed juice with preservatives to sugary sodas with more grams of sugars than grams of food on your plate. But there are other options! Many delicious fruits and vegetables can be juiced or blended for a massive health boost, and a good fresh juice or smoothie can be just as enjoyable and thirst quenching! A simple daily alternative to sugary and unhealthy store purchased juices, could be this: Try taking still or sparkling water, add cut up pieces of fruit and add a dash of lemon and honey and enjoy! This alternative ups our water intake and taste so good in the process.
4. Instead of chips and unhealthy snacks, try crunchy veggies and healthy dips, or charring vegetables
Chips, cookies, and other packaged and processed snacks seem just so tasty and filling, right? But it’s what they’re doing to your body internally that isn’t so appetizing. To combat that, try cutting up different crunchy vegetables, (carrots, zucchinis, peppers, etc). and dip them in fresh homemade hummus, olive tapenade, salsa or cowboy caviar. When paired together, the fresh taste surpasses any unhealthy snack, as well as lowers intake of carbohydrates. It’s great for weight loss, maintain a fit body and overall health. Another fantastic way of boosting our veggie intake is charring vegetables with olive oil, garlic powder and salt. The sweet and slightly sour flavor of charring brings the taste of the vegetables to a whole new level. This also cooks very fast and retains a sweet crunch!
You can also try asking for alternatives when dining out, look over the menu and ask the server to make a few substitutions, if they have it in the kitchen they usually won’t mind helping you out! So, get creative and have fun with it! There are so many delicious, healthy foods that you may not have discovered yet, it just takes a little bit of mindfulness and effort!
Wedgefield Yoga Class Times: Mon 9am / Tuesday 6:30pm / Wed 9am / Sat 9am