Disclaimer: This is not an article entailing the secrets to eating burgers and nachos and pizza while on a “diet” and make those calories magically disappear. Sorry to disappoint. (But really, you knew it was too good to be true). However, there are still some methods to make sticking to your nutrition plan a little less boring and difficult.
Now that the boring stuff is out of the way, off we go! If you’re a foodie like me, you’ve wondered to yourself why everything good in life is soooo bad for you. And while they haven’t invented calorie-free substitutes for your favorite foods yet, there are ways to enjoy guiltless “guilty pleasures.” Enter: healthier food substitutions.
Cauliflower! Craving pizza, but not the bloat and the costly calories? Substitute cauliflower for the traditional crust. Can’t eat dairy? Try cashew cheese instead. Bonus: it’s vegan! There are so many hacks to make food healthier, all you have to do is Google it! Cauliflower or quinoa for rice. Greek yogurt for sour cream. Spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles instead of noodles. Lettuce instead of tortillas. Smart yet simple swaps that can make a world of difference.
Speaking of smart yet simple; there are always options. If you’ve never noticed the “Lite” option at your favorite spot, there’s no better time than the present! Most restaurants will have at least a few more health conscious options. If you can’t seem to find any of that, opt for baked or grilled instead of fried. Look for a salad with an oil based dressing instead of cream-based. Or the easiest yet, skip the soda and order a water with lemon or lime if you prefer a little flavor.
Snacking. Do you sit at your desk all day making goo-goo eyes at the vending machine down the hall hearing that sweet, salty, artery-clogging tasty bag of life-shortening hydrogenated fatty snacks call to you? Terrible, yet still so tempting. Don’t let yourself be seduced into making poor choices; be prepared! When that mid-morning or afternoon snack attack shows itself, grab your smart snack!
A quarter cup of almonds is perfect for a healthy, tasty snack. Craving something sweet? Try an apple with a bit of almond butter dip. Craving crunchy? Popcorn! Just be sure to choose snacks high in protein and fiber avoid snacks high in salt.
Now all these ideas for alternatives are great in theory, but as with most things, easier said than done. Don’t worry, there’s help for that too. If you could use a little accountability, there’s a ton of tools out there, so take a look and take advantage! My Fitness Pal is a great app that helps log and keep track of food, caloric intake and exercise. It has pretty cool features too like a barcode scanner that links the corresponding food directly to your food log.
If you prefer more personal interaction with other people on the same health journey, check out any fitness or health forum. Social media is positively inundated with motivated individuals looking to share their stories and inspire others as well. Daily, weekly, or monthly challenges are also a lot more fun when you have support and a little friendly competition.
If you’re newer to the game and need a little direction, search “Choose My Plate” in your browser. This website contains nutritional information on portions, daily intake recommendations, and interactive meal planning or logging. Be sure to follow them on Twitter for helpful tips or motivation.
Whether you’re a beginner, or an expert, take advantage of the tools available to help you be your healthiest, happiest self. Let the Institute For Functional Health be your most valuable tool yet. Explore all the benefits we have to offer. So if you’re searching for help to lose weight, lower blood pressure, sleep better, perform better and just overall feel better, stop guessing and come see us. You have everything to gain!