This is the third in a series on Healthy Living, focusing on healthy eating.
My best piece of advice for people trying to eat healthier: never stop eating. If a diet focuses only on NOT eating certain foods, then that diet will last only as long as my tummy is full from the last pre-diet meal.
So, a key tool to a healthy lifestyle for this busy mom is to substitute, not starve.
It’s been a couple of hours since you ate breakfast (if you eat breakfast) and that donut or cookie or candy bar looks really good right now. Instead of merely ignoring my growling stomach, I keep a supply of healthy, but yummy, snacks, in which I happily indulge.
My list includes apples with peanut butter, a granola bar with dried fruit, hard-boiled egg and some carrot sticks, a handful of peanuts and dates. I usually use fruit to satisfy my sweet tooth. And protein tends to fill my stomach and stave off further cravings.
If your goal is merely to eat healthy, you may focus too much on a bland serving of spinach. If you focus too much on food tasting good, you may reach for the cheese and push away the broccoli. But a focus on both makes for a more successful eating style that will last longer—hopefully for life.
So, make starches the whole wheat variety. Whole wheat spaghetti noodles topped with a yummy tomato-based sauce with a good helping of Italian seasoning is a good, healthy comfort food. Whole wheat tortillas for wraps filled with chicken, avocados and veggies taste good, fill the tummy and provide energy throughout the day. Combine brown or red rice with vegetables for a healthy stir fry.
Substitute in recipes. Use skim milk instead of heavy creams. Beans are a healthier than red meat in soups, and can taste just as good with the right seasoning. Whole wheat flour or oatmeal can be used instead of white flour to thicken sauces and soups. Fresh vegetables instead of canned ones are your best bet in making casseroles. Olive or canola oil should be used instead of butter.
Pick one healthy main dish. Then my next secret is to pick one or two sides that don’t require cooking. Salads with lots of yummy toppings such as fruit, veggies and a homemade honey mustard dressing (just combine equal parts mustard and honey) are easy to make and healthy to eat. Fruit makes a delicious side dish with little prep time and no added preservatives, sugar, or oil. The less cooked your food is, the healthier it is, and the easier it is to prepare.
I know I should padlock the refrigerator after dark. But on those nights when I just need a little something to enjoy with my favorite pre-bedtime show, I pull from my list of healthy, but yummy desserts.
Here are a few favorites: hot, decaf tea sweetened with just a teaspoon of sugar; toast with cinnamon; plain yogurt with a sprinkling of granola and a cut-up banana; frozen grapes; dried fruit.
If you’re like me, you try to simply eat nothing, hoping the craving will go away. Then unhealthy options will scream your name and you’ll end up tearing toward the kitchen. You throw all sorts of sweets down your mouth before you even realize what happened.
Take it from me. Eat. Enjoy.Just choose healthy and yummy food.
photo credit, em>Pink Sherbet Photography