I love to cook, and as anyone who has looked over my recipes can see, my focus has been on lighter meals. I have been trying to implement a healthier eating style for myself and my family, especially over the past few months. My husband and I are both trying to lose weight, and eat healthier overall, not just for ourselves, but also to be good examples for our three year old.
It seemed like a good idea to share some of my tips and tricks healthier eating:
- Cook from scratch more often. You will know what is going into your meal, and you will avoid many of the chemicals using in processing.
- Stock your pantry with healthy oil choices. Switching to heart healthy fats like olive oil can help keep your cholesterol in balance.
- Double up on your vegetables. Serve at least two veggies at each meal. The more you fill up on nutrient and fiber full vegetables, the fewer calories you are likely to consume.
- Keep washed fruit always on hand. A bowl of fresh fruit, looks great on your counter or dining table, and the more readily available it is, the more likely your family will opt for it over a junk food snack.
- Use whole grains where you can. Sneak whole grains into your families diet, in ways they won’t mind. Serve a bowl of popcorn along with your children’s sandwiches, instead of potato chips at lunch time. It is a whole grain, and the kids won’t even realize it.
- All sugars are not created equal. While the calorie count may be the same, how your body metabolizes sugars isn’t. Our bodies crave sugar, but are not built to handle many of the sugars we use daily. Less refined sugars like honey, maple syrup and natural cane sugar, should still be used in moderation, but they are likely to quell a sugar craving better than more highly refined sugars…. of course simple fresh fruit is best.
- Calculate how much sodium you are taking in. Do this just for a couple days and you may be shocked, at how much salt you are actually ingesting. I am not suggesting you go on a low sodium diet, but it can be challenging to just keep sodium levels to the daily recommended levels, if you tend to eat a lot of processed foods. Don’t assume, just because you don’t pick up the salt shaker, your intake is at a healthy level.
- Use less salt in your diet, by zesting things up with a splash of lemon or vinegar. While cooking, make use of the spice rack to add flavor without sodium. Keep kosher or sea salt by the stove. It is easier to monitor how much you are adding, so you can just add as much as you need, and they are lower in sodium.
- Get rid of the soda. My husband and I pretty much quit soda 2 years ago. We occasionally still drink it as a treat, but once you step away from the addiction for awhile, you won’t want to go back. Whether you drink diet or non-diet soda, we all know it isn’t good for us.
- Pre-portioned meals are your friend, especially if you are getting a diet started. Stock the freezer with light pre-packaged frozen meals that appeal to you. Occasionally, grab a portion of whatever the rest of the family is eating, split it in two and either add a big serving of veggies or a salad, and you have two calories friendly meals on hand.
These are just a few tips, to get you going in the right direction. Do you have any special tips you would like to share?