So many people have this misconception that if a food is healthy, it doesn't taste good. News flash... not true! Food doesn't have to be full of preservatives, fats, and sugars to taste good. It just takes a little practice and experimenting, and there are so many great resources to use to learn how to do so. So I'm going to share a few of my favorites!
1. Using different herbs and spices to season food: It is VERY rare for me to add salt to my food. Ever. This is especially important for people who have high blood pressure... not that I do, but it's still not good to consume too much sodium. Sodium is naturally found in most foods, especially fruits and vegetables (since they grow in soil). This doesn't mean there is a significant amount, but it's there and contributes to daily sodium intake. And you do need sodium for normal body functioning, just not too much! To prevent consuming too much sodium, try seasoning meats, veggies, pasta, potatoes, etc. with herbs and spices you like. Fresh is ALWAYS better, but if it comes from a jar, make sure no sodium is added!!
2. Hummus instead of mayo: My favorite sandwich is a PB&J, but when I do make a sandwich with deli meat, I use hummus instead of mayo. Less fattening and more protein! And it taste delicious too!
3. Use Greek yogurt instead of cream: Greek yogurt (plain) has so many great uses. It can be used in soups, salads, dips, entrees, toppings, smoothies.... you just have to think outside the box a little. It's low/non-fat and gives your food an extra boost of protein! My 3 favorite uses are in 1) in smoothies 2) as a replacement for sour cream and 3) as a veggie dip (just mix with ranch powder and use as a dip for parties or an afternoon snack!)
4. Low/Non-fat instead of full fat: This comes into place primarily with dairy products. Swapping low-fat or skim milk for 2% or whole milk can help reduce the risk of heart problems (and aid in weight loss!) The same applies to cheese, yogurt, coffee creamer, etc. I recently discovered FairLife milk. It is ultra pasteurized, so it has fewer carbs, more protein, and more calcium than regular milk. And it taste really good too! I also tried a new yogurt called Sigi's. It's Icelandic yogurt and has a similar texture to Greek yogurt, but a little creamier. Definitely worth trying! However, it's difficult to find, but I got it at Whole Foods.
5. Oil based dressings instead of cream based dressings: Salads are great, but sometimes they can have more calories than a BigMac if you aren't careful. Most of the calories from a salad come from extra toppings like bacon, cheese, and croutons, but the biggest culprit to extra calories and fat is the dressing! My recommendation is choosing an oil based dressing like a balsamic vinaigrette over a creamy dressing like ranch, blue cheese, or French. Even just olive oil with vinegar is a great alternative when eating out and options are limited!
Making small changes/swaps like these can help improve your eating habits and make for a healthier lifestyle. Remember, that you can't make a lot of changes at once. It takes time and small steps. Once you make small changes that will help you reach your goals, they will eventually become a habit!
Being healthy is much more than hitting the gym and eating right or being skinny. It's how you take care of yourself on a day to day basis. Being healthy isn't just physical, it's mental as well. I do my best to stay active and eat right and over the last two years, I've noticed a big improvement in my health. In college, staying healthy can be tough. I got sick at least once a semester, and at one point even had pneumonia. After that, I decided it was time to step it up! It took me about 8 months to feel back to my normal self and lose the few pounds that I put on during that time due to steroids and lack of physical activity. I am a chronic asthmatic, which didn't exactly help my case. I've always tried to do my best to live healthy, but I wasn't doing enough. I was exercising regularly and eating as best as I could for living on a college campus, and looking back, I wasn't pushing myself and taking care of myself like I should have been.
I've lived majority of my life on medication due to my severe asthma and allergies. My asthma is triggered by weather change, and I spent many, many days in the hospital as a kid. It was really tough, but my doctor always encouraged me to stay active and reminded me that I had to potential to grow out of this as I got older. While I haven't grown out of it, it's under control. Once I really started taking better care of myself, I felt a difference, but I was still having to take my daily maintenance medicine. Because of my history (...like going into respiratory arrest at 6 years old), I never really saw myself being able to be as active as I am now, and I certainly never imagined that I would complete 2 half marathons. I carried my inhaler with my for the races, but thankfully didn't have to use it! When I last saw my doctor in February, I was really feeling good and asked about potentially not taking my medicine during the summer (when I don't really have problems) to see how I felt. I stopped taking it in May and I haven't needed it since (knock on wood!!)
My point is that being healthy isn't just eating right and working out. It's what you do to constantly improve yourself. When I first started running, I could barely run a mile without being completely winded, but this was while I was still getting back in shape after having pneumonia. So I decided to set goals small weekly goals for myself with my ultimate going being a half marathon, which has now turned into a full marathon!
It took a lot of effort to get some of those miles in. There were some days where I didn't want to do it or I wanted to cut my run short by a mile, but I knew that wouldn't get me to my goal. I knew I had to push myself. I had all kinds of workouts that I planned and motivational quotes to help me get through them! I think my favorite is "pain is weakness leaving the body." I know that when I get through any tough situation, I'm that much stronger.
I strive every day to make healthy choices because I know one of the best things I can do for myself is invest in my health. Everything from eating right and working out to washing my makeup off every night before bed no matter how tired or lazy I feel. I am the only person who can do this; no one can do it for me. I can turn to people for help and advice, but ultimately, it's my choices now that effect my future and I want a healthy and happy one!
Now that fall has arrived and with the holidays right around the corner, staying on track may be a little more challenging. This is where we usually allow ourselves to cave and say we will work it off next week at the gym. Realistically that doesn't always happen. With Halloween almost here and candy on almost every aisle and pumpkin spice everything, we are more than likely to stray from our usual routines. It's good to enjoy the flavors of fall, but over-doing it is what will get us in trouble. Going to Starbucks and getting a Pumpkin Spiced Latte every day is going to rack up calories very quickly! Even if you order it skinny, it's 260 calories for a grande and exactly why it should be saved for an occasional treat! A good alternative to this though is the Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer by Coffee-Mate. Another alternative, is just making your regular coffee with Half-&-Half and adding Pumpkin Pie Spice to it... this will save lots of calories and added sugar!
With the delicious aromas of cakes, pies, and cookies at home, school, or work, we will easily be tempted to eat more things that we know we shouldn't. Eating these treats is fine, just in moderation! One small cupcake or one cookie isn't bad, but when we search for the cupcake with the most icing or the biggest cookie in the batch, that's where the problem lies, especially if you eat more than one. Sharing with is a good option too!
Here are some tips to help you keep on track for fall!
~ Add Pumpkin Pie Spice to you coffee, tea, yogurt, and smoothies
~When buying candy, purchase the "fun" size
~If baking cookies or cupcakes, make smaller sizes and don't over-do the icing
~ Purchase and eat seasonal fruits and vegetables - check out seasonal fruits and vegetables in your area here: http://www.sustainabletable.org/seasonalfoodguide/