We all experience cravings from time to time but junk food horror stories are like a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. Experts in healthy eating share 10 life hacks how to start eating healthy and tasty.
- In baking recipes (anything from cakes to muffins) replace ½ of white flour with whole grain flour. You will add quite a lot of fiber (3.5g of fiber for each ¼ of cup), double selenium and magnesium, and add other essential micro- and macro elements to your diet. This promotes a better metabolism and enhances your feeling of fullness.
- Half of the fat (shortening, butter) may be substituted for liquid and healthier ingredients. For example, if you need 1 cup of shortening, divide this amount by 2 and add half a cup of mashed fruits, low-fat sour cream, yogurt or even juice. Your cake will have much fewer calories because each gram of fat contains 9 calories unlike 4 calories in protein and carbohydrates.
- Making scrambled eggs, puddings, pies replace half of the eggs with egg substitutes. So if the recipe requires 4 eggs, take only 2 and ½ of egg substitute (¼ of substitute equals 1 natural egg). Removing one egg, your dish loses 45 calories and you lose 213 mg of cholesterol.
- Substitute ½ of sugar for artificial sweeteners. You will twice reduce caloric intake (take away 48 calories for each spoon of sugar you did not add to your baking or drink).
- Choose low-fat or fat-free products. In supermarkets, there is a great choice of fat-free dairy products. Consider using light mayonnaise, fat-free sausages, low-fat poultry bacon. Fat-free ice-cream and yogurt are fine for making desserts. Make a healthier choice of liquid ingredients such as low-fat homemade chicken stock, wine, juice, milk and cream or low-fat sour cream. These are all good substitutes for fat ingredients in many recipes.
- Do not avoid “smart” fats. It has been scientifically proven that omega-3 fatty acids are good for our well-being. These acids are found in fatty fish (especially sea fish), rape oil, flaxseed oil, and flaxseed flour. Monounsaturated fats are also a healthy choice. Olive oil, almond, avocado are rich in such fats. All these products are as tasty as they are useful for our health as they help to prevent many cardiovascular diseases.
- Forget about deep frying. Whenever you can, roast food in the oven or fry in a pan as you will use less oil. Choose olive or rape oil, you will need about ½ tsp. for making one portion. Traditional cooking will help you to save hundreds of calories because ingredients absorb fats. Just imagine how healthier your dishes will be because 1 tbsp of oil contains 120 extra calories (13.5 g of fat).
- For making many dishes, you can use whole grains. It is true not only about coffee or flour as we have discussed at the very beginning. For example, when cooking cereal or pilaf, take brown rice instead of white milled rice. To make a stew or stuffed vegetables, use barley or oats. Grains are rich in fiber and it will help you to feel filled for a long time. Besides, fiber controls digestive processes.
- Eat only fresh products of good quality. Buy fresh garlic but not pickled, choose fresh herbs but not dried whenever possible. These fresh ingredients will add wonderful flavor to your dishes making any food taste amazing. Fresh fish means that it was caught right in front of you. You also may want to use fat-free cheese, for example, Cheddar. All these ingredients are key points to your successful cooking.
- Try to avoid any extra ingredients. You may reduce, at least twice, chocolate shavings, butter in stews, glaze in multi-layer cakes (cover only the top layer with glaze). You can substitute glaze in cupcakes with caster sugar. Reducing the glaze in half, you will significantly decrease the amount of calories. For example, take 2 spoons instead of 4 and you will take away 130 extra calories. Each spoon of chocolate savings you do not use means minus 50 calories in your diet.
Conclusion: do not be afraid to experiment! No man is indispensable and no ingredient is indispensable. Substitute red meat with fish, butter with olive oil, sour cream with non-fat yogurt. Combine things and stay healthy!