With so many trendy fasts or diets on the market today, it can seem that the only solution for weight loss is extreme measures such as starving yourself. The reality is that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be extreme.
Sometimes, all we need are simple substitutions with the foods we regularly eat to help us lose weight, reduce calories, burn that unwanted fat, lower blood pressure and eat a more balanced diet each day.
Say yes to spinach in your salads
If you have already included salads into your daily diet, then pat yourself on the back. However, not all green-leafy vegetables are created equal. If you want to get the most out of the vitamins and minerals in your salad, the you should add raw spinach. Spinach has almost 3 times more iron and folic acid than lettuce, which means more healthy cells and blood with every single bite.
Drink water instead of other types of beverages
Are you thirsty? Instead of reaching for your favorite carbonated beverage or flavored drink, go grab a tall glass of water. Carbonated beverages are high in sugars and empty calories (zero nutritional value), so instead of considering these beverages as a way to quench your thirst, think of them as a treat to occasionally be enjoyed but in moderation. If you are craving something carbonated, then have a glass of sparkling water as a low caloric option and you can always add a touch of lemon for extra flavor.
Use unsalted butter
We all love butter and use it for cooking, baking even smeared on toast in the morning. Avoiding butter completely is almost impossible, but we do have an option when purchasing butter. We can opt for using unsalted butter, this doesn’t mean to say that it is healthier than the other but it will help to reduce the quantity of sodium we intake long-term.
Eat whole-wheat bran crackers when choosing crackers
If your kids are complaining around 4 in the afternoon that they’re hungry, it can be easy to give them some potato chips or something of the sort, but a healthier solution is putting some whole-wheat bran crackers on the table to munch on. This gives our brain and body the energy it needs, plus it keeps your tummy healthy. Sometimes when we open a bag of chips or normal crackers we are just craving something crunchy, that is why whole-wheat bran crackers are the best option because they are crunchy and at the same time add some extra fiber to get our digestive system moving. An additional bonus to eating whole grains is that it maintains a healthy, happy heart.
Choose seasonal fruits for dessert
One of the greatest challenges while trying to lose weight is saying no to a delicious dessert, but a ripe piece of fruit can be just as indulging. Replace that brownie with a fresh piece of fruit and take advantage of seasonal fruits instead of candy bars or other sweets. You will be able to satisfy your sweet tooth but at the same time store up some vitamins and essential nutrients for your body.
Use fresh lemon juice as a dressing
If you often use blue cheese or mayonnaise in your salad dressings, it can quickly transform your low-fat meal into a high-fat meal. Interchange your ingredients by using fresh lemon juice as the main ingredient in your salad dressings and instantly say goodbye to tons of hidden calories.
Use skimmed or non-fat dairy products instead of whole milk or cream
Save yourself the extra calories and fat just by a simple switch from whole milk and cream to non-fat or skimmed milk. Even if you only switch to 1% from 2% milk you would be saving yourself more than have the calories in every latte you have. Now if you decide to do a more drastic switch, you can substitute soy for dairy, but it will be low fat but 20% more calories than skim milk.
Use fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables
Incorporating vegetables into your diet is half of the battle on losing weight and keeping it off, but however, now is your chance to take it one step further by avoiding adding extra sodium into your diet by accident. Processed vegetables such as when canned are often a high source of sodium, since it has been added as a preservative. For this reason, try to use fresh or frozen vegetables as much as possible. If you tend to use canned vegetables, make sure you rinse them off before using to eliminate the excess sodium.
Only drink beverages that are 100% fruit juice and not from concentrate.
Nothing is better than a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice each morning, but being realistic, who has the time to squeeze their own orange juice each morning? For this reason, when choosing purchased juices, look for products that say they are 100% fruit and not from concentrate. This is the best choice because it will most likely have more vitamins and minerals, including the fruit’s natural pulp and tasting like it was made that morning in your house. Flavored beverages often have added sweeteners such as sugar and artificial flavoring. Make sure you check out the ingredient label to verify that it really contains real fruit.
Use spices instead of salt
We all know how tempting it can be to reach for that salt shaker when our meal tastes bland and boring, but try the spice challenge by replacing salt with herbs and spices. Excess salt (sodium) can cause hypertension (high blood pressure) that increases the risks of heart disease. Protect your heart and arteries by seasoning your meals with pepper, spices and a variety of herbs. Before using the spices in your cupboard, just double check that none of them contain salt or garlic salt in the ingredient list.