Making simple changes to the foods you keep stocked in your refrigerator can be a great place to start when you are trying to lose weight. Easy swaps can help you on your path to a healthier lifestyle.
Start with the condiments. Ketchup is full of sugar, so replace it with hot sauce (Cholupa is my favorite) or salsa both of which are full of flavor but don't add sugar to your meal. Replace creamy condiments, like mayonnaise, which are full of fat, with fat-free mustard. There is no point in eating a salad drenched with unhealthy fats and additional calories. Replace your dressing with a bottle of great olive oil, Dijon mustard, fresh lemon and red wine vinegar to make your own healthy seasoning.
The most important swap is saying goodbye to soft drinks. Rather than do what they are suppose to do (hydrate you), they actually make you thirstier, boost your craving for sweets and cause bloating, not to mention the fact that they may contain harmful chemicals. Replace them with iced green tea for a healthier way to stay hydrated and satisfied.
For breakfast, replace your sugary cereal and milk with steel cut oats. Steel cut oats are full of fiber and good-for-you carbs, which will give you energy. Cereal has more fat and sugar per calorie, leaving you hungrier.
When it comes to lunch, replace white bread, which is full of empty calories, with multi-grain bread. Multi-grain bread contains fiber to help you feel fuller, as well as other essential vitamins and minerals. Stay away from processed deli meats that are full of nitrates, and instead choose fresh roasted turkey or fresh grilled chicken.
When it comes to snack time, throw out the sugar-laden fruits like cherries, grapes and pineapples, and replace them with raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. Rich in antioxidants, berries are lower in sugar and calories than their fruit counterparts. In place of greasy potato chips and French onion dip, try a non-fat hummus dip with crudités to save you up to 22 grams of fat. Try my recipe:
- 1 1/2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- In a food processor, combine all ingredients.
- Process until well blended.
- Use immediately, or refrigerate up to 3 hours.
For dinner, choose a lean, clean protein in place of something higher in calories. Switch red meat with fresh chicken, turkey or tuna. Switching to a diet high in lean protein will allow you to maintain a constant energy level without feeling hungry.
For dessert, replace ice cream or frozen yogurt with natural ice pops or a dark chocolate bar. Natural ice pops don't have added sugar or corn syrup and lack the fat found in these other frozen desserts. Dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure and is packed with antioxidants. Be sure to limit yourself to one serving size though!
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