Love soda/pop/soft-drinks? A 12 oz can of Coke or other soft-drink contains about 150 calories and about 39 – 40 grams of sugar. That’s around eight to nine teaspoons of sugar. Think about this a moment *Jeopardy music here whilst you thank on it, y’allses* Substituting even one sugary soft-drink a day for a nice glass of water would save you 1050 calories a week; 4200 a month; over 50,000 calories a year *more Jeopardy music whilst you thank about this* One can a day swapped for a nice glass of water—you can do that, can’t you?
- Substitute white rice for brown rice. I try to stay away from “white flour foods” and instead go for whole grains/wheats, etc. And as well, I do not eat white rice and instead have brown rice. When flour is “enriched” it sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? But “enriched” means the manufacturers fiddled with it, taking out the good stuff and leaving the “ain’t much in here to shout about” stuff. Same with white rice, for manufacturers remove the germ/bran parts of it—the good for you parts of it. In the refining of white rice, so many of the nutrients are lost. Brown rice has more of a “chew” to it, but I like that. It also has more taste. Try it, even if, as above, you substitute just one brown rice meal for your white rice meal a week (for starters?).
- Try adding fresh or frozen, no sugar added, fruit to your yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal. It may take some time to be use to eating less sugar in your diet, but once you “train” your taste buds, you will not miss the overly sweet taste of so much added sugar. In fact, things will taste sweeter and you will end up eating less of the sugary-sweet-stuff. Eating sugar is insidious—we don’t realize/recognize the affects/effects it has on our bodies, our minds, our over-all health and well-being. Not only for added calories that we do not need, but our energy levels. Any time and any way you can cut back on your added sugar is always a good thing, always. I guarantee you will feel a difference, see a difference, in how you feel and how you look. Try it.
As above, substitute white flour for whole-wheat flour. There are also other flours to try: bean flour, brown rice flour, quinoa flour, etc. Experiment. I bake the best cornbread using locally ground cornmeal and wheat/bean (or whatever I have on hand) flour. I never use white flour in my cornbread, ever. I rarely use white flour at all. Substitute at least one “white flour meal” with wheat, bean, or grain flour.
- Eat slowly. We tend to gobble our food and before we know it, we’ve eaten more than what we need. Take your time. Savor the food, the tastes.
- Don’t eat to “Fullness” – eat to satiation. This takes some thinking on your part. Use no. 5 as your guide. Eat slowly and be mindful. Stop before you are “full.” You’ll feel better. We do not have to eat until we are stuffed, and we should not. Your next meal, pay attention to what, how much, and how quickly you eat. For at least one meal a day, eat just until you are satisfied. Then, two meals a day, . . . etc.
- Fresh food you’ve prepared yourself allows you to control the ingredients and the portions. Even the busiest person can find a way to prepare meals that do not take much time. Prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them. Or peruse foodie sites and magazines for quick dinner/supper ideas. Think about it: by time you drive to the fast-food place, idle in line (using up your gas!), order your food, wait for it to be “prepared” (warmed up and slapped together by an assembly line of people), pay for it, and drive home—how much time have you really saved? Yup. And if it’s about “I hate to cook” then, again, try to substitute one night of your “fast-food budget” to learn how to prepare a healthy dish that you enjoy preparing and eating. Or find a restaurant that will prepare healthier alternatives that also allows take-out.
Don’t shop for groceries while hungry. This is an oldie but a goodie. We tend to go for snacky sugary salty foods when we are hungry. Go with a list, too. Be mindful of what you pick up and put in your basket.
- Try dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Substitute at least one chocolate candy dessert with dark chocolate, and the darker the better. Dark chocolate has less sugar and less fat, and is a kick-arse antioxidant. Cocoa bean in its natural state is good for us, but it is bitter; however, the more sugar and fats added, the less healthy it is for you. Yes, I like a little milk chocolate from time-to-time, but I’ve substituted near all my chocolate for dark, and sometimes as high as 85%. White chocolate is not really chocolate—it has no cocoa and is the least nutritious. I try to have a square of dark chocolate a few times a week.
- Yes you can eat healthfully and still have yummy food. You do not have to think of “healthy eating” as “no taste,” and you shouldn’t. There is a wealth of information out there to help you with recipes, dinner/supper ideas, etc. Stretch yourself, try new things! Substituting one foodstuff/drink/meal at a time is a great way to start!