It can be way easier said than done to commit to a healthy lifestyle — I’ll let you know when I’m ready to give up pizza & beer nights, or treating myself to baked goods and sweet wine, or to forego sleeping in for a trip to the gym (never). I try to never banish anything from my diet, simply try to be healthy most of the time so that indulging is always guilt-free. How can you really enjoy life if you’re constantly cutting out happy things?! I’m a firm believe you can still eat what you want, enjoy life, and be a little healthier overall with some simple habits.
You don’t have to swear off carbs forever. Just swap out your white bread for a delicious whole grain loaf, rich in fiber and protein that will keep you feeling full and also acts as an aid for digestion. Since white bread is made from refined grains, the bran and germ in the bread is eliminated in the process — meaning you’re losing vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and fiber when you opt for white bread instead of whole grain.
Obviously, you won’t be able to substitute oil for butter every single time you need it, but it’s definitely a healthier option for everyday use. Olive oil is full of essential fatty acids and antioxidants, some of which can help to fight off disease and prove to be beneficial to your hair and skin. It’s also highly resistant to heat, meaning it’s perfect to cook with.
OK, I’m aware that I did say “everything in moderation,” but I’m also super anti-soda, so I think it’s for the best. Soda is terrible for our bodies: loaded with sugar and empty calories, terrible for our teeth, complexions, and waistlines. I actually recently read that Mountain Dew has a higher pH than battery acid. You can’t possibly desire a better diet for yourself if you refuse to cut back on soda consumption. There are numerous better ways to get a sugar fix, and if it’s the caffeine you’re after, reach for something with real antioxidants and way less calories, like a hot cup of black coffee or some freshly steeped green tea.
The more you cook at home, the more mindful you are when preparing what goes into your body. At restaurants we don’t know the whole process, meaning we will probably turn a blind eye to what goes into each meal and hope for the best. The truth is that it’s not always the best ingredients used or prepared in the healthiest way. Even if you don’t know how to cook, buying groceries and cooking for yourself will pay off in the long run, and it’s so fun to discover your personal cooking style and create some signature dishes!
A lot of store-bought dips or dressings are loaded with sneaky saturated fats… meaning even if you’re eating veggies, that dip you’re indulging in isn’t necessarily healthy. But you don’t need to nix dips forever, just be cautious as to which ones you’re choosing. Try a homemade hummus in place of sour-cream based dips or store-bought chile con queso. If you think creatively, there’s always a healthier substitute!
I love fried chicken as much as the next guy, but we all know it’s pretty bad. Whether you’re preparing a meal at home or ordering out at a restaurant, pretty much anything is better than fried. Look for things on the menu that are steamed, sautéed, grilled — even roasted! Fried food is dipped in hot oil containing multitudes of fat that gets absorbed into whatever you’re cooking. It might be delicious (despite how it’s done) but in the long run, steering clear of the fried foods most of the time will be much better for you overall.
Just because power-foods are good for you doesn’t mean they aren’t delicious too. Foods like lentils, kale, berries, broccoli, and dark chocolate have various health benefits and taste fantastic. Incorporating foods like these into your everyday diet can introduce multiple advantages over time, leaving you feeling and looking better.
Speaking of power foods, I’m pretty sure that eggs will win all of the awards, hands down. Delicious and nutritious, packed with protein and flavor, eggs are highly versatile and never go out of style for good reason. Make an omelet with your favorite veggies and some fresh cracked pepper, or fry them up and eat them with a hearty toast, or boil them or scramble! Whichever your preferred method, eating eggs more often will keep you in good health.
Which of these are your favorites? Let me know your personal tweaks!