Monday, January 20, 2014

My Ten Easy, Health Food Subsitutions

Over the past few months, I've done a couple of different healthy eating/drinking challenges with different groups of friends. I've tried gluten free, sugar free, and have loaded up on water. I've found that generally each challenge is a little easier than before since it's not a huge shock to my system anymore. I've also found that I could never live "{Fill in the Blank} free" at all times. I like pizza. I like desserts. I like lots of things. I've found the key is to eat in moderation and then switch back to a challenge when I've fallen too far off the wagon.

I've also made a few substitutions to my everyday eating habits that I believe are keeping me more healthy than before. The best part is that they are not huge changes and I honestly don't even notice them anymore. So here are some of the top, easy, healthy food changes that I've made:

(1) Bread - I would never be able to permanently give up bread. I like sandwiches and I love how easy they are to prepare. However, I've switched to Sprouted Grain Ezekiel Bread. It's made with whole sprouted grains, is flour free, and has no refined sugars. It is a little drier than a normal, hearty bread but you get used to it. I keep it in the freezer to prolong the life of it.

(2) Peanut Butter and Jelly - I switched to natural peanut butter made of just roasted peanuts and salt. You can also get the salt free kind but I like it salty. I'm a peanut butter junky and never thought I'd be able to make the switch to natural but I have! I've also switched from grape jelly to spreadable fruit. I like grape and strawberry which can be easily found in your grocery store or Trader Joe's. Oh, and yes, PB&J is a staple of my diet. I'm kind of like a 4 year old kid.

(3) Tea - I used to drink my tea with 1 (or sometimes 2!) Splendas. For the last month, I've switched to drinking it black. There was a little adjustment time needed on that one but now I'm used to it and don't miss it too much. I did try adding honey and also lemon but found I like black better.

(4) Iced Coffee - I don't drink hot coffee but occasionally I like to treat myself to an iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts. I used to simply order a medium iced coffee with skim milk and sugar. When you order it that way they add 3 sugars. I started dropping it down to 2 sugars and now I'm down to 1. There's definitely no (super delicious) crunchy sugar on the bottom but it's still good.

(5) Diet Soda - I've stopped purchasing it at the store so we don't keep it in the house. I do still occasionally have it while out but my consumption of it has dropped considerably. I find that the soda is actually the thing that I crave and miss the most :(

(6) Water - I drink at least 80 ounces of water a day. For me, that's a totally attainable number since I'm always drinking. However, it is more challenging on freezing days so I often heat up water and drink it warm/hot. It keeps me warm and tricks my body into thinking I'm drinking something else. I know lots of people add lemon to it as well but I'm not a huge flavored water fan.

(7) Easy Personal Dinners - My go to, easy meal for myself at night used to be a Healthy Choice frozen pizza. Now instead I make a minute brown rice (in an individual container) and frozen veggies. It takes the same time to cook, is super easy, and is healthier.

(8) Condiments - Instead of honey mustard on my turkey sandwiches I've switched to hummus. It's sugar free and has some added nutrients. I've also been cutting back on my excessive use of ketchup (sadness).

(9) Flaxseed - I've started adding ground Flaxseed to lots of things for added nutrition and fiber. I use it in my greek yogurt, bread mixes, sauces, and even on my PB&Js!

(10) Snacks - I've ditched the Cheez Its, Pretzels, and other crackery type snacks and switched them for nuts and cheeses. I do make sure to measure out the nuts otherwise I find I'll easily eat more than a serving.

So there you have it - some of the changes that I've made to my diet to help keep me on track. I find that keeping in check on day to day stuff helps to let me splurge on other days and have treats.

These substitutions work best for me. What works best for you? I love new ideas!

This is my "I was bad all weekend" Monday morning smoothie
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