Making healthy informed food choices can be hard enough, but things get even more complicated as we are constantly bombarded with advertising and marketing gimmicks that present unhealthy fattening foods as healthy. If you are struggling to lose weight it becomes all though more important to be aware of what's in your food and if those so called low fat foods are actually low in fat. Find out how you can make healthy food choices in different situations and how you can come up with genuinely healthy meal plans.
Pan Frying vs Deep Frying
If you are on a healthy eating plan but crave some kind of junk food there are still some healthy options. On your cheat day, you might not be looking for the healthiest of foods, but you don't have to choose something that's unhealthy. Some of the best or most popular comfort foods are finger fries, potato wedges, fish fingers or fried chicken. Go ahead and indulge on your cheat day but instead of deep frying these foods pan fry them. Having a cheat day with deep fried foods is the best way to sabotage your weight loss plan.
Mayonnaise vs Greek Yogurt
Dietary changes are critical to weight loss and this typically involves eating more leafy greens and fruits. Your meals now have to include a lot more salads and a lot less refined or processed food and meat. If you're not habituated to eating fresh fruits and salads, odds are that you douse your salads in mayonnaise to make them palatable. This doesn't really do you much good as most varieties of mayo are highly fattening. Instead, replace the mayo with non-fat Greek yogurt. It works just great as a salad dressing and won't give you nearly as much calories.
Chocolate Cereal vs Oatmeal
Don't fill up on a bowl of chocolate flavored cereal or other heavily processed cereals. Instead, opt for whole cereals and oats. Oatmeal is one of the best breakfast choices as it's not only low in calories, it's also high in dietary fiber, potassium, and omega 3 fatty acids. Beta-glucan, a type of fiber present in oats, actually helps to lower bad cholesterol levels! It's no wonder that oats has become the breakfast of champions.
Sev Puri vs Chickpeas
It isn't uncommon to crave a midday snack while you're at work and the most common choice of snacks across offices in India remains chaat, with foods like sev puri being dominant. These are not exactly healthy or low-fat choices and what's worse is that they will make you crave even more food. Instead of opting for the popular chaat, and junk foods try to fill up on boiled chickpeas or 'channa'. Chickpeas are low in calories, high in protein, fiber and folate and just one small serving of chickpeas will keep you satiated for hours.
Bacon and Eggs vs Egg Sandwich
While bacon and eggs may be a delicacy, it is extremely fattening and will send your cholesterol levels through the roof. Egg sandwiches make for a tasty healthy alternative. Again, it depends on what kind of an egg sandwich you opt for. If you fill it up with fried egg, mayo, butter and cheese it will do you no good. Instead, make a hardboiled egg, some low-fat Greek yogurt and beat it up to make a tasty egg paste that you can slather onto your bread. Throw in some lettuce and finely chopped capsicum and you're good to go.
Flavored Yogurt vs Fresh Fruit Yogurt
Flavored yogurt is one of the fastest selling 'health foods', but is it really a healthy choice for any fitness enthusiast? While pre-packaged flavored yogurts are marketed as the ultimate health food the truth couldn't be further away. Almost all flavored yogurts, low-fat varieties included, contain sugar, fructose, corn syrup, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners. In addition, rarely do they contain actual fruit but are instead loaded with high-calorie fruit-juice concentrates. This might explain why you've been packing on the pounds despite sticking with 'low-fat foods'. Switch to plain yogurts and add your choice of fruits and some sugar or honey.
Packaged Fruit Juices vs Fresh Fruit Juice
Fruit juices are a great option for anyone looking to get all of the health benefits of fruits without actually eating them! They are also healthy way to boost your nutritional intake and can be extremely refreshing, but most of the labels on branded fruit juices are extremely leading. While most claim to be natural and 100% organic, very few actually are. Most store bought juices are made with synthetic ingredients, artificial flavoring, added sugars and almost no fiber. Try to make your own fruit juices at home, using fresh fruits or if necessary frozen fruits.
With a food culture obsessed with every meal tasting like a Sunday special, it's no surprise that some of the healthiest foods are turned into fat delivery systems! This is especially true when it comes to soups, which most of us regard as healthy foods, perfect not just for convalescing patients but also for weight loss and fitness enthusiasts. Most chowder soups, potato soups with a cream base and soups like lobster bisque and broccoli & cheese soup are extremely fattening. Opt for broths and homemade soups like carrot and tomato soup, chicken noodle soup and mushroom barley soup instead.
Ketchup has come to be so widely used that you will most likely find a bottle of ketchup in every household. Tomato ketchup is often marketed as healthy, natural and as being loaded with the goodness of tomatoes, but this couldn't be further from the truth. While ketchup does contain some nutritional value, it is also loaded with sugar and salt, which means that it packs on the pounds and is bad for anyone with weight problems, diabetes or heart disease. To ensure that your ketchup is healthy, make it yourself at home, restricting the amount of sugar and salt.
Diet Sodas vs Regular Sodas
When it comes to diet sodas and regular sodas, it really is a case of there being no winners! Diet sodas are deceptively marketed as being healthy and as a viable option to those struggling with weight loss but unwilling to give up their sodas. In such cases the easy way out isn't really the best option. Ditch the sodas altogether and instead quench your thirst with water or natural fresh fruit juices. Most studies so far suggest that diet sodas are just as harmful as regular sodas and can contribute to weight gain and may even increase your appetite.
Soy Sauce vs Soya
Soy sauce is often thought to be healthy because of the relatively high level of antioxidants in the food. These levels are, however, extremely low when compared to other soy foods. What makes soya sauce unhealthy is the high sodium content. Moreover, it also often contains chemicals, some of which may be carcinogenic. Only use organic soy sauce without added chemicals and salt. Including soya beans in your diet would be even better because of their high protein, fiber and vitamin content.
Salads are generally recommended as a healthy meal choice, but this is usually in the context of traditional vegetable and fruit salads, not meat feasts. Nevertheless, salads that also include meat in them can be extremely healthy. It all depends on the type of sauce or salad dressing used and the meat in the salad. Skip the salads with fatty mayo and bacon and ham. Such processed meats and red meats are the most fattening. Instead opt for healthy Mediterranean style salads with fish like tuna and veggies with a salad dressing like olive oil.
Always read the labels on food products you buy and go for varieties that have less added salts and sugar and other artificial flavoring. Sometimes eating healthy is all about common sense choices. If you're treating yourself to a hamburger, use a lean ground beef hamburger patty instead of a regular patty. Buy fresh pineapple instead of canned varieties that are soaked in syrup with added sugar and preservatives. Choose tuna cans with water instead of those packed in oil. Consume fresh peanuts, almonds, cashews and other nuts as opposed to packaged, roasted and salted varieties.
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