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One thing that deters people from making dietary changes that will result in weight loss is that they don’t want to give up their favorite foods.
I can relate…
Most of us have a list of comfort foods that our moms made for us when we were young and which seem like the perfect cold-weather fare to enjoy.
But then when we think of making healthy diet and lifestyle changes, we just can’t see ourselves making any progress if we’re still eating these fat and calorie-laden meals. So what do we do? We cut them entirely out of our daily menu and deprive ourselves of the flavors and textures of foods that we enjoy most.
A better and more balanced alternative to skipping favorite meals that we grew up on is to find low-fat and healthier versions of these foods. There is no need to give up our guilty pleasures or even feel guilty at all when we have so many options for redoing our favorite recipes and watching serving sizes.
Below find some useful tricks and substitutions.
Modified Mac and Cheese
Whose mouth doesn’t water uncontrollably as a pan of mac and cheese comes out of the oven, bubbling hot and ready to enjoy in all of its savory goodness?
You may feel that it’s a cruel joke to talk about mac and cheese while searching for healthy meals that will promote weight loss. But you can still this and other rich foods while aiming for weight loss. The idea is to try to adjust yours a bit, and be sure to control portions.
Here’s how to healthy up your mac and cheese. You can do all of these, or pick and choose your favorite tricks.
- Substitute whole-grain pasta for white pasta.
You’ll find whole wheat, brown rice, and other healthy whole-grain pasta alternatives right in the pasta aisle of your local grocery store. If you want a healthy hack for your mac, then choose one of these to pair with the cheese.
- Reduce the amount of cheese.
You don’t have to opt for low-fat cheese if it doesn’t taste right to you. But if you lessen the amount of cheese in the recipe, and instead add a cup or two of chicken or bone broth, you can lower the fat content while raising the nutrition value.
- Add yogurt.
Yogurt is extremely healthy for you, and eating it especially with regular dairy like cheese, can help your body process and digest your milk products more easily. Stir some plain yogurt into your mac and cheese before serving. You likely won’t notice more than a slight tang of a difference in taste, which you may like.
What else can you do to cut the fat in your winter meals?
- Go for leaner cuts of meat.
Whether it’s choosing chicken breast for your recipe instead of thighs or legs, or making sure to have the butcher pack up some ground beef that’s at least 90% lean, you definitely have options in the meat department if you are trying to reduce fat intake and lose weight.
- Replace ground beef in your recipes with lean ground turkey.
Turkey has a higher nutritional content than ground beef. Plus, if you select a brand that does not have a high-fat content you will be making the healthy choice for your weight loss journey. Turkey chili made with white beans and chicken broth is a fall favorite that will help you stay on track with your healthy eating and weight loss plan.
Try the meatless version of some of your favorite meals.
- Don’t want to give up taco Tuesday?
There are so many different recipes for tacos. In fact, you can put just about anything into a hard or soft taco shell, pile on some healthy fixings like salsa, lettuce, tomato, and avocado, and enjoy. Think fish or seafood, black beans, egg, avocado, healthy slot, or any combination of those foods. Also replace the full-fat sour cream with Greek yogurt, which is packed with creamy goodness but contains less fat. And finally… pour on the hot sauce! Hot peppers speed up metabolism which is great if you’re watching your weight.
- French fries don’t have to be fried… or potatoes.
However, if you’re a spud lover, DO eat them because they have definite health benefits. Just take care to enjoy in moderation. Potatoes contain essential nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and other minerals.
Little-known fact, potatoes also contain vitamin C. Instead of having fast food French fries, slice up some Yukon gold potatoes and place in a Pyrex dish to bake along with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite seasonings such as rosemary or another type of herb, garlic and or onions, salt, and pepper.
If you’re more serious about keeping things low carb and would like a substitute for white potatoes, you can do faux fries on a sheet pan. Your healthy alternative can be delicious root vegetables such as parsnips, turnips, and sweet potatoes. These deliver wonderful nutrition for your body and taste great drizzled with a little olive oil and roasted in the oven.
If you try some of their healthier versions, let us know in the comments…
Loving Life — The Reboot!
This article provides general information and discussion about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having.