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Are you wondering if there are ways to make your favorite foods healthier? If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that being fit and in shape is extremely important to me. You should also know that I’m a Weight Watchers veteran. I joined last October and reached goal weight this May after losing 45 pounds.
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Ways to Make Your Favorite Foods Healthier
One of the most important ways that I lost weight was by being aware of what I was eating and how I was cooking. There are a lot of very simple ways to reduce the calories in what you’re eating without sacrificing taste. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. Use applesauce in place of oils when you’re baking.
This works really well in cakes, cookies, bars and other baked goods. I don’t notice a difference in the taste and by substituting applesauce for oil, you have cut the calories significantly and made it much more heart healthy. I use all natural, no sugar added applesauce to keep my sugar and preservative levels as low as possible.
2. Switch to fat-free or at least low-fat cheeses when you’re cooking.
There is a huge variety of healthier cheeses to choose from including bars, slices, shreds, cottage cheese and cream cheese. This really cuts the fat quite a bit in a recipe. Some fat-free cheeses don’t melt as well as full-fat cheeses so if that’s an issue for you, try the low-fat versions first. My husband makes an awesome homemade cheese pizza with part-skim mozzarella! It’s one of our favorite Friday night meals.
3. Eat a salad before you eat your full course meal.
Veggies are very low in calories and for the most part are zero points on the Weight Watchers plan. That means you can have a huge salad before your meal to help fill up. Just make sure to leave out fattening ingredients like croutons, cheese, and high-fat dressings. You can make a wonderful dressing out of yogurt that is very low in calories:
1/2 pint fat-free plain yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1 shake celery salt
Mix ingredients together with a whisk. Keep refrigerated.
4. Switch pasta.
We switched to whole wheat pasta which makes it healthier because it’s a more complex carbohydrate than plain pasta. Instead of making it the main focus of a meal, we make sure to have it with a salad.
5. Choose leaner cuts of meat.
I don’t remove all the fat from a piece of meat since to me that affects the flavor. I do remove most of it to keep the calories as low as possible.
6. Half and half ground meat.
When using ground beef, you can mix it half and half with ground turkey or chicken. This helps keep down the fat content of your ground meat which makes it more heart healthy and lower in calories. This works really well in things like meatballs or meatloaf or Mexican food.
7. When you bake chicken, remove the skin before you eat it.
I cook it with the skin on to help keep in the juices and leave it more tender. But, before I eat it, I remove the skin which helps cut down the fat and calories.
8. Substitute Stevia for sugar.
Stevia is an all-natural sugar substitute that is made from the Stevia plant. It has no affect on blood sugar levels and has no calories in it. I don’t have good luck baking with it (bread, cookies, etc.) but if you are only using the sugar for sweetness like in a pie or cobbler, Stevia works wonderfully.
9. Include more whole grains in your diet.
Instead of choosing white bread for sandwiches, French toast, etc. choose multi-grain or whole grain bread instead. They are higher in fiber which means they will ultimately enter your bloodstream slower and result in less weight gain or more weight loss. They’re also a great choice for diabetics since it results in fewer carbs and less sugar.
10. Be aware of artificial ingredients.
The healthiest foods are those that are whole, natural foods. They convert to sugar the slowest which results in a more healthier meal.
Start slowly and don’t deprive yourself completely. If you absolutely cannot stand low-fat cheese or Stevia or salads, choose options that work for you and still result in healthier eating habits. Even small changes help to make your favorite foods healthier.
Ellen is a busy mom of a 22-year-old son and 27-year-old daughter. She owns 5 blogs and is addicted to social media. She believes that it doesn’t have to be difficult to lead a healthy life. She shares simple healthy living tips to show busy women how to lead fulfilling lives. If you’d like to work together, email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat.