Healthy alternatives for food you should avoid part 1

Healthier choices don’t mean a tasteless diet!

If you’ve already created a food diary (logging everything you eat and drink for a week), then it’s easy to review the items you’ve consumed and watch out for things you should avoid.   You can reference the list of items to avoid here –  don’t lose heart, there are healthy alternatives for everything!

The following are some suggestions for the first five foods on your “stop or limit” list

  1.  Sodas – both diet and sugary
    -Consider the following options instead:  coffee, tea (black, green, white, herbal), seltzer water,
    or perhaps the best option – just plain water
    -Many people can wean themselves off soda by watering it down or adding seltzer water and eventually switching to plain seltzer water if they still want the fizz (or seltzer water with just a splash of fruit juice)
    -If you have to have a soda – make sure it’s sweetened with sugar – not high fructose corn syrup – and only have one occasionally as a rare treat
    -Diet sodas have their own issues – it’s best to avoid them.
  2. Juice Drinks
    -Look for 100% juices or make your own at home with a juicer, blender or Vitamix
    -Look for unsweetened, unfiltered juices
    -Be careful of apple juice – can be high in sugar  (about the same as Pepsi or 7up), but usually with no fiber
    -Be careful of fruit juice that is largely flavored apple juice with added flavorings
    -Add some water or seltzer or sparkling water to your juice drink if you simply must have it
  3. White bread, white rice, white rice, white potatoes
    -Look for whole grain alternatives to the bread products.  Fewer calories, more fiber, more nutrients
    -Look for wild, brown, or black rice as an alternative to white rice.   More nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants, less fat, fewer calories
    -Whole grain pasta – more fiber, more nutrients
    -Sweet potatoes instead of white (just don’t load them up with butter and brown sugar) – they have a natural sweetness.  You can even make your own broiled sweet potato “fries”
    -With all the above you won’t get the same blood sugar/insulin spikes and peaks as with the “white foods” and they will “stick with you” longer than the white alternative
  4. Fried foods
    -Look for grilled, baked, broiled or roasted alternatives.
    -By limiting fried foods to every once in a while and eliminating them as a mainstay of your diet you will save loads of calories and fat
  5. Cakes, cookies, pies, etc.
    -Look for fresh light alternatives like fresh fruit, yogurt
    -Try frozen fruit like frozen berries or grapes
    -Have a small amount of dark chocolate, you get an antioxidant boost and less fat than milk chocolate
    -By saving these sweets for a rare treat or special occasions (and even then – only having a small piece) you will save yourself loads of calories and protect yourself from blood sugar/insulin spikes and peaks

 

These are just a few of the possibilities – get creative and make it a game to find healthy substitutes!
Remember to watch your portion sizes on anything you eat – start by cutting everything in half.
Also remember to take the time to thoroughly chew each bite.  This allows you to savor the flavors and textures, helps with the digestion process by grinding up the food thoroughly and giving the enzymes in your saliva a better chance to do their job, and slows you down so that you won’t keep eating past the point of being satisfied.

Next post – Substituting food you should avoid with healthier choices  part 2

 

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