By: Sue Pasqual
It’s easy to get caught up in all-or-nothing thinking when it comes to changing how we eat, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Instead of an all-or-nothing approach, try these sustainable & healthy habit swaps for a lighter meal.
When it comes to dieting, I know many who treat the day before as the “last supper”. They think they have to forgo all the delicious foods and flavors they enjoy and replace it with plain, tasteless foods like an endless menu of salads with grilled chicken! I guess if that is all I could eat on a “diet”, then I would run straight to the junk food aisle too.
The reality is that, while you may have to change the way you cook, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor! It is fair to say that we all know that fried foods are not as healthy for you as other types of foods (baked, broiled, etc.) but these healthy swaps can help you keep the delicious flavors you crave.
Healthy Habit Swaps for Weight Loss
Invest in an Air Fryer
Americans like to fry everything, and it’s a hard habit to break! But, there’s not a lot of redeeming qualities in fried food.
Trust me. I had to do my homework on this one because all I saw was “fryer”. I didn’t think it was healthy, but I can admit when I’m wrong and this kitchen appliance has defied all of the odds for me. I honestly use it more than I use my oven these days!
Air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food using the convection mechanism, far different than traditional frying which takes a lot of oil (and mention mess). The air fryer coats the food with a thin layer of oil to give you the crunch and satisfaction without leaving you feeling bloated and tired. Plus, it cuts calories AND fat intake dramatically!
You can put anything in your air fryer. I have made pork loin to roasted vegetables and they all tasted amazing – and it doesn’t hurt that clean up is a breeze.
No, that is not a typo. Zoodles are the new “pasta”!
Think about it: do you really like pasta or just the stuff you put over it? Italian pasta has always been a staple for me but, as mentioned, the taste of the pasta isn’t what I love. I love the sauce, the meatballs, and the toppings that make it taste incredible!
So, instead of avoiding those dishes entirely and missing out on the flavors I grew up with, I just put them over zoodles! Zoodles are zucchini that have been spiralized to look like spaghetti, but you can use any vegetable you’d like. I’ve used carrots and sweet potatoes, and I loved them both.
I just use a spiralizer, sautee them with a little oil and garlic, then add my favorite toppings. Viola! This is one of the healthy habit swaps I love because I’m still eating the flavors I love.
Bonus Tip: I generally use turkey or ground chicken for my meatballs and skip the bread crumbs. It tastes the same minus all the grains, especially if you have an air fryer!
Mix Up the Mayo
Mayo is such a common condiment that Americans have gotten used to slathering on everything from chicken to sandwiches. But, mayonnaise is mostly oil which makes it extremely high fat and calories.
One of the healthy habit swaps I have adopted was swapping mayo for plain Greek yogurt. This gives you the creamy texture with a little added protein and it’s a great swap for cooking or baking! If you want a little of the may flavor, mix a bit of mayo into your Greek yogurt and you won’t even know the difference.
Many mayos are made with dry mustard, salt, lemon juice, and white wine vinegar, so it may be worth looking at the ingredients in your favorite brand to try and recreate it with your yogurt mix. Now, you don’t have to feel guilty!
Changing habits when it comes to food just takes a few minutes of thinking about what flavors you are looking for. It may seem difficult in the beginning, but start slow and be patient. In time, you won’t think twice!