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Tried and failed every fad diet? The theory of weight management dictates when you eat more than you need, you'll get fatter. Eat less than you need, and you'll get skinnier. This oversimplification of how our body works is extremely superficial. It fails to consider that each individual has a unique way of processing food. That is why fad diets don't work because they are created for the masses, not you. Let's go beyond counting calories in your diet and choose the best definition of calories.
According to nutritionist and dietitian Lindy Cohen, there are multiple differences in how your body differentiates between empty and healthy calories. "For instance, tender, juicy hotdog calories (290) are absorbed differently by the body in comparison to the one ounce of mixed nuts calories (200). Mix nuts are packed with heart-healthy monosaturated fat, while hotdog is high in added sugar, salts, and saturated fat. Choosing low and healthy calories is the right way to achieve your fitness goals.
Whether you are looking to lose weight, gain muscle mass, or just aim for better energy levels, short-term and fad diets are not the solution for you. You need to get into sustainable healthy eating habits that ensure that you do not deprive yourself of essential nutrients. A fad diet and an unhealthy diet both harm your body.
You try your best to stay fit, but the busy work schedules and lack of time are taking a toll on your body. Food takes a back seat when you are chasing your dream career and life goals. Most people starve themselves the whole week, and when the weekend hits, they indulge in all the mouth-watering delicacies that come their way. Unhealthy eating habits include both insufficient and high intake of calories. While high calories give rise to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart diseases, and diabetes, inadequate nutrition intake can lead to osteoporosis, lethargy, headaches, etc.
Your food is what you are! Dietary habits affect how you feel, look, think, and act. Healthy eating must be easy, but we tend to make it ridiculously complicated. Healthy eating is all about knowledge and habits. You need to develop the habit of putting the right things on your plate, excluding junk, and reducing high-calorie food. No matter what diet you follow, green, pescatarian, or keto, you can get all the nutrients required for a healthy mind and body with the right food mix.
"Everything you eat becomes a part of not only your inner being but the outer fabric of your body as well," says Samantha Heller, MS, RD, a clinical nutritionist at NYU Medical Center in New York City. Not eating food for a week will not get you results. However, right and conscious food swaps for healthier eating will show results in no time. The road to healthy eating is wide and generous, with lots of different food choices. Healthy food swaps and low-calorie alternatives let you enjoy food without feeling guilty and stressed.
Swapping unhealthy food choices with healthier alternatives helps improve overall health and well-being by reducing the intake of excessive calories, unhealthy fats, added sugars, and processed ingredients. It can enhance nutrient intake, provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and support weight management goals. Additionally, they can lower the risk of chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Making intentional and mindful food swaps empowers individuals to change their eating habits positively and foster a healthier lifestyle.
Eating right in the age of dieting is the way forward. So, rather than avoiding something, let's look at the tasty and healthy food swaps that you can love and easily incorporate into your diet. This is your comprehensive list of meal swap ideas that actually work.
Grains are an essential source of carbohydrates that feeds your brain. Refined grains are created by stripping away the essential nutrients from the grains, leaving just endosperm, which mostly has starch. The whole grain, on the other hand, consists of germ, bran, and endosperm. Though refined grains are later enriched with added vitamins and minerals, they're nowhere as healthy or nutritious as whole grains. Grains can be rolled, puffed, boiled, and cracked, but as long as all three parts are intact, they provide holistic nourishment to your body. Some of the low-calorie swap ideas for grains in your food are:
Whole grains are loaded with high nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and many such goodnesses. Plus, it curbs your cravings and keeps you full for longer.
Salt is an essential part of our food, and it's present almost everywhere, from oceans to our teardrops. However, too much salt can kill you. Most junk foods boost your cravings throughout the day thanks to the high salt content. The hidden salt in packaged food secretly gives you high blood pressure, eventually leading to weak heart health. So, cut down on salt in your food and use spices to enhance the flavor of your eggs, roasted nuts, and popcorn. Some of the easy swaps for salts can be:
Sugar is the number one villain in the weight watchers' world. However, there are many alternatives for sugar other than stevia and sucralose. Some of the most interesting weight watchers' alternatives for sugar are cinnamon, honey, jaggery, coconut sugar, and many more. Starting your day with sweet treats or sugary drinks means your body keeps craving sugar throughout the day.
Added sugar is one of the culprits that increases your calorie intake in a day. So, if you are calculating "how many calories should I have for lunch," make sure you chuck out anything that has added sugar. Use natural and metabolism-boosting sweeteners that curb cravings.
We understand morning coffee can be your life juice, but all that cream and sugar is not necessary. If you're looking to trim the love handles, a pure black blend or coffee with 2% milk, with no added sugars must be your morning cuppa. While brewed coffee comes with a lot of health benefits, non-nutritive sugar is not doing any good to you. Moreover, if you are buying coffee, it makes it more expensive. Latte is not just bad for your waistline but pockets too.
For most cultures, potatoes are the way of life. They can be eaten in different forms, fried, roasted, baked, and mashed. Are you already salivating? Potatoes, no doubt, are packed with micro-nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, etc. However, they are full of starch and do not offer much dietary fiber or protein.
Root vegetables, on the other hand, are equally filling and are a richer source of nutrients. And just like potatoes, you can bake them and roast them. For your superfood swap diet, you can swap sweet potatoes for regular potatoes.
Health professionals and nutritionists advise against juicing diet for an extended period of time as commercial fruit juices have almost equal sugar content that you may find in soft drinks. Even when you make homemade juice, you leave behind most nutrients in the pulp. For instance, oranges are the powerhouse of flavonoids, but most of them are stored in the pulp, not the juice.
Moreover, fruits are a rich source of fiber and many other micronutrients. If you have diabetes, fruits are always better than juices. The sugar in fruits is in complex form and is released slowly into the system, while fruit juices provide you with an instant sugar rush.
Dips and spreads are excellent condiments and party food. They are irreplaceable partners of your finger foods and toasts. However, they are mostly loaded with high-calorie ingredients such as cream, mayonnaise, salt, sugar, and other additives. Did you know calories in one tablespoon of mayonnaise is 94? You do not have to rely on cream or mayo-based dips and spreads when there are plenty of healthy options available.
You can use whole foods to make your own variety, and they are much more delicious than store-bought ones. Top your bread with healthy spreads in place of traditional butter and peanut butter. Calories in butter are quite high and have high-fat content. Some of the tasty swaps for butter are garlic and avocado, salsa, hummus, roasted garlic spread, etc.
Do you need that extra piece of bread on the top? That second piece of bread on top is really unnecessary. Just by eating an open-faced sandwich, you can cut down 120 calories. Even if you are going for whole-grain bread, a juicy burger topped with tomato and mustard is much tastier without a starchy bun on top.
Open-faced sandwiches are a great way to trick your brain into thinking you are eating the same amount as you do with a regular sandwich. With this simple trick, you can still enjoy your food with lesser calories and more nutrients.
Many ditch dairy products because of their high fat content. But the right dairy filled with natural gut-friendly bacteria is a must in your daily meal. Most yogurt lovers always have this question in mind, is yogurt fattening? To find the truth, check the packaging. Depending on the type and flavor you buy, you can check if they have added sugar in them
The calories in yogurt (full fat) loaded with sugar are around 150 calories, whereas the calories in Greek yogurt and non-fat plain yogurt are just 60 calories. You can drastically cut down the sugar intake by switching to plain or Greek yogurt with fresh fruits. But always remain mindful while going for Low-fat food as they may have hidden calories in them.
Pasta fans? Here are some pasta calorie facts for you. A cup of white sauce has 262 calories and 17 gms of fat, whereas a cup of red sauce past has 160 calories and just 4 gms of total fat. Do we need to say which one is better? Apart from that, red sauce is loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and lycopene, the natural pigment that has cancer-preventing properties.
Do not get caught up in the details. Good eating habits are not about ticking boxes or depriving yourself of tasty food. You need to practice mindful eating, which is an irreplaceable element of your fitness journey. Conscious and mindful swaps can make a big difference. Healthy food choices not just cut down your calorie intake but let you eat more and feel fuller. Once healthy eating habits become a part of your lifestyle, your body and mind will thank you for the positive changes.
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