By now we all know the importance of healthy eating, but making changes to your eating habits is usually easier said than done. If you’re a red meat and fried potatoes kind of eater, going cold turkey and switching to a salad-only diet probably won’t be effective. And even if you’re a usually healthy eater but have a weakness for chocolate, replacing all of your treats with fruit may not satisfy your sweet tooth.
Improving eating habits doesn’t have to mean a drastic switch in your diet, however. There are lots of ways to eat healthier, more nutritious and balanced meals without sacrificing the foods you crave.
Experiment with Cooking Methods
Oftentimes, a dish is unhealthy because of how it’s prepared, not necessarily because of what ingredients are in it. If you cook with a lot of oil or use frying as your go-to kitchen technique, try making the same dishes using different cooking methods. Oven bake traditionally fried foods like breaded chicken, fries and onion rings, and try roasting, baking poaching or grilling meats and vegetables.
Find Healthier Versions of “Junk” Foods
Just because you want to eat healthier doesn’t mean you’ll never get to enjoy your favorite junk foods again. Instead of cutting out fries, for instant, try baked sweet potato fries for a healthier, lower calorie option. Or choose whole grain popcorn instead of the variety that comes slathered in butter; pretty soon, your taste buds won’t even crave the “bad” stuff you liked before.
Cutting back on foods like red meat and starchy pastas is a common feature of healthier eating, but not everyone can give up goodness like burgers and macaroni so easily! Instead of cutting back on certain foods entirely, occasionally substitute veggies for the foods you’re cutting back on (but not every time!): cauliflower mac and cheese and portabella burgers are good examples of how substituting vegetables can still provide you with satisfying, indulgent meals.
One easy way to trick yourself into eating healthier is to make it a goal to eat seasonally. Since good-for-you fruits and vegetables make up the majority of seasonal foods, making a point to go out and buy foods that are in season will automatically bring more nutrients and vitamins into your diet. You may even be exposed to new produce you never knew you liked before!
Season from Scratch
Instead of buying dressings and seasonings at the grocery store that tend to be high in sodium, calories or fats, try making your own at home. Salad dressings, taco seasoning and pasta sauces are all easy to make from the comfort of your own kitchen and will likely be much better for you—and better tasting—than anything you’d find at the supermarket.
Author Bio: This is a guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of Alexia Foods.
For baked appetizer options and some simple recipes, visit www.alexiafoods.com.