Every time we sit down to eat, we have the power to make healthier choices. If you’ve split out your dinner plate to be at least half veggies, added a lean protein and a simple, filling starch, you’re well on your way to enjoying a healthy meal. However, there are other diet substitutions that you choose to make to further protect your health.
Replace Soda With Seltzer and Make It A Special Event in Your Day
Soda is tough on your teeth and your taste buds. If you train your brain and your mouth to expect sweetness in every beverage, plain water will not taste good. To start, set a time of day to enjoy your first seltzer. Until that time, drink water.
Getting used to this may take a few days. If you’ve been a dedicated diet soda drinker, you may have to deal with a headache as you wean yourself off the sweetener and the caffeine. If you notice a headache coming on, enjoy a cup of unsweetened green tea to replace the missing caffeine. The sweetener headache should clear after a day or two, depending on the length of your habit.
Once you get past lunch, plan for your seltzer. If you like a piece of fruit for an afternoon snack, have an orange and put a twist into your glass of plain seltzer, or enjoy one of the canned sparkling waters with a bit of fruit flavor in the mix.
Breaking away from sweetened beverages is a wonderful way to lower your constant need for stronger flavors. If you’ve been instructed to switch to a lower salt diet, you may find that formerly favorite foods are a bit bland. Your overloaded taste buds may do much better without all the sweetener from regular and diet soda.
Replace Your Salt With an Alternative
We all know that regular salt can cause you to retain water and may cause high blood pressure. However, salt can greatly improve the flavor of some of your favorite foods and is necessary for some forms of preservation.
That being said, there are some terrific salt alternatives that can support your health and satisfy your tastebuds. Not only can these salt alternative products provide great taste, but they can also boost your mineral intake.
Finally, looking for salt alternatives can open your palate to all the other wonderful flavors out there besides salt. Change up your favorite sprinkle of salt with something that adds a bit of heat, or add just a bit of tartness with citrus as you cook. You can enjoy fresh veggies, sauteed in olive oil, with just a bit of lemon juice or a sprinkle of pepper.
Replace Juices and Dried Fruits With Fresh Produce and Nuts
We’ve all been taught that granola is healthy, and it can be a wonderful way to bump up your intake of whole grains. However, it can also increase your intake of
- processed sugars
- saturated fats
- unhealthy salts
You can make your sugar-free granola to enjoy the crunch and flavor of this yummy snack. You can also take a step back and skip the dried fruit that can add a lot of calories to your snack.
Fresh fruit will be much more filling than dried fruit. Additionally, fresh fruit will add water to your snack, keeping you hydrated and satiating your hunger even more effectively. While some dried fruits do show a greater concentration of some nutrients, this will fade as the product is stored for longer and longer periods.
If you are concerned about carbs or gluten, consider replacing your healthy granola with dry roasted nuts. If you need a bit of sweetness, consider having them with a bit of fresh cantaloupe sprinkled with cinnamon. Finally, if you find yourself eating any nuts mindlessly and find that you’re consuming a lot of calories each time you reach for the snack bowl, switch to pistachios.
Every meal and snack allows you to make a healthier choice for your body over time. It’s very easy to fall into a roller coaster of salty and sweet with very little variety. To stay as healthy as possible, try to get down to the basics of the flavor of your food. If you choose to amend, go as healthy as possible.