5-Step Guide to Making Healthy Choices
I think the hardest part about trying to make healthy choices is being constantly thrown into situations that make it almost impossible to eat well! - The holidays, weddings, work events, birthdays, etc. It never ends. There’s always some sort of event, and at the end you are almost always offered a dessert you can’t refuse.
I recently started a new job and there have been almost weekly breakfast croissants or desserts being brought to the office and watching everyone jump when they are served makes it very difficult to say no.
On that note, I think the best way around that is to just make the best choice possible. If you’re going to insist on eating something you’re going to feel bad about later, try and make the best decision possible, not only in regards to sweets but in general.
Here is a list of healthy substitutes that I find really make a difference:
If you MUST have sugar (which I think we all must do once in a while), go for dark chocolate. I know it’s an acquired taste, but if you have the Lindt 70% dark chocolate it’s not that bitter. Dark chocolate is known to be good for the heart and generally has way less added preservatives and less artificial sweetening than white or milk chocolate because it’s a lot more natural. Just by reading the label you’ll know what I mean; there are way less ingredients in dark chocolate than there are in white or milk, and usually the first ingredient is cocoa and not sugar (for anyone who isn’t aware, the ingredients are listed in order of magnitude, so the first one listed is what there is the most of in the item you are consuming).
For some reason a lot of people seem to be really into mayonnaise, I myself don’t really like it, but I used to use it for salad dressings every now and then when I was having tuna.
I stopped using mayo about a year ago once I discovered how good avocados were. It’s true that they are high in fat, but it’s not saturated or trans-fat, it’s the good kind of fat, so why not have an avocado instead?! A lot of people I know use mayo for their chicken and chicken goes great with avocado, especially if you puree it into guacamole.
If you are still using corn oil or vegetable oil, please go read up on the processing of these oils - they are highly processed when compared to olive oil (or avocado oil, coconut oils) and are really not the best choice.
Olive oil is great in salads and basically raw – however, it can be carcinogenic when heated above a certain temperature, which is why it’s not good to fry with. Avocado oil, is higher in fat, but can be heated up to a much higher temperature and is therefore better to fry with (coconut oil is also a safe option for frying).
In general olive oil and avocado oil are not heavily processed, just be careful when frying foods, as not all oils can be heated at the same temperature (this is a whole other discussion!).
I’m not a big fan of bread, I think it provides zero nutritional value, because it is so highly processed. In an effort to find a way to eliminate bread from my diet I stopped using breadcrumbs and replaced them with crushed up almonds instead. Breadcrumbs are not the staple in any meal. I had been using them for coating fish and meats to add a crisp, so rather than dipping my cutlets in breadcrumbs, I started using crushed almonds (and of course I fry them in avocado oil!).
I’m a big fan of the lettuce burger, or lettuce wrap. For two reasons this has become so useful to me:
1 – I was able to get rid of the bread and thus the empty calories;
2 – I never used to eat a lot of veggies and by replacing the bread with Swiss chard (which is a dark green leaf-like veggie) I'm adding nutritional value to my meal while eliminating the processed part of the food.
These are the top daily things I’ve changed in my diet - I know that it’s so hard to be healthy all the time, but little changes make a big difference. Rather than eliminating sweets, for example, give into your craving while choosing a healthier alternative - and this way you won’t feel so bad about it afterwards!
Check out these other Articles by Melissa!
The Natural Nut; Natural Peanut Butter / Almond butter
4 Simple Steps to Becoming a Cleaner-Eater!
A Calorie is Not Just a Calorie
Subscribe now for a FREE Salad-Making Guide and updates!