So we are well into our New Year now and hopefully still sticking to some of our New Year’s Resolutions that we made a few weeks ago with such enthusiasm and hope. My Resolutions are mostly career and travel focused this year but I am bringing my promise to myself to live balanced and eat healthy with me from last year with the aim of continuing to explore the healthiest ways to cook and eat the widest range of fresh foods I can find.
This post is just to share a little bit of both self-taught wisdom and knowledge learned from my Nutrition and Food Science class. It is a few simple hacks that I swear by to live a little healthier in the easiest ways I can think of. I hope this post inspires you to keep up the good work you are already doing and to enjoy living healthier by making small, simple changes to how and what you eat.
I am Diet Coke’s Number 1 Fan, I’ll admit it! But I have taken control of my love for this nasty can of fizz and will usually treat myself to one a week (OK maybe two). But I know people out there who cant go a day without cracking open a can of the fizzy stuff and I have read so many articles on how this can be seriously detrimental to ones health and a huge factor in weight gain for many people. To make a long story short, stay away from soft drinks!
A great swap that I found is infusing fresh fruit like berries or kiwi with Sparkling Water. You will get that familiar, fizzy sensation you’re craving with a subtle hint of fruity flavour. For any Irish readers, I’m also loving the new Ballygowan flavoured Sparkling Water cans if you want to try one of these first – delish!
Penne, Fusili, Spaghetti – we love them all! I think I speak for most of us when I say there is just something about Pasta that is irresistible and I for one will admit that this is undoubtedly my guilty pleasure, I just love the stuff! But as we also know, too much of the good stuff will give us nice little Pasta Bellys that will simply not go with that Little Black Dress we’ve been dying to wear 😉 So what do we do? Buy a Spiralizer! I know Ive raved about it several times in my posts but trust me when I tell you, it is the best money you will spend on a Healthier You this year!
Spiralized vegetables such as Courgette and Butternut Squash are an excellent swap for Pasta and Spaghetti and will keep you well on track with those New Year Goals. Check out some of my Spiralizer Recipes for some inspiration.
Again, another “white food” that we sometimes can’t help ourselves with. Rice is a wonderful accompaniment to so many family favourites but like Pasta, too much will send our healthy eating plans back to 2016. So what to use instead? There are a few different options here.
Quinoa would be my go-to grain, it’s simple and versatile and is very good for you. Other grains like Bulgar Wheat or even Wild Rice are great alternatives too. These ingredients are also cheap to buy and easy to cook so they’re certainly worth trying out.
Another great swap is Cauliflower Rice. You can find some simple instructions on how to make Cauliflower Rice in one of my earlier Posts on how good Cauliflower is for you. I would highly recommend giving this one a go.
Sweets and Chocolate
I consider myself very luckily that I was born without a sweet tooth. I rarely crave sweets and chocolate and am more a savoury, cheese and crackers girl myself but I have seen friends and family fight the craving and it is Painful! Like all food, everything in moderation is more than allowed but many a friend has told me that once that packet of sweets or bar of chocolate has been opened, there is no stopping them until it has been obliterated. I’m sure you ave all had your fill of the sweet stuff over the Christmas and maybe even the sight of a sweet tin you will still find repulsive so now would be a good time to make the switch – while you still have the willpower!
Good quality Dark Chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa is a good alternative to keep hidden in the door of the fridge for when the craving just gets too much. I always buy the Lindt or Green & Black brand and tuck it away in the fridge case of emergencies.
Another good swap for sweets is Dried Fruit such as Figs, Cranberries or Goji Berries. They will kill the craving and help you stick to your goals with their more natural sugar content. Go easy on them all the same though as too much will lead to a build up of these natural sugars that will turn into stored energy and eventually fat.
Certainly a true Irish staple, minced beef is used for so many delicious dinners – Bolognese, Burgers, Cottage Pie, Lasagne – it can be the main ingredient to some of our favourite meals. Poor quality mince and even some regular mince has a very high fat content and this can of course have adverse effects on our body’s health.
An ideal swap is making the change to Turkey Mince. This is just as versatile and far leaner than its beefy counterpart. Use it just as you would regular mince and you will be feeling leaner in no time. I have some great recipes including my most popular post to date – Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers – for some inspiration.
Of course, if you’re not up for trying a different meat, Lean Mince products are available. You just may need to seek out a good butchers or well stocked supermarket to get your hands on it.