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Whether you are a foodie or not, there is no denying that there is always that long string of junk foods that you find yourself craving for almost every day.
The good news is that it is totally okay to have comfort food. In fact, no one wrote on a stone that you should avoid all unhealthy foods to stay healthy and in respect to that, feasting on your favorite piece of pizza every once in a while is not wrong.
Nevertheless, if you are a junk lover and you find yourself stopping at drive-throughs and quick-serve restaurants consistently, then you are heading for a future full of trouble.
Fortunately, this does not mean you do away with all your comfort foods because eating healthy doesn’t mean you eat veggies on daily basis.
So, fear no more because below is a list of five of things you can do to make your unhealthy foods healthier again and forever maintain an unbreakable bond between you and your comfort foods while at the same time being loyal to your diet and fitness routine.
#1. Go for baked or grilled instead of fried
There is no denying that fried French fries, fried red meats, bacon, poultry or any other comfort foods taste like a piece of heaven but they pack a whole lot of unhealthy fats and are high in cholesterol which again is not healthy. To make them healthy, go for the baked options. For instance, if its chips, always go for baked as they are not only healthy but are also quite delicious.
That creates a win-win situation for you as you not only get to feast on your favorite but you also eat healthily and you get to enjoy sweet food because baked meat, chips or any other baked comfort food stills tastes delicious.
Additionally, always make the point of trimming down visible fat before cooking or opt for lean cuts of meat and also remove poultry skin as it packs a lot of unhealthy fats. If baked meat doesn’t appeal to you, you still have the option of taking grilled meat.
For instance, McDonald’s warm crispy chicken served with Mediterranean salad contains 15 grams of fat while the same salad served with grilled chicken contains 7 grams of fat. That means fried chicken contains double the amount of fat which will undoubtedly hurt your fitness resolutions. Therefore, if baked meat isn’t your thing then grilled, bacon strips, chicken or beef are a better alternative.
If you still want to feel the fried taste you can try cooking with an air fryer. They use a significantly less cooking oil.
#2. Go for veggies and fruits
Going for veggies and fruits don’t mean you transform into a vegetarian. It simply means that you incorporate veggies and fruits into your diet.
For instance, we know giving pizza up is more like being prisoned and the good thing is that you don’t have to give it up. But instead of taking pizza that is packed with pizza toppings, opt for vegetable pizza toppings. Additionally, you don’t have to go entirely vegetables on the toppings you can have them mixed with healthy sources of protein such as ham to make your pizza more sweet and healthy.
#3. Cut down on sugar
It is not easy to make use of this tip if you have a sweet tooth but it is one of the main ways to make unhealthy food healthier and stay in line with your fitness and diet goals. You cannot cut down on your sugar intake if you aren’t aware of which food to avoid and which stays.
Therefore, the first step in reducing your sugar intake is to first identify your favorite comfort food with a high sugar content. If maybe you find yourself taking lots of soft drink in a day, you don’t have to stop but find a healthier alternative.
For instance, alternate your favorite soft drink with diet coke, Pepsi or any other diet soda. We also understand that diet soda can suck and it’s just not your cup of tea then you always have a better and even sweeter alternative of making your own natural smoothies. All you need is a good simple blender and fresh fruits from your nearest grocery and you’ll be good to go.
At the end of the day, you will have avoided store-bought smoothies which often contain additives and high sugar content sodas thus reducing your sugar intake and quenched your cravings without having to put your health at risk. If it’s in the case of cakes, use less sugar while baking and if you prefer purchasing ready-made cakes, always check the ingredients to see the amount of sugar used. In fact, some food items are often zero sugar, take, for instance, fruit scones and cakes, tea biscuits and bread are examples of zero sugar items that you can swap to reduce sugar intake. If you are a sucker for energy bars and make them frequently at home, do not use sugar, instead use a healthier alternative as the source of sugar. For instance, dates are a natural source of sugar and they come with the extra advantage of iron and fiber instead of sugar which only adds to your calorie intake.
#4. Shake off the salt
Most people don’t know this but too much salt is not healthy for your bones and for your health generally.
However, that does not mean you consume tasteless food as there is a long string of alternatives for when you want to cut down on the salt.
You can replace salt with other types of seasoning such as spices, lemon, mustard, pepper, herbs or even vinegar. This not only offers you a better taste but also reduce the need of you having to add unhealthy salt. This makes your favorite French fries tastier and healthier.
#5. Use that vinaigrette for your salads and replace mayonnaise with avocado or plain yogurt
Just because it is salad and contains a ton of vegetables doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Most people tend to perceive salad as healthy without considering the dressing used.
If you always find yourself taking creamy salad then you are consuming a large number of calories than you know. To avoid this opt for vinaigrette as it will still retain the good taste of your salad and at the same time help you cut down on your fat intake.
If you prefer your salad or that tuna sandwich with mayonnaise, try replacing the mayonnaise with avocado or plain yogurt and thanks us later.
There are myriads of ways to make each junk dish healthier. For instance, if it is in the case of candy, you can opt for dried fruit sweets such as banana while if its cheese you can replace cream cheese with low-fat cream. In other words, the above tips summarize different ways to make unhealthy foods healthier in just five tips and are incredibly beneficial in helping you live healthy without holding your comfort foods hostage or sacrificing your fitness goals.