One of the most important parts of embarking on a successful weight loss journey is learning how to cook your own healthy food and avoiding eating out too often.
But in doing so, it can be hard to give up your favourite foods, or hard to know which foods are the healthiest choices.
To help ease you in, you can start by using these tips and substitutions on your current go-to recipes:
- Use whole wheat instead of white – Whenever you see a recipe that calls for white carbohydrates – white pasta, white bread, white rice etc. – sub them out for the whole-wheat version instead. Whole grain carbohydrates provide a much better source of energy, sustaining you and fuelling you for long periods of time, while the white option is refined and will simply spike your blood sugar, causing a crash later.
- Use yogurt in place of sour cream – All natural Greek yogurt is an excellent way to increase your intake of gut friendly probiotics and is a source of natural fats. It has the same thickness and properties of sour cream wen it comes to using it in a recipe, but contains no artificial flavors, and does not contain the unhealthy fats like that of most sour creams.
- Sub coconut oil for butter – Coconut oil and butter behave very similarly: they are solid when they are cold, can be melted and softened, and are both a fat. When you are baking, sub all or some of the butter for coconut oil, and while the caloric content may not be much different, the health properties of coconut oil, including their content of healthy fats and ability to boost gut health.
- Make your own sauce – Often salads and cold pasta dishes include the recipe for a dressing or sauce, or give the name of a specific one to buy from the grocery store. Unfortunately, these are also often made using mayonnaise, or other high fat, unhealthy ingredients. If you are looking for a creamy dressing option, sub out the mayonnaise and use yogurt or coconut cream instead. For dressings, make your own by combing in 2 parts balsamic vinegar, to 1 part extra virgin olive oil and Dijon mustard to flavor and then shake up and toss over your greens!
- Try baking instead of frying – If you love your potato wedges, or panko coated chicken, instead of frying them in a pan in oil, or in the deep fryer, try baking it instead. To get crispy wedges, simply toss your potato wedges in a bit of olive oil, place on a pan, sprinkle with salt, and then bake at 180 degrees Celsius until crispy, flipping once. For your chicken, coat it the same way as usual and then bake in the oven the same as the wedges!
- Sweeten with fruit – The reason banana bread is always a favourite baked treat is because the bananas are overripe, making them extra sweet and therefore making the bread sweet and delicious! Capitalize on this natural sweetness of fruit like bananas, or applesauce, and add to your baked goods in place of some of the sugar. This works especially well if your recipe calls for a liquid sweetener like honey, but if it calls for granulated sugar, you may have to reduce the amount of liquid you add, as the pureed banana or applesauce will increase moisture.