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Eating healthy does not have to be boring. If you are trying to lose weight, the key lies in creating foods that satisfy your appetite without packing on the pounds. Learn how to create delicious meals that fill you up and slim you down.

When it comes to healthy eating, many people think they have to toss out all of their favorite dishes. Fortunately, this is a misconception. Eating well to lose weight doesn't mean you have to eliminate all of your favorite meals. It’s not about elimination, it’s about modification. Learning simple techniques that can transform an unhealthy meal into a waistline friendly recipe can make all the difference in healthy yet satisfying eating plans.

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Oftentimes, simple ingredient substitutes and modified cooking techniques are all that is need to shave off excess calories and give your favorite recipe a healthy makeover.

Baked, Not Fried

You can instantly shave off calories and cut back on unhealthy fats and oils by switching from fried to baked foods. Fried chicken, whether chicken nuggets, fingers or drumsticks, are one of the most heavily consumed fried foods in the United States. While chicken is an excellent source of protein, the health benefits are overshadowed by the dangers of frying.

For example, Chili’s Crispy Honey-Chipotle Crispers, a fried chicken fingers dish, contains a whopping 1,930 calories, 108 grams of fat and 4,390 milligrams of sodium. That’s more calories in one meal than some people consume in a day. Add to that a side of French fries and a soft drink, and it’s no wonder the average waistline continues to increase.

Most dishes that require frying can easily be placed in the oven and baked instead.

When you omit that oil, you can fill up on the main ingredients, not just the fats and oils like you do when the food is fried.

Substitute Healthier Ingredients

Many times, even a dish that is well-known for being unhealthy can be transformed into a healthier version by simply changing some of the ingredients. Substituting white ingredients for brown ones, such as using whole wheat flour instead of white flour or brown sugar in place of white sugar, can help create a healthier recipe. 

A recipe that calls for 2 cups of mixed veggies and 2 cups of cheese can easily be modified to include 3 cups of mixed veggies and 1 cup of cheese, cutting back on saturated fat and increasing your intake of healthy vegetables.

Using low-fat dairy in place of full fat dairy usually will not affect the quality of the dish and will have no effect on its flavor. A lot of “unhealthy” recipes are really “not-so-unhealthy” recipes that have the scales tipped too much on the unhealthy side. It’s easy to rebalance those scales by making smart ingredient choices. Healthier ingredients can also make you fill up quicker, which can keep you from coming back for seconds.

Add Fiber to Your Meals

When it comes to feeling fuller for longer, adding fiber to your meals is the way to go. When you fill up up on foods that are high in fiber there is less room for other foods that are less healthy. Incorporating high fiber foods into your recipes helps to create a meal that will leave you feeling not only more fuller, but also more satisfied, which will help cut back on food cravings and eliminate hunger. Some foods that are high in fiber include raspberries, pears, apples, whole wheat grains, barley, bran, oats, legumes, nuts, seeds and most vegetables.

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