We’re all guilty of it. Sneaking into the pantry at four in the morning to snag a piece of your favorite unhealthy snack or adding just a little bit more butter to the recipe than what it calls for. We know it’s bad, yet we do it anyway. There is nothing more satisfying about being a culinary rebel. However, the risks of binging on those sorts of items plague us when the day comes and we’re faced with the ever increasing difficulty of fitting into our jeans. Healthy meals are hard to come by when you’ve got a busy job and a family, but they are definitely possible with a few minor replacements.
The top four foods you really need to think about switching:
Processed meats: According to Reader’s Digest, eating processed meats leads to an increased risk of colon cancer. What constitutes as processed meats? Any meat that is smoked, cured or has chemical preservatives in them. They also have a great deal of fats, cholesterol and salt.
Frozen ready meals: We’ve all been too tired to cook, but each frozen meal you consume adds an extraordinary amount of calories to your diet in addition to containing an excessive amount of salt and chemical preservatives. For example, a Hungry-Man Select Classic Fried Chicken is the caloric equivalent to 8.5 KFC original recipe drumsticks.
Pasta: I’m definitely not talking about all pasta, but, as with anything yummy, people tend to overindulge in this delicious treat by smothering them with high-sugar, high-fat sauces and then consuming more than the recommended serving size. Beyond the overindulgence, pastas are refined goods and lose many of their healthy grain nutrients over the process.
Frozen pizza: Pizza is chalk full of things you shouldn’t be eating on a regular basis. According to Caloriecount.com a 12-inch regular pepperoni from Tombstone has a whopping 279 calories per serving with 5 servings in each pizza. A majority of the nutritional index is fat and sodium, not what you want your body to use as fuel for the day.
Now, before you get all up in arms about the above no-nos, let me tell you the good news With a few simple food replacements, you can indulge in all the above foods so you can eat guilt-free and have healthy options and healthy meals. Are you ready for it? Let’s get started!
Replace your processed meats with homemade ones There are many ways to get meat for sandwiches without buying the processed meats found at the grocery store. If you cook your own ham, for example, you can slice it and then store a portion of it in your freezer for when you run out. It stays fresh and will just need to be thawed when you get your next craving for a ham and cheese sandwich.What about specialty meats? That one is easy to answer as well. Things like hot dogs or already cooked hamburgers are fairly effortless to make on your own. If you need help, try a quick Internet search. I found this one for homemade hot dogs. If you really want to get healthy, replace the original meats, whether pork or beef, with lighter options such as turkey or chicken. So long as you add the right spices, it tastes just like the original.
Put the frozen meal down Feeding a hungry man doesn’t need to be that bad for him. Buy a set of microwave/freezer safe Tupperware containers, like these, and prepare for a night of cooking. Once a week, preferably when you’re not going to be too tired, prepare enough meals to last you a while. Cook them all, put them in the Tupperware, and then store them in the freezer until you don’t feel like cooking. Reheat, eat and enjoy!
Mama Mia! Look at all that pasta! Pasta addicts anonymous could be a real thing and the love of these carb-heavy meals has led many through a battle with 10 pounds that never seems to end. However, replacing some minor ingredients could make a big difference in achieving your goal of healthy meals.
Gluten-free pasta is a good way to shave off a few calories. Compare 32 oz of regular thin spaghetti and 32 oz of gluten-free thin spaghetti. What do you find? The regular pasta has 3,360 calories per container and the gluten-free has 3,200 calories in a comparable amount. While that doesn’t seem like much, keep in mind it takes you 10 to 15 minutes of jogging to burn off 100 calories. You could save the equivalency of a 40-minute jog just by switching to gluten-free pasta and the taste is the exact same.
Make your own sauces with whole ingredients. Most sauces that you purchase by the jar in the grocery store actually have added sugar to them that is unnecessary for a good taste. Try doing an online search for a recipe like this one from Cooking Light.
It’s not delivery or DiGiorno
Homemade pizza is some of the best pizza you will ever eat because you can customize it to your specific preferences down to the last shred of cheese on the pie. Try these replacements to make a healthy options recipe that will rock your socks off.
If you must order pizza or buy frozen pizza, go with thin crust. It will cut down on the number of calories consumed by roughly half just in filler bread alone. But if you prefer to go with the uber healthy route, avoid pre-made pizzas entirely.
You have one or two options for dough if you’re not very cooking savvy or if you use pizza night as a night for minimal cooking. Either you can buy a premade pizza crust or you can buy the dough mix. I prefer the premade crust because simple is often better where I am concerned. Whole-wheat or gluten-free crust is pretty delicious and not much different than the traditional crusts you’re used to.
Make your own sauce. We talked about sauces in the previous section. The same applies to pizzas. Making your own is just better for you, and better tasting, too!
When you think of cheeses, try to go with lower calorie options such as feta, goat cheese, ricotta and low-fat mozzarella.
Finally, add as many veggies to your pizza as you want! They’re nutritionally dense foods that will not only fill you up but keep you full without having to eat as many pieces.
These are just a few of the many food replacements out there to try as you make your journey toward a healthy, happier meal. Explore the net and experiment with your own recipes to find out which ones work for you. Bon appetite!
Instead of slathering your chicken in hot BBQ sauce, try out this awesome recipe from renowned chef Bobby Flay and leave a comment below telling us about your own recipe replacements!
Grilled Jerk Chicken with Mango Cilantro Salsa Ingredients 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 scallion, coarsely chopped
1 large Scotch bonnet pepper, stem and seeds removed
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
4 drumsticks, skin on
MANGO-CILANTRO RELISH: 2 mangoes, peeled and diced, 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 3 tablespoons lime juice, 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice, salt and freshly ground pepper.To prepare the jerk chicken:
Puree all the ingredients, except the chicken, in a food processor until almost smooth. Piece the chicken with a fork to make tiny holes. Place the chicken in a large shallow baking dish and rub the marinade into the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours, depending on how intense you want the flavor to be. Preheat grill. Grill chicken on each side for 5 to 6 minutes or until cooked through.
To prepare the mango-cilantro relish: Combine the mangoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice and orange juice in a bowl and gently mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper.