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| Health and Fitness

09/05/14

Fried and true: How you can make your favorite foods healthier

Even the most health conscious person can't argue how much they love their "cheat days."
For those who don't know, those days are what dieters and healthy eaters refer to as particular moments when they're permitting themselves to eat whatever they want.
Those days include pizza, hamburgers, French fries and anything else fatty, greasy or sugary they can get their hands onto at the moment.
But what about the huge number of people who eat all of those aforementioned foods all day, every day and struggle to maintain a healthier lifestyle and appropriate weight?
For this group, cheat days are every day, but that vicious cycle needs to stop but kicking the habit that is unhealthy eating isn't as easy as it sounds.

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Unless of course you start getting creative in the kitchen.
What really ails the over eating population is the convenience behind fast food eating; someone standing behind a drive thru window who hands you a burger and fries, for example, with little or no effort on your part.
Breaking that habit is the key to eating better, and that starts with understanding that you don't have to sacrifice your favorite foods but rarely alter them to be of the healthier variety.
Take that burger and fries as starting point.
You want to shop for ground beef that is 10% or lower as far as fat content. That meat might cost a little more but you'll save calories from fat instantly. Typical ground beef is about 20% fat, so you can cut that content in half. Add a whole wheat bun, a handful of spinach and substitute the mayo with mustard and suddenly that burger is no longer getting the better of you.
Skipping those traditional potato French fries also is advisable and should be replaced with sweet potato fries that are baked, not fried.
What about your famous pizza pie?
Think whole wheat crust in favor of the regular dough and adding a melange of vegetables to that pizza as far as toppings rather than pepperoni, sausage and other fatty meats and cheeses.
In short, no matter the food, you can transform it into something a little more desirable. The trick isn't so much to stop eating what you love but rather implement the mentality that you can still enjoy food, but made in your home on your own terms.
Does that mean you won't be tempted to stop for fast food and even give in from time to time? Of course not. But knowing that the fast food path can be the exception rather than the rule is going to feel so much sweeter over time.

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