DO-IT-YOURSELF. Homemade healthy nacho chips. Photo from Rachel Alejandro
MANILA, Philippines – Healthy food need not be boring. It will be if you stick to the usual salad made with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers.
In order to sustain a healthy eating lifestyle, it’s equally important to make your taste buds happy. Forcing yourself to eat foods you consider unappetizing for the sake of nutrition will leave you feeling unsatisfied and could even make you stray from your diet.
As VP of Product Development for The Sexy Chef, a health food catering company, my goal is to make my clients forget they’re on a diet and actually enjoy the meals being delivered to them.
You will be surprised to know that you don’t have to change your food preferences completely in order to lose weight while getting proper nutrition. Small changes and making smart food choices go a long way, health-wise.
By making wholesome food substitutions and using calorie-cutting cooking techniques, you can still have your all-time favorite dishes sans the guilt.
Here are some creative examples:
No need to give up rice when you’re on a diet. Cut calories by replacing two-thirds of rice with nutrient-dense vegetable fillers such as carrots, peas, string beans and bell peppers. Add a little soy sauce and sesame oil to get that Japanese fried rice fix.
Make your own dairy-free chocolate pudding by pureeing the flesh of one avocado with two tablespoons equal parts of cocoa powder and almond milk in a blender. Sweeten with low glycemic coconut sugar or raw honey. Avocadoes prevent cancer, heart disease and strokes.
Sometimes a sandwich just ain’t a sandwich without mayo. Cut the fat content substantially by substituting half the portion of mayo with pureed cauliflower. Cauliflower is high in fiber, vitamin C and contains anti-oxidants.
PANCIT WITHOUT THE GUILT. Stir-fried malunggay noodles. Photo from Rachel Alejandro
A cup of plain spaghetti noodles without sauce is already 170 calories. Substitute with baked and preservative-free malunggay noodles. A single serving is only 20 calories! Also, malunggay contains 7 times the vitamin C in oranges, 4 times the calcium in milk, 3 times the potassium in bananas and 4 times the vitamin A in carrots. Not only is it a powerhouse vegetable, its high calcium content prevents the storage of fat.
5. Potato chips
Skip the MSG and preservatives by making home-made chips and salsa fresca. Start off by slicing whole-wheat tortilla into triangles. Brush with a little olive oil and bake in the oven until crispy. For the salsa, combine fresh chopped tomatoes with a glug of olive oil, diced green bell peppers and onions, lemon juice, chopped coriander and season with salt and pepper.
Substitute all-purpose cream with pureed almonds or cashews. In a bowl, cover nuts with water and let them soak overnight in the refrigerator. Puree the nuts in a blender the next day until smooth. Use in soups to give it a rich and creamy texture. For desserts, blend the nut cream with coconut sugar to taste. Nuts are a good source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids.
LOSE WEIGHT HAPPY. Chef Barni shares ways on how to cut calories without cutting the fun. Photo from Rachel Alejandro
Life is too short for self-deprivation. With a little tweaking here and there, you can satisfy your cravings without the added fat and calories. Why reserve cheat days for weekends when you can have that favorite dish today?
As celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck would say, “Live, love, eat!” – Rappler.com
(Chef Barni Alejandro -Rennebeck is co-owner and VP for Product Development of The Sexy Chef , a diet food delivery service and event catering company since 2004. She specializes in creating nutritious recipes for weight management.)
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