Many people think healthy food doesn't taste good. In a way, this is true. Because all those fatty junky foods are designed to make food taste good, and to make you crave them. Once you stop eating them though, you won't miss them- I promise! You will crave milk and water instead of soda, a salad instead of a greasy cheese burger, grilled chicken over fried, fruit instead of candy. I know many of you don't know where to start and that's where I come in... here are a few simple and healthy meal ideas to get you started.
First I want to start with small cheats! Stop using butter in the skillet- use olive oil or olive oil cooking spray. Eat less butter! Things that are 0 calories are not a healthy cheat... they have 0 calories because they're made with chemicals that you're body cannot process and therefore cannot absorb. So using 0 calorie things is not a way to be healthy; it's a way to put chemicals in your body that don't need to be there. This includes diet soda! Need the caffeine... black tea with honey or coffee.
Breakfast! The most important meal of the day. Seriously. Eat it. Don't skip it. This ideally should be your biggest meal of the day; you have all day to metabolize it and it jump starts your metabolism after a period of fasting (you aren't eating while you're sleeping!). You should plan to eat within an hour of waking up. Some quick and healthy breakfast options:
*Whole grain waffles with natural peanut butter. This will give you a dose of fiber, carbohydrates, and protein to jump start your day and help keep you full longer. Whole grain waffles will pack more fiber and you should aim for your carbs to come from whole grains when you can. Natural peanut butter has no trans fats or oils. The only ingredient is peanut butter. It doesn't taste weird, I swear.
*Yogurt with quinoa granola. Yogurt has protein and dairy, and the quinoa granola will add a little crunch and a dose of fiber.
*Egg Sandwich on whole wheat bread or english muffin, turkey, and low fat mozzarella cheese. You can cook the egg any way you like, but limit the cheese and stick to just a slice or two of turkey or low fat ham.
Always aim to add a glass of milk or tea with your breakfast and a piece of fruit!
Lunch! This meal is also important to staving off binge eating! You want a meal that will give you energy for the rest of the day but keep you full until dinner... aim for lots of fiber (fruits and veggies!).
*Turkey sandwich: use low fat cheese, baby spinach (or a spinach mix) and add your favorites. I like to add a slice of tomato and a little bit of avocado with a bit of mustard so that my sandwich is nice and filling. Baby spinach packs more nutrients than iceberg or romaine lettuce. The more nutrient dense your meals, the better.
*Salad. I prefer baby spinach, but if you prefer a mix do what you have to do. Add as many veggies as you like, and a hard boiled egg, grilled chicken, or steak for some protein. I like to add avocado, tomato, colorful peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, and clementines with grilled chicken and a raspberry vinagrette to keep my sweet tooth at bay.
If you're going to have left over dinner, make it a small portion. You don't want to get so full that you're tired. Often I'll have soup too if I need a break from sandwiches or salads.
Snacks! Many people lead very long and busy days, often on the run. You have to fuel a long day or you will crash and burn. Try to fuel it with healthy snacks in between meals. Almonds, raisins, or a trail mix are good to keep on hand. Fruits and veggies can never go wrong. Hard boiled eggs, half of a sandwich, or a glass of milk may help to keep the hunger pains at bay. If you have a sweet tooth, like myself, keep healthy sweets on hand; apple oat muffins, a serving of dark chocolate covered pretzels, yogurt, or half of an english muffin with honey and cinnamon.
Dinner! The meal that brings many families together; you eat it together, celebrate with it, and entertain with it. Nothing says it can't be healthy. Follow the My Plate guidelines and you can't go wrong. Try to limit red meat and pork to once a week, and aim to have chicken and fish fairly often. Don't be afraid to try other things to keep it fun!