March is Nutrition Month, and conversations about dieting may come up in the doctor’s office. Dieting doesn’t have to be difficult, and food should always taste good—even when you’re trying to lose weight. A common complaint about dieting foods is that many “diet foods taste awful.” Here are 10 tips for improving your diet without sacrificing taste.
- Stick with “real” food. So-called “diet” foods are often higher in sodium and sugar, which could include the artificial sweeteners. Avoid “lite” foods and just eat a little less of the full-fat versions.
- Spice it up. Caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, and cumin will aid in reducing gas and bloating, as well as add taste. Caraway and cumin can be added to savoury dishes; cinnamon and cardamom add sweetness. Tumeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory and adds some sweet tartness.
- Eat your carbs. We are told to eat fewer carbs if we want to lose weight but we need them for the energy they provide. Carbohydrates are not just found in bread, pasta, and baked goods. Fruits and vegetables contain carbohydrates that will fill you up without adding to weight gain, with the emphasis on vegetables (less sugar).
- Start adding more “superfoods” into your diet. These foods are said to have anti-inflammatory properties, and inflammation can make us feel bloated and heavy. These foods include apples, avocados, beets, berries, broccoli, cherries, citrus fruits, olives and olive oil, spinach, sweet potatoes, and zucchini.
- Eat your vegetables and make your plate colourful. Eating a variety of colourful vegetables not only makes your plate look more delicious, those veggies are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Don’t just stick with your “usual” vegetables. Try new ones.
- Substitute eating fruit instead of having fruit juices or other drinks that are high in sugar.
- Dietary fat is a necessary ingredient. That doesn’t mean to load on the butter, but good quality oils can add flavour to your meals. Try toasted sesame seed oil in Asian dishes or avocado oil as a substitute for olive oil. Other sources of dietary fats include nuts, seeds, and avocados. Guacamole and hummus, made from avocados or chickpeas, make excellent spreads for sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.
- Condiments such as tomato paste and Dijon mustard make good bases for sauces and spreads. They also add some natural sodium so you don’t need to add salt.
- Eggs are good for you, and can be made in a variety of ways for meals and snacks to fill you up.
- Good quality, fair-trade dark chocolate, with more than 72% cocoa is actually good for you and a small piece every day may help keep you on track with your diet. Chocolate improves the taste of everything.
Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, clinical director of the Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and author of The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work, says,
“Your best diet is the one that keeps your calories reduced, your hunger at bay, your cravings controlled, and provides you with a regimen that isn’t merely one you can tolerate, but rather one you can honestly enjoy. Live the healthiest life that you can enjoy, not the healthiest life that you can tolerate.”
Good words to live, and eat, by!
Other sources to connect with for more information include:
Weighty Matters, [www.weightymatters.ca] blog by Dr. Yoni Freedhoff
Freedhoff, Dr. Yoni, What is the World’s Best Diet, US News/Health, July 2012 http://tinyurl.com/naw27cx
Holistic nutritionist and author Julie Daniluk, [www.juliedaniluk.com]
Meals That Heal Inflammation (Hay House, 2011)
Slimming Meals That Heal (Random House Canada, 2014)
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