This post is about food. I am a foodie. I love food.
I cannot eat the same thing every day.
As much as I like salad and grilled chicken (and I love grilled chicken). I cannot have it everyday.
I love different things in food. I love all South East Asian Food.
Pasta. French food. Yes Ma’am.
I also love Pakistan food. Not the one you get at the restaurants but home cooked food with loads of fresh vegetables and chicken.
I also love bread.
I am sure you can see there is a problem with my declaration of food love if I am trying to lose weight and get healthy.
So, over the last few days/weeks I have been on a mission to find cookbooks, recipes and things I can do to make healthy eating more interesting and something I can do for a lifetime.
The first thing I have learnt is one needs to experiment and experiment some more.
I have started substituting certain products (I have included links to products I purchase) in my meals and they do help reduce calories:
(a) white/wholemeal bread replace with rye (I usually either bake or buy from the local bakery) or tapioca bread (I purchase this one). There are 1/4 less calories
(b) white/wholemeal bread for sandwiches replace with rye or corn wrap (I try to avoid wheat wrap). Rye and corn wrap come to around 70 calories each and you can make two sandwiches out of them. This is the calorie count from one slice of bread.
(c) naan replace with homemade flat bread – I use all kinds of flour for this rye, amaranth, tapioca and whatever really takes my fancy. I buy all Bobs Red Mill flours. The calorie count is about 1/3 to 1/2 less depending on which flour is used and how thin the bread is rolled.
(d) white rice replace with brown rice and quinoa – not necessarily less calories but significantly more nutritious and different kind of calories.
(e) milk replace with almond milk (I prefer Silk but buy whatever is available). Approximately 3/4 less calories.
(f) mayo replace with mashed avocado. About 1/3 to 1/2 less calories and also significantly more nutritious.
(g) sugar replace with apple sauce, stevia, agave syrup, honey, maple syrup (it really depends on what I am using it for and I am buying all kinds of brands for these products). Calorie reduction depend on what I am using. Definitely more nutritious.
(h) butter/oil replace with mashed avocado or banana – This works better in baking than in cooking but give it a try. About 1/2 the calories and so much more healthy.
(i) white pasta replace with rice pasta, corn pasta, whole wheat pasta but most recently with zucchini noodles or pasta. Also aubergine pasta for lasagna. The calorie reduction depends on what one is using.
I have been asked a number of times if the food tastes the same. The answer is NO, it doesn’t taste the same. It tastes different. It does not taste bad, it just tastes different. In some cases I prefer the taste of the food from the “original” flavours.
However, one thing it does is it makes me feel better. I don’t feel bloated. I don’t go through sugar highs and then lows. My glucose and insulin is a lot more stable.
Types of Food
I have also found that some food is easier to make and is more fun. My favourite recipes include all kinds of cakes – and not the baked cakes – chicken cake, fish cakes, crab cakes, zucchini cake. They are fun to make and taste great. One does not need to spend hours making them and if you grill or dry fry them, they have few calories.
The other things I have found that work great are soups. Soups are awesome. They fill you up and they don’t have as many calories.
Fruits. I find that eating fruit salad is always more fun than eating vegetable salad. Also adding fruits to vegetable salad gives it a bit of a kick – my fav fruits to add are – apples, guava, pears, berries and tomatoes.
Grilling. One can grill almost anything and grilled food usually comes out ok. I grill constantly. I have tried and sometimes failed badly with some thing. It is fun and serious calories reducer. As I said, Experiment.
Inspirational is always necessary.
There are some books which have great ideas for healthy cooking. My favourite so far are:
Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life – I found that even though the recipes in book are healthy. They are not necessarily low calorie so I find myself substituting some ingredients from my list above. However, the food is generally tasty and I enjoy it.
Jim Romnoff’s – Healthy in a Hurry – I found the book very helpful especially for the week nights. However, I found a lot of food tasted similar and that was a disappointment. I am all about different flavours but I still use it because of the ease of cooking these recipes.
The Essential EatingWell Cookbook: Good Carbs, Good Fats, Great Flavours – I am not quite sure about this one. I use it often but I find the recipes just need a lot of time to cook. It is the kind of thing you want to use on a weekend. I also found the binding quality of the book pathetic. It started to come off in a month. I got so fed up that I ended up getting a ring binder and sticking all the pages of the book in it. This is not ideal.
The other source of information that is really great is Pinterest. The health and fitness and food section have some great recipes.
So these are some of the tools I am using to adapt to healthy eating lifestyle. What are you doing?