As I’ve said before, the closer your food is to it’s most natural state, the more nutritious it is for you. You’ve already switched to brown rice, it is now time to switch to whole grain pastas. Fortunately, in today’s market whole grain and whole wheat pastas are widely available. They may need to boil for a little longer than the regular option, but they’ll fill you up faster and give you more fiber and nutrients. Make that switch!!
Towards the beginning of this challenge, we spent an entire day swearing off candy. Today we take it one step further. All sweets are off limits. That includes cookies, ice cream, and cake. In retrospect, I should’ve scheduled this for tomorrow because today is my birthday. How on earth am I going to go without some sort of sweet, celebratory treat? Willpower, I need extra today…
You’re probably tired of hearing it, but eating more vegetables is the key to cutting down your caloric intake. I understand that it can be boring to steam broccoli every day, though. Today, I’m encouraging you to try a new vegetable. Go to the grocery store and pick something out of the produce section that you’ve never had before. Prep it, drizzle it with some oil and seasonings, and bake it. Or steam it. Whatever sounds like a good idea to you. Do a little research if you’re picking something you know nothing about. Should you peel it? Can it be eaten raw? What kind of spices go best with it? Add something new to your repertoire today!
If you live in America, you know that portion control is a huge factor in the obesity issue in this country. Everything is available in ‘super-mega-double’ size, and we’ve just gotten used to that. Eating healthy is not as effective when you’re eating 2 and 3 times as much as you should. So today, actively measure your portions at each meal. I use a digital food scale, like this one. It’s helpful to have a scale that measures in grams and ounces and has a separate bowl that can be removed for cleaning. I highly recommend the investment, because after a while you will really begin to see what a healthy, reasonable portion looks like. Your eyes will finally stop being bigger than your stomach.
If you don’t want to buy a food scale, livebetteramerica has an awesome pocket chart that will help you eyeball it. The point is, pay attention to HOW MUCH you are eating today.
Do I have to explain this one? Frying food in oil instantly adds piles of fat and calories. That’s where all the flavor comes from. If you want the numbers on the scale to start going down, you’ve got to find some other way to prepare your food. Try braising, steaming, and baking. Grilling is also a great, flavorful cooking method. I use my Foreman Grill when I don’t have time to light my charcoal grill.
A few days ago, we practiced eating large portions of vegetables at every meal. It’s time to make this change permanent. Every time you sit down for a meal, you need to have more veggies than anything else on your plate. If you’re going to take a large helping of mashed potatoes, you need to take an even larger helping of green beans. And eat your vegetables first. That way, you’ll get full on less calories.
Carbs do not start off bad for you. It’s the processing that strips most of the nutritional value from them that is the problem. The key to overcoming this is to return back to the most basic and natural forms of the carbs you take in. Brown rice is much less processed than white rice. In fact, it’s considered a whole grain. Wild rice is even better, but if you’re like me, baby steps are the key to real progress. So give that white rice to your neighbor and switch to brown rice.
The point to this is simply to encourage you to satisfy your sweet tooth with a healthier option. The sugars that are naturally occurring in fruits are much kinder to your body than the one in an Oreo cookie. That being said, sugar is still sugar, so don’t go nuts. Eat 2 fruits today, and at the end of the day, see if you’ve eaten as much junk food as you normally do.
Vegetables are full of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. They are also significantly lower in fat and other bad things that meats and especially carbs can have. Large portions of vegetables allow you to fill your stomach while taking in way less calories than other foods. This infographic that I found on Pinterest illustrates the point pretty well.
Does this really need an explanation? Vegetables are good for you. Chances are, you’re not eating enough of them. A salad is a healthy serving of vegetables. So, eat a salad today. Honestly, this rule is in place to remind me that salads are a viable option for mealtime. I am so used to cooking at every meal, that I often forget that turning on the stove is not always necessary. Take this opportunity to remember that salads can be delicious. Then, consider eating more of them in the future.