When you are trying to eat healthy, chances are good that you have heard about some foods that people swear should be strictly off limits. While there are some foods that certainly can hinder your weight loss efforts, many of those foods are okay to eat as long as you use common sense. Think about it this way, if you sit down and eat a half gallon of ice cream, you have blown your healthy eating plan, but if you sit down and eat one serving of ice cream as a reward for staying on track all week, you haven’t blown your diet, you have helped your diet.
So, now you are probably wondering exactly what foods you consider off limits are actually okay for you to enjoy from time to time. Well, here are some of the most popular ‘off-limits foods’ that you can enjoy, as well as some yummy substitutions or additions that can make the food an even healthier option.
A cheeseburger can be a very filling food. Traditionally, cheeseburgers are associated with a high fat content; however, if you make your cheeseburger at home using ground sirloin, you are probably doing your diet a favour. Ground sirloin is a good source of niacin, protein, Vitamin B12, zinc and selenium. Use low-fat cheese, olive oil based mayonnaise and a whole grain bun to make your cheeseburger healthier. Be sure to add some vegetables, too. Use two slices of tomatoes instead of one slice. A few slivers of onions and a few pickle slices add flavor without adding anything unhealthy. Instead of using iceberg lettuce, use spinach leaves to add a good source of iron.
Potatoes are a starchy food that is usually considered to be a bad option for dieters; however, potatoes are a great source of Vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Of course, if you chop up your potatoes and fry them, they are unhealthy. The good news is that there are some other ways to fix potatoes that can help your diet by keeping you full longer. You can make mashed potatoes with skim milk and a little bit of soft spread butter alternative. For a bolder flavor, add a little chopped up garlic and a little bit of shredded fat-free cheese or soy cheese. You can also enjoy a baked potato with fat-free sour cream or reduced fat ranch dressing.
Not all bread is created equal. If you enjoy bread, opt for whole grain varieties. Whole grain breads aren’t refined, so they retain their natural nutrients, such as fiber, selenium and manganese. There are some whole grain breads that are baked with fruits and nuts. These are a good option as part of a healthy breakfast. For a really yummy treat, toast a slice of whole grain bread that contains fruit or nuts. Top it with a teaspoon of peanut butter for a protein boost. Drink a cup of coffee or hot tea with your snack. Peanut butter is another food that is usually considered unhealthy, but it is actually a good food for dieters as long as you enjoy it in moderation. Coffee, although traditionally considered off limits as a diet food, now that it’s been added to the list of foods containing antioxidants, may reduce your risk of dementia, liver cancer and diabetes. Just add a sugar-substitute and skim milk instead of sugar and cream. If you are concerned about sugar substitutes, you can always use vanilla soy milk.
The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.