SOS: Day 26
Six foods to fix, six foods to nix.
You don’t ever have to say never to a particular food, no matter how unhealthy. Everybody has cravings now and then. If chocolate truffles from France are favorite things ( mmmm little pats of brown butter from heaven), give yourself the pleasure. Only one. Once a year. After all, sweets are sweeter if you’re not having them every day.
But please make sure the pleasure you get is worth the calories expended. There are lots of foods we eat without considering alternatives. Today, cruise through your kitchens and find what to nix…and what healthy fix will satisfy your desires. Formalize your choices on Menu Mondays (and if you’re a Nest reader, shop for your choices on Chasing Thursday).
Soda. Lordy! There are few things I love more than a cold bottle (old-fashioned glass) of Coca-Cola Classic. As one friend put it, back in the day when I bought the stuff by the case. “Coke is your champagne.” But soda’s empty calories, often with a wallop of caffeine. Diet soft drinks are nearly worse, given how they fool your body into reacting as if it’s getting caloric sweets. Save the soda for special treats. If you drink a dozen or more bottles of the stuff a day (I know who you are…and I love you anyway), begin to wean a bit. Go from 12 a day to 11 this week. Then 10 the week after. Your body will understand.
Teas are a satisfying substitute, especially big iced batches of herbal varieties. Green and black teas are so good for you that you can overlook their caffeine load. I adore flavored sparkling water. I’ve switched to La Croix, which is sodium free, unlike most brands. If you’re used to sweetened softdrinks, you will not find consolation in these bubbles. Take it slow…maybe even start by mixing your fav soda with sparkling water. Your tastebuds will adjust.
Lunch meats. These slimy slices are dripping in fat, and even worse, have more sodium than the Great Salt Lake. Stick them between white bread with a little mayo, and you’ve got yourself the height of carcinogenic cuisine.
Nothing’s wrong with some good water-packed tuna on whole wheat toast. Add a bit of light mayo mixed with mustard and a leaf of romaine lettuce. Or make it special with chopped onions, celery, and a little relish. Then cut it into quarters the way my mom always did to make it festive.
Condensed soup. Is there a family in America that doesn’t have a can of Campbells in the cupboard? Sure, I grew up on cream of tomato and bean with bacon and chicken noodle. But no one over the age of twelve should touch it. It’s not even good for kids, with its mountain of salt, and for anyone with high blood pressure, it should be outlawed.
The best thing by far is to make your own soup. But I’ll get real and assume you won’t. Like me, since I’ve become a lazycook. Some of the powdered soups have less sodium. There are also some decent pre-made frozen brands, like veggie chili out there. Better yet, buy one of those bags that includes with beans and a spice pack with instructions to add an onion and a can of tomatoes. Sure, it’s a little more work, but it tastes almost home-made.
Margarine. Trans-fats are the Satans of the food scene. Cancer anyone?
A little pat of butter is a beautiful thing. As long as you’re not slathering it on. To saute, of course, olive oil is your go-to.
Trail mix. If you come across a mix with M&Ms or other candy-looking colored jewels, take a fork in the trail. This is caloric stuff. Salty, sweet, fatty (which is why it tastes pretty good).
Nuts are lovely and healthy in their natural state. It takes some getting used to. Try unroasted, unsalted almonds. Just make sure you only eat about a dozen nuts once a day.
Granola bars and many other health and protein bars. It hurts me to say this because I love these fake-healthy guys. But please read the ingredient lists and check fat and calories. Most are no better than a candy bar.
If you’re looking for the grab & go, some brands are better than others. Read labels. Or grab an apple or banana instead. Or make yourself a small yogurt shake with a dash of protein powder.
SOS Month 1
What to do so far:
In case you missed a day, the reminders below are clickable.
Get some sun.
Do your do.
Take a walk every day.
Write down everything you eat or drink daily.
Exercise to music.
Add healthy snacks to your diet .
Start fresh every day.
Weigh yourself daily or every Wednesday.
Dine early to be on the safe side.
Remember: if you always do what you always did, then you’ll always get what you always got.
Exercising for 11 minutes is a great start.
Just start. Once you do, it seems easy.
D-day every WeDnesday.
Wear your sunscreen.
On the Ides, I’d rather be _______.
Add Menu Mondays.
Wean from your unhealthiest habit.
Learn how to meditate.
Customize SOS habithacking.
Good enough is plenty good.
It’s about the long-run.
Keep a visual food diary.
Play sports you love or find distractions.
Exercise for better sex.
Find healthier substitutions for the not-so-healthy stuff you eat.