Thursday, July 7, 2016

How to Gradually Ease Into Healthier Eating Without the Family Revolting!

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Making healthy food choices can be confusing.


Whether you’re trying to diet to lose weight, improve your health, skin, or to prevent future problems, changing your normal eating habits is never an easy task.  This is especially true if you have a family that is used to less than healthier food choices with all the sugar, salt, and fats that are in many of the things we love.   Therefore, you need to be a little devious if you intend to change their diet and tastes, including yours, by a gradual introduction instead of serving them an entirely new diet of unfamiliar foods.  

You may be serving red meat and potatoes several times a week.   What I suggest is eating them not as frequently.  Try replacing meat with a fish, egg, chicken, or meal made from legumes along with a fresh vegetable or two more often.  Beans and rice (makes up a complete protein) or you may want to try a wholesome grain such as quinoa.  

Fooling the family into a veggie or bean burger served up like their beloved fast food for a dinner can be a perfect starting point.  My pinto bean burgers are delicious, especially with a side of my “unfried” French fries (oven fries) or my herb version oven fries.   Another excellent "fake" is my lentil-mashed potato burger or black bean cakes. This are just a few examples.  What I am saying is the family will enjoy what they recognize as “junk” food more and give the healthier version the start it needs, which is your goal.

Another way to reduce your red meat is replacing it with ground turkey.  There is so much you can do using a pound roll of ground turkey that can stretch it for a healthier, besides economical dinner.  Meat loaf is one of the simplest dinners where you can incorporate oatmeal and lots of vegetables like onions, garlic, celery, and lots of grated carrot, which sweetens it up. Making it in the crock pot saves time and clean up as well.
Casseroles and stews are also excellent with all the extra vegetables that you can sneak in.  After all, once the veggies are in there, they are easier to swallow when covered with sauce or gravy than reluctant eaters playing with them as a side dish.

Sugar is extremely hard to transition away from in our modern diet.  Therefore, you might want to try replacing desserts with more scones at the beginning to wean tastebuds off the heavier sugar-laden recipes. My blueberry, orange, coconut, and favorite scone and sweet bread recipes won’t let you feel deprived.  I’m not saying to give up cakes, pies, puddings or ice creams entirely–-just not daily. Baking at home guarantees that the ingredients that go into your recipe will be healthier than store-bought, which cares more about their cost of ingredients than the effects on your health.  

Think about turning to fruits more as a dessert.  They can be full of antioxidants and vitamins that can help clear and beautify skin, especially ones like berries, apples, oranges to helping ease inflammation.  Try incorporating fruit into smoothies or a fruit salad with yogurt is a real treat to alternate for dessert. In time, the craving for those same sweets will improve.

Some people can’t live without their sodas.  However, if you want a delicious summer beverage to replace soda, then brew a pot of fruity herbal tea like lemon zinger, sweeten with sugar alternative, and refrigerate for later in the day.   This is refreshing and just as wonderful, only minus the fizz and bubbles of soda and better for you.

Hydrogenated oils (trans fats) clog arteries so read food labels.  Replace shortening and cooking oils for olive oils and ones such as canola, corn or coconut oil.  In fact, you will be surprised at how well substituting canola or corn oil works for your baking.  I use olive oil for my oil pie crust for regular dessert pies, pot pie crust to quiche. 

Excessive salt is not the best thing for us.  Nonetheless, herb and spice blends are one way to help make a delightful adjustment.  You might even want to try my herbal salt substitute recipe or my special blend mixes.

Take advantage of nuts and seeds to supplement your diet.  I urge caution here because nuts can be extremely fattening so measure your portion and stick to it.  

What I shared here briefly is far from everything, but at least it can help make the transition to a healthier way of eating seem more doable. 

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