Having a Piece of Cake and Eating It Too!

Dec 30, 2010
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Last night I watched the “Biggest Loser”, a special on where are they now. It looked back on past contestants who have won from each season and how they have maintained their weight loss. A part of the show was focused on preparing a healthy, but a delicious  meal. The celebrity chef took a common  dish and created a healthy version. For example, stuffing is traditionally made from butter and bread; while the healthier version was made from wheat bread, apples and oil.  The Chef also suggested  cooking individual, skinless turkey breasts, instead of an entire turkey.

Many of the recipes seemed easy and looked delicious. Their message was that during the holidays, you don’t have to completely eliminate holiday dishes if you’re trying watch your waistline. You can still eat a lot of the holiday goodies but with substitutes or “healthier versions”. This, of course, takes some planning ahead of time, dedication and creativity. If you think about it, many recipes nowadays can be tweaked to make them health conscious.

I’m all for exercising and eating healthy. And now that I’m getting older, I realize the importance of a balanced diet. I know fiber is good for you, too much fat is bad, drinking plenty of water is a must, and incorporating vegetables and fruits are essential. And recently, at least within the last few months, I see the need for substitutions or “healthier versions” – SOMETIMES.

I love rice, white rice. And I know all about white rice not being good for you — that brown rice is better. And, I never thought I would EVER cut out white rice from my diet, but you know what … I did. Well, for the most part. This is a pretty big deal because I LOVE it. It’s an Asian thing and its part of my DNA. While I’m trying to make better food choices and incorporating more of the good stuff; I realized I had to make some concrete changes to get results. Such as eating brown rice at home, ordering tofu instead of meat or using egg beaters instead of real eggs.

These are my changes I’ve tried and they have worked for me. Even though I’ve made these changes, this does not mean I’ve eliminated white rice, meat and eggs from my diet. I believe in moderation – being able to eat your favorite foods, but not having too much of it. And substitutions are a great idea and clever in making something “bad” into something “good”. But sometimes you don’t want to mess with a good thing. Tofu turkey, come on. Live a little, but in moderation.

Here are some other helpful healthy food options:

  • Replacing pasta in spaghetti and using spaghetti squash
  • Adding a small serving of granola to plain non-fat or low-fat yogurt
  • Replacing chips & dip with salsa & baked tortilla chips
  • Using low fat or non-fat cream cheese instead of butter on bagels
  • If you can’t get enough fruit/vegetables in your diet, try some fruit and veggie juices (already made). Some popular brands are : V8, Bolthouse Farms, Naked Juice & Odwalla.
  • Use applesauce instead of oil when baking
  • Use low-fat or fat free sour cream when making dips
  • Instead of butter or margarine, use a low-calorie butter spray or alternative
  • Instead of pouring your dressing on your salad, ask for it on the side.   Dip each bite into the dressing, rather than pouring it over the salad
  • Swap red meats with lean meats such as chicken and turkey

Author: Jenny Carlton