When I first started this blog back in August I wanted to share the sort of lifestyle I had adopted after realising I wanted to lose weight, be a vegetarian and also save money! I know these are all quite topical issues at the moment – the growing obesity levels in UK and around the world, the lack of education on nutrition, the over production of meat and the lower quality levels of meat being sold at cut price in super markets and also the increasing unemployment and the recession – well when you look at it like that it feels over whelming!!
I know that I felt massively over whelmed by articles telling us to eat one thing, then another telling us the opposite. Diet plans are flying around like hot cakes (low fat hot cakes) and there are money worries being advertised in every media outlet possible.
Ignore all of that and just look at your own life, your routines, your diet and what makes you happy. Then think, what small change can I make just to push myself to be slightly better/ healthier/ financially more secure. This is what I did and I started with diet, which actually in turn helped my bank balance! I read an article the other day which had a list of junk foods and what to swap it for, it looked a little something like this:
Chocolate Bar – Apple
Chips – Salad
Packet of biscuits – celery sticks
Now who in their right mind would think I really fancy a chocolate bar…I know I’ll eat an apple!… go away all you healthy people saying “I would” :). Now in the hope that I don’t sound like one of those lists and am confusing you all more here are a few very subtle things I personally swapped to lose the weight!
Olive Oil for Spray oil
I always keep a small bottle of really good quality olive oil in my kitchen for when I am having guests and a drizzle of olive oil is needed, but for every day use I use spray oil! Especially for fried eggs! It works I promise you. It means I can afford to buy that good quality olive oil too as I’m not using it everyday.
Oven Chips for a Mixed Chip Tray
Let me explain because I completely just made up the term “mixed chip tray” for the purpose of this post. Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Parsnips, Sweet Potatoes etc can all be sliced into wedges, sprayed with oil, sprinkled with salt and baked in the oven to create a healthy, colourful alternative to chips! You can mix and match so it doesn’t get boring and you can just use up whatever if in your fridge. Sometimes I even throw a couple of carrots sliced in half into the mix.
Sauces for Spices and Herbs
A sprinkle of paprika, a bunch of coriander or a load of fresh chilli can pack as much flavour into a meal as adding a sauce to pour on top! Especially meat (sorry veggies) – rub some spice mix onto your steak and forget about that creamy peppercorn sauce. You can experiment with this too and try different herb combinations.
Boiled to death veg for Steamed veg
Theres nothing wrong with boiling your brocoli however if you want the maximum nutritional benefit from it then you would be better off steaming it. You can buy steamers that just sit in your pan over the boiling water for quite cheap so no excuses! Also sometimes I steam my veg then in a frying pan I add a few sprays of oil and give the veg a quick stir fry with some sliced garlic and your only adding about 3 calories from the oil.
Cream in soup for Stock
I have never missed having cream in a soup, in fact the idea of it now seems rather strange to me! If a recipe for soup includes cream then you can just swap it for vegetable stock and you will still have a soup! if you insist on adding cream then do half cream and half stock then see the difference! Same goes for milk – chowder may not look the same but yum it’ll taste just as nice!
Ice cream for Frozen Yoghurt
You can make your own version of frozen yoghurt by blending natural yoghurt with frozen berries. Grate some dark chocolate or drizzle with honey and enjoy!
Everyone is different and so if you want to make a change, ignore all the media hype about dieting and just think “ok what can I swap from my own personal eating habits which might make a change to me”.
Ps I am not a dietician, I am just someone who has done the dieting thing and is now doing the maintaining thing! If you need help with losing weight please see you GP or get proper advice…not just my ramblings!
Have you made any subtle (or none subtle) changes to your diet to help you be more healthy? What are the foods you just couldn’t swap for anything?