Simple Ways to Cut Back on Calories and Optimize Your Diet
Posted Aug 24 2009 10:35am
Sometimes we get it in our heads that if we work out enough our diet isn’t as crucial. But in reality you could be spending hours at the gym and seeing minimal results because you aren’t eating right. If you need motivation to get your food intake under control just think of all the hours you are spending working out that are not as effective as they could be and follow these simple steps to optimize your diet for fitness success!
Natural and Unprocessed Foods -You’ve heard it a million times, but you need to do something about it! Stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, and whole grains. If you’re not familiar with how to make these ingredients into a delicious meal (as opposed to a bland ordeal) take the time to look up recipes online and put together meal plans until it’s easy for you to come up with creative meals. Investing a little time into finding tasty ways to prepare healthy foods will really pay off in the long run.
Prepared Meals for Tight Schedules -I know the low calorie frozen food section may seem like a great place to head to on a tight schedule, but honestly those meals are not where you are getting your best nutrition, and you’re quite a person if you’re going to be satisfied with the tiny portions many of them offer to reduce calories. If you really need food that you can make in a hurry, try and set aside a few hours to cook up some simple meals you can freeze for when you really are in a hurry and can’t put anything else together. Cook up some chicken or lean meat in simple seasonings and freeze them individually so you’ll have an easy protein available when you need it. You can pull it out and cook it up with some steamed frozen veggies for a quick and healthy meal.
Battling the Sugar Craving –Cut fried and sugary foods out of your diet as much as possible. The sugar craving is often what does us in, so if you can tackle that you’ve gone a long way to keeping yourself on the right path. Keep some flavored yogurts, fruity granola, or fresh fruit and fruit juices around to combat the craving. I find it is helpful to keep a variety of options available so you don’t get bored and head for the ice cream.
Seasonings –When cooking try and avoid fatty sauces and seasonings (such as bacon). However, you don’t want to be forcing down bland food in the name of “health.” Enter seasoning! Seasonings and marinades are a life saver when switching over to healthier foods. Try mixing up a marinade with some olive oil, garlic, and herb for lean meats to really make a tasty dish. Lemon juice is also a great addition right before you serve your food, it can really perk up a meal.
Olive Oil –When cooking you can cut back on calories and fat by avoiding using butter. Olive oil is such an easy alternative and you don’t need very much of it. It’s also great because it’s not a super strong tasting oil, so you probably won’t even notice the difference on most foods.
How to Cook your Foods -You can improve the health factor of the foods you are cooking just in the way you cook them as well. Try steaming your vegetables instead of cooking them up with butter. When possible break out the grill for some great grilled corn on the cob and seasoned chicken. Really, the more creative you are the more you will start to enjoy eating healthier.