This article on Lifehacker about substituting ingredients to make your food more healthy made me think of my own strategies for weight control over the years.
One of the keys to living a long time is maintaining a healthy weight. I have a huge appetite and if I didn’t exercise as frequently as I do, I’m certain I would weigh nearly 300 lbs. Even with daily joggling, I’m considered “overweight” based on my BMI. I like to eat. So, I’ve tried to find ways to reduce calories without having to reduce how much I eat.
Many of my calories come from what I drink. Therefore, I made some conscious changes to reduce the effect of my drinking habits.
1. Switch from regular soda to diet soda. I love drinking soda pop. I would drink 3 or 4 cans a day. At 150 calories a can that started to add up. So, I switched from the regular soda to the diet sodas despite the fact that I couldn’t stand the taste. After a couple months of drinking it, I tolerated it. After a few more months, I liked it. Now, I prefer diet sodas over regular ones. Diet Dr. Pepper is my favorite.
2. Switch from soda to other options. Another drinking change was to switch from soda to tea. I never liked coffee but could tolerate hot tea. In my younger years I used to give up soda for Lent so during that time I would drink tea. Eventually I liked it as an alternative. But with 2 sugar packets used per glass of tea, it wasn’t much healthier. That’s why I tried the next strategy.
3. Wean yourself off of sugar. When I first started drinking tea regularly, I would add multiple sugar packets. Then one day I started thinking that all the sugar wasn’t good for my weight or my teeth. This lead to cutting back from two sugar packets to one. Then I went from one to half a packet. After about 6 months I switched to no sugar and have never gone back. I believe this change has made a significant impact on my weight. Now I drink nearly a gallon of hot tea a day and do so without any calories.
4. Switch to fat free milk. I like cereal and used to use whole milk. I switched to skim milk which has about half the calories and it tastes just as good to me. It took some time to adapt but you will adapt nonetheless.
5. Eat carrots instead of chips. I’m a huge fan of potato chips and could probably eat them every day. I don’t. Instead, I get carrots and eat them instead. At first they are a poor substitute but eventually you get used to them. If you’re like me you’ll even come to like them.
And here are some food substitutions that were suggested in the article.
6. Switch to lower calorie, more flavorful cheeses.
7. Use applesauce or oils rather than butter. Perfect idea for toast.
8. Use flavors like cinnamon, vanilla, or nutmeg instead of sugar.
9. Use herbs instead of salt.
10. Use yogurt instead of sour cream.
Those are some of the substitution strategies I use. What do you do?