Healthy Substitutes for Your Favorite Foods

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If you have ever switched your diet or have seen others do so, you know how hard it is to break ties with certain foods that are highly addictive and or just your favorite foods. A lot of the times the foods that are our favorites before switching our diets are not healthy, so today I am going to share healthy and delicious substitutes for YOUR favorite foods. You can still enjoy delicious healthy food and reap the benefits, healthy food doesn’t have to taste healthy. That is the trick!!

Now, it is actually very easy to substitute foods out for healthier ones. There are health stores everywhere, and even normal grocery stores have health food aisles. You can always find gluten free, reduced or no added sugar options and no saturated fat, organic etc. Options are never ending in the healthy food world, so don’t think eating healthy will limit you because it wont!!! Here are some examples of easy, delicious, healthy substitutes for everyday foods.

Let me start with sweeteners, whether you’re baking, cooking, or adding flourish to your coffee, there are healthy alternatives to pure sugar!

Number 1: Honey, this is a super good alternative to pure sugar, it is organic and nothing is added to it, no color etc. Here are some of the benefits of honey! it helps stabilize metabolism, it is a source of antioxidants, it is a natural source of energy, it aids in prevention of diabetes, and it helps counter pollen allergies!! how awesome is honey? it is really good stuff, and you can’t go wrong with it. You can use it for anything, baking, cooking, in your tea and coffee and I even like to use it as a natural cough soothing remedy when I am sick, it’s uses never end.

Number 2: Coconut sugar, this definitely beats cane sugar with the health side of things. It is 100% organic and again nothing is added, it doesn’t need any help being the star of the show. Yes, this is a bit more expensive but it is definitely worth it. And if you’re worried about adding liquid sweetener to your baked goods this is a great alternative to honey, it acts just like cane sugar but it is definitely better for you. Here are the health benefits!! My favorite part is that it is very low on the glycemic index, this means that unlike cane sugar it doesn’t affect the levels of sugar in your blood already there and it doesn’t have the tendency to raise your blood pressure! That is a huge deal, yes if you eat tons of coconut sugar the effects will be the same as eating cane sugar, but that is the point; less is more.

Number 3: Molasses, molasses is another great alternative to sweeteners. It tastes absolutely amazing on its own but when you add it to your baked goods, salad dressing and coffee it makes all those things taste even better! Plus if you are vegan, molasses is a good option for you because it is calorie dense(good calories) and made from plant matter! This of course is a benefit for everyone, vegan or not. Here are the health benefits of molasses!! It has the lowest sugar content of any sugar cane product, and it actually has nutritional value unlike other sugars! it contains important minerals and vitamins including; iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium. All of those vitamins and minerals are so important to get into your system, so why not eat it in a delicious way and use molasses a substitute for sugar?!

Okay, now that I’ve talked about sugar for three paragraphs lets talk about main parts of dishes.

Pasta and healthier alternatives!!!

Number 1: Gluten free pasta, this is actually super easy to find in any grocery store! and it is pretty much the same price as normal pasta in  my experience. Cutting out gluten is such a huge and wonderful step to take in your diet! I promise you will feel more energized and less full and bloated all the time. I have cut out gluten, most sugar and dairy from my diet(i’m lactose intolerant) and I am so happy i did that for my body.

Number 2: Vegan pasta, yes they actually have pre-made vegan pasta that you cook just like any other pasta. There are so many good brands out there, and what makes this good is it is plant based and it doesn’t have any nasty added ingredients that are bad for you!! I highly recommend them as a substitute for your normal pasta.

Number 3: Veggie noodles, this is a more complicated process but it is super healthy. It is where you take any sturdy vegetable such as squash, cucumber, carrots etc and put them in a spiral slicer that makes them into noodles!! I really love this alternative a lot, its a way to get your veggies in, its gluten free, natural and you don’t have to worry about bad ingredients. You can find a spiral slicer for cheap in any home store such as bed bath and beyond and even amazon. I highly recommend veggie noodles.

Breads and breakfast foods made healthy!!

There are so many ways to keep making delicious breads and breakfast foods without using any added sugar, dairy or gluten!! I have several recipes already on this very blog that you can go look at, and I have many more to come!!!

Number 1: no flour, yes you can bake goodies with absolutely no flour!! how is this done? by adding in natural ingredients that do the same job as flour, such as; bananas, oats, dates, and chia seeds. I have a recipe coming soon that is gluten free banana bread (absolutely no flour needed) and you’ll see exactly how it is done!!

Number 2: oats, rolled oats or just normal oats are a great substitute for flour! all you do is put them in a blender and create a solid mass of powdered oats, I used this method in my gluten and dairy free pancakes a few blog posts back!! It is super healthy and easy as oats are very accessible. Link to my gluten and dairy free pancakes:Dairy and Gluten Free Pancakes

Number 3: Gluten free flour and plant based flour. Gluten free flour does not act the same way as normal flour, it lacks the rising property but it is a good alternative for most of your baked goods. my personal favorite substitute is plant based flours, I use these all the time when bake; Almond flour, coconut flour, and tapioca flour are all great substitutes!! plus they add an extra flavor in your goods. I would say I use almond flour the most when I am baking, I love the results. The one draw back is plant based flour is pretty expensive and aren’t sold in large quantities. I would say the cheapest way to cut gluten out of your baked goods is to just not put any flour in it. You’d be surprised of how many things you can use in place of flour.

Alternatives to dairy products!!

You can still get the benefit from “milk” without eating cow milk or other dairy products. here is how.

Number 1: Plant based milk, this is a way healthier alternative for so many reasons. I am lactose intolerant so for me I don’t have a say in the matter but I can tell you plant based milks are delicious and full of nutrients. these include; almond milk(my favorite), coconut milk, soy milk and so many more!! Here are some health benefits to plant based milk; there are less calories in these milks than normal dairy milk, and they have really good nutrients that are really good for your body!!!

Number 2: Coconut oil, I use this as a substitute for butter all of the time. I use it to cook dinner in a pan, I put it in baked goods etc. It works the exact same as butter but it is way healthier for you and it takes less of it to do the same job as butter. Here are some health benefits of coconut oil;  it increases the amount of good cholesterol in your body known as HDL, and it helps convert the bad cholesterol LDL into good cholesterol, it also helps promote a healthy heart which will prevent risk of heart disease.

Rice and grain alternatives!!

I am sure a lot of people think white rice and grains are good for us, this is wrong. White rice, a lot like white bread does more harm to your internal system than good. The same with a lot of grains. So here are some healthy alternatives.

Number 1: Bulgar wheat, instead of white rice try Bulgar. It actually takes less time to cook, it is about the same cost BUT it is way healthier for our bodies. Another option is Quinoa, again cooks just like normal rice but is way better for you and lastly, brown rice. All three options are way better than jasmine rice(white rice), and there are many more options as well!! They are all full of amazing vitamins and nutrients that are super good for your body and won’t clog up your system like white rice.

For the grains:

Number 1: stick to whole grains that haven’t been processed and refined. This blocks out a lot of nasty things from getting into your body. These whole grains include; whole wheat, whole oats, brown rice, whole rye, freekeh, buckwheat, Bulgar, quinoa and couscous. You can not go wrong if you incorporate any of those grains into your diet instead of non-whole grains that have been processed.

There is just a taste of how you can substitute healthy food into your diet!! I hope you enjoyed. Follow me on instagram where I post workouts and even more pictures of food!! Here is the link to my page: https://www.instagram.com/lookingglassfitness/

 

Does The Set “health zone” Apply to Everyone?

Body Mass Index For Child - Geocvc.co regarding Child's Bmi Chart There are body mass testing calculations, and charts that all tell you one thing; how much you should weigh based on age, height, and gender. Are these realistic?

No!! Every single BODY is different, you can’t just assign a number you should weigh based on age, height and gender, that is not realistic at all. You can tell me the healthy amount of fat I should have, but you can’t tell me a specific number I should weigh. When you got to the doctor they usually weigh you(during a physical exam), and they measure you and based on all of that they look at a chart and determine if you are the in the “health zone”, overweight or underweight. Now this is a HUGE drawback, why? because muscle weighs more than fat, so if you weigh someone who is 5’7″ is 19 years old and is female but she is in good shape and has more muscle than fat it is still going to show “overweight” on the chart. Especially if that said person is very fit and has a lot of built muscle.

I think that whatever weight you feel comfortable at, healthy at, energetic at, is the RIGHT weight for you. I don’t believe there is one set health zone for everybody, I think health zones change with each person. We all have a set weight our body is programmed to have, so to speak. It works very hard to maintain that weight within 5 pounds (both directions) so forcing someone to either gain weight or lose weight because the chart says so is ridiculous, because they’re already at the healthiest weight for them (unless they are obese or severely malnourished).

As long as you feel fit, healthy, energized, and are at a weight YOU feel happy with then don’t worry about theses charts. All that matters is for you to be healthy, you don’t need a chart telling you how to do that, listen to your body and learn how to understand it. That is the only tool you need for you to stay healthy, abide by your bodies personal needs and you’ll be just fine.

Check out my Instagram @lookingglassfitness I post workouts there all the time!! Have a great day everyone!

 

How to Stay Fit and Healthy While Being a Full Time Student

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There’s a cliché around that says “you don’t have time to eat healthy and workout when you’re in college”. I am here to say that is FALSE! If you want to know how to stay healthy and fit as a full-time student, keep reading. Link to related post:Planning Ahead

Time management, I’m sure if you’re a student you’ve heard that a lot. It is a very important component to this topic, if you manage your time correctly you should have no problem getting in a workout. Even if it is a ten minute workout, that’s better than NOT doing anything at all. Working out has a benefit to your brain and mental health as well, it releases chemicals that are natural pain killers which is why you always feel better after a workout! So, instead of being frustrated with an assignment, or getting stuck, take a break and get a workout in. You’ll feel more refreshed and I promise your mind will be more clear so you can tackle your homework.

Quality is better than quantity, yes its true everyone should be working out 3-7 days a week. However, that isn’t always realistic depending on your major, and work load. so, if you can’t get a workout in everyday make the ones you do have time for really count. Make sure you perform all exercises properly to be most effective, and maybe workout with someone to hold you accountable for both working out, and doing everything the right and safe way. I’ll be doing a post on the most effective exercises for weight loss/toning, but I can tell you right now. Do HIIT, and full body workouts, that way you not only get cardio, but you get really great health benefits. For people who don’t have much time, full body workouts are the way to go.

You don’t need a gym to stay fit, you can work out in your dorm or apartment. You don’t need fancy expensive equipment to be fit, all you need is a few minutes, commitment and your own body weight. You don’t need anything more than that to maintain and build a platform for fitness. It will also take less time because you won’t have to walk/drive to the gym, you can just do your workout there in your dorm.

You always have time to eat healthy, you’re in the cafeteria anyway for dinner, why not choose healthy dishes? I know healthy foods don’t always look appetizing, and they may be hard to find on a college campus but I promise there are always healthy options. Give your body and mind the right fuel for your long days of class and studying, choose greens and good proteins like chicken. Choose water over soda, choose fruit over dessert. Your body and mind will thank you for giving it good fuels instead of junk, you’ll notice changes in your body as well. A big part of fitness is nutrition, yes you build muscle in the gym but you fuel and sculpt those muscles in the kitchen.

Mindset, is everything. If you don’t want to change your ways then I can’t force you, you can completely disregard everything above. if you want to be fit and healthy YOU have to make changes within yourself, no one can make you flip a switch in your brain. Your health is in your hands, and you have the final say. If you decide you want to make healthy decision-making a habit, then it will happen but if you decide against it, then nothing will change.

KEYPOINTS:

-Time management-is key

-Quality is better than quantity-always

-You don’t need a gym to stay fit-just you

-You always have time to eat healthy-you’re there anyway, why not choose health?

-Mindset-is everything

You can find me on instagram where I post fitness videos!! @lookingglassfitness

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!!!!!