Healthy Alternatives That Taste Great
Tuesday | February 7, 2017
By Richard Harrison, iGenFIT
Eating clean is an art-form, and for the most part, you either love it, or you hate it. The love comes from the fact that you know you are providing your body the best quality nutrition it needs for peak performance and physique, and the hate comes from the fact that it can be expensive, time-consuming, and bland. But it doesn’t need to be a love-hate relationship. Choosing a healthy alternative for your already established recipes can be simple, and can taste great if you know what you’re doing.
In this article we’re going to show you that eating-healthy can still taste great, be cheap, and be just as quick as your normal cooking. Plus, we’ll give you some time-saving tips.
Reading Nutrition Labels
Reading nutrition labels has been considered calorie counting by many people, but it should really be more than that. For the most part, we don’t read the labels for how many calories each item has. What we are really looking for is the quality and ratio of nutrients in each item and the more important part is the ingredients.
You’d be surprised at the number of unhealthy ingredients that can be found in some food items. Just because the front says its gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, sugar-free, low-fat, or fat-free, doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you. You should ask yourself, how can they make it that way. Many times, they substitute what they took out for an alternative, and sometimes the alternatives are more harmful than the original ingredient.
Take sugar-free sports drinks for example. Sports drinks in general are actually very good for you if you are active. They replenish needed electrolytes, and despite them being high in carbohydrates, are exactly what you need to replenish your body. Your body needs a lot of carbs after exercising because you need to replenish your energy stores. If you don’t, your body will start eating the next available source of energy, which is the protein found in your muscles. Not taking in carbs will actually cause you to lose muscle after a workout.
Sugar-free sports drinks choose to use artificial sweeteners as the alternative to added sugar cane in a regular drink. These sweeteners, aspartame and acesulfame, are known carcinogens to your body. They have been linked to cancer, without much evidence, but still, if it’s not natural, are we really meant to be ingesting it.
For the average person the ratio of Carbs to Fats to Protein should be around 55:30:15 percent. That means 55% of your daily calories should be from Carbs, 30% from Fats, and 15% from Protein. For athletes it is recommended to increase carbs to 65%, decrease fat to 20% and keep protein intake the same at 15%. The reason is that active people need more energy to maintain their increased strain on muscles and body. But anywhere between those two ratios is within recommended intake.
Alternatives That Taste Great
Alternative to Burgers
Although ground turkey is commonly considered healthier than ground beef, you should be aware of the labels. Ground turkey is not always healthier and in some cases is actually less healthy. Both turkey and beef contain saturated fats (animal fat), which is associated with high cholesterol. When comparing meats, check out the unsaturated fat line. You want this line to be the lowest possible, and polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats to be higher. The leaner the meat, generally, the lower the saturated fats.
However, if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to burgers, look up Black Bean – Quinoa Burgers. I will be posting the recipe for this on Friday. Although it won’t provide you the texture of a beef or turkey burger, the flavor is amazing and just might become a family favorite. It maintains the burger taste, but is made up of a great array of high nutrient ingredients, high carbs, and naturally low-fat–not a substitute. Instead it uses Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats, which are the fats that you really want in your diet.
Alternative to Cereal
They say that they don’t make em’ like they used to. Today’s cereals, even the healthier choices, are high in additives, preservatives, and sugars. I found this out the hard way when I went on a 21-day Sugar Detox. It’s tough to find anything in the grocery stores that doesn’t have sugar in it at all.
The best alternatives to today’s popular cereals is going back to your roots with Old-Fashioned Oatmeal, Grits, Plain Shredded Wheat, and Cream of Wheat. Each of these, while bland when served plain, can taste great with a couple natural ingredients. Honey, or real maple syrup is a great natural sugar that can give your body the boost of energy it needs in the morning before the complex carbs start burning. Adding fruit is another way to add sugar to your diet in a healthy way.
For oatmeal, I like to add peanut butter for some healthier fat, protein, and the taste. Everything tastes better with peanut butter. You can also add dry PB alternatives like PB2 or its generic equivalent.
Alternative to Sour Cream
Instead of adding sour cream to your baked potato, try plain greek yogurt. Both are relatively similar in ingredients, but greek yogurt has more of the free-radicals and probiotic bacteria that your stomach needs to regulate itself. It’s also generally lower in fat and calories than sour-cream–even the low-fat sour-cream.. The taste is a little different, but not too noticeable.
Alternative to White Bread
In general, white bread is not nutritious and should always be consumed in moderation if at all. The healthier alternative here is whole wheat bread. An even healthier alternative is sprouted bread, like Ezekiel Bread, but that can be a little more expensive and has a less appealing texture.
When looking at different wheat breads, check the label for protein, and carbohydrates. 100% Whole Wheat is your best choice, but the brands will vary in calories per serving, how many slices are in a serving, and how much protein and carbs are in each serving.
Alternative to Milk-Chocolate
While delicious, milk-chocolate is also high in saturated fat. The best bet here to keep it flavorful is to choose dark chocolate. The darker the better for you. The darker it is, the less milk is in it and the more cacao. Cacao is known for its richness in iron, anti-oxidants, magnesium, and calcium. It also has the same effects of chocolate in lifting your mood.
There are tons of alternatives, too many to list here. My recommendation is to start by looking into nutrition labels and find out which ingredients are healthy and which are not. This is a great starting point because it will allow you to look for alternative products within the same section first. When you get a little more comfortable you may want to start experimenting at home with different recipes. The internet is full of recipes that are alternatives to family favorites. Some of them are very good and some aren’t so much, but there are plenty available for free.
This Friday I will be posting a recipe for Black Bean – Quinoa Burgers. You can expect to find a Recipe of the Week every week on this blog. Click here and save the url, or check back in friday for the posted recipe. Happy hunting!
Check back in tomorrow for our post on:
How to start building exercise into your daily routines for a simple transition from inactive to active lifestyle.