The snack marketing industry spends a lot of money trying to get you hooked on their treats. They spend even more money researching ways to make them undeniable. That’s why it’s helpful to have a plan when you’ve decided to eat healthier. There are many ways to take tucks in your eating plan that cause almost no discomfort whatsoever. Here are eight of the least painful, actually easy ways to get your eating back on track.
1. Replace Creamer with Whole Milk
Yes, it is a good deal better for you, and no, don’t start on that fat-free thing. What you’re trying to cut out is all the chemicals and sugar that are in the creamer. It really isn’t about the fat, in this case, which your body needs in order to make use of the calcium. Creamer is made up of soybean oil, sugar, water, carrageenan, and high fructose corn syrup unless you’ve gone an “all-natural” route. Plus, the serving size is one tablespoon, not the three or four unmeasured tablespoons you tend to add to your coffee. This means that you’re actually consuming about 24 grams of sugar per cup.
2. English Muffins Instead of Bagels
Yes, the bagel is an institution, but it’s one you should probably do without on a regular basis. No one would tell you that you can never have a bagel again, after all. It just can’t be every day. Instead, try English muffins if you must have a little bread for breakfast.
3. Eat the Entire Egg
There’s nothing virtuous or smart about eating egg whites. Sorry about that, but it’s better for you to eat the yolk too unless you’ve been strictly prohibited by a medical professional. Egg yolk contains choline, a fat-fighting substance, plus a lot of protein and other good things.
4. Replace Mayo with Hummus
Yes, just above you were instructed to eat the whole egg. However, mayo, which is made with eggs, can also have some unhealthy stuff in it, unless you’re whipping it up yourself. So, you should skip it most of the time and go with an equivalent amount of hummus. Yes, hummus is made with tahini, but in such small amounts, the fats are not bad for you. Plus, consider all the flavors hummus comes in. You could go in any direction—be it roasted pine nuts, roasted red peppers, or extremely spicy chilis.
5. Toss out Fat-Free Dressings
Yes, you thought you were doing the right thing, but flip that bottle over and check out the ingredients lists. Companies tend to add sugar when they cut out fat, and without fat, you can’t absorb all the vitamins in your salad anyway. So, it’s better to be abstemious with the full-fat, three-ingredient dressing than it is to drown your salad in fat-free chemicals.
6. Always Read Labels
Even when something says it’s good for you, flip the package around and read the label. What you may look for is using nutrient-dense foods, natural sweeteners, and possibly even dairy or gluten-free. But healthy snacks don’t necessarily lack flavor, they’re just simpler and far less complicated. Relying on ingredients such as walnuts and almonds isn’t a bad thing at all, and can actually leave you feeling satisfied.
7. Drop the Chips
Get rid of chips as a side dish. Sure, they taste great, but they’ve got nothing else going for them. Instead, pack a fruit salad full of cantaloupe, strawberries, and blueberries or a good ratio of celery and carrots next to your sandwich. You could also do a double handful of popcorn if you were feeling festive, and add a few shreds of parmesan to the hot kernels. This way, you’re loading up on fiber at worst and carotenoids and anthocyanins at best.
8. Get Crudite with It
Crudite is just a fancy word for sliced vegetables. Serve them with hummus instead of pita bread. But here is the good part—you don’t have to just stick to carrots and celery. Go all out. Slice up some zucchini into sticks, try a new kind of snacking tomato, go ahead and use that broccoli before it turns the color of no-one-wants-to-eat-it, and use the whole pepper. Storing them in Tupperware will keep them fresh for at least a week, and you have your nightly movie-watching snack all ready to go.
Little changes and small steps are where you can make the most of your new leaf. While you may occasionally go all-in for a bagel or enjoy a handful of chips, that’s no reason to scrap your plan. Just turn back to what you were doing and remember that there’s no need to “forgive” yourself. You ate food. As you go on, your changes will seem normal and the swap to healthy snacks will be easier.