A healthy lifestyle is all about choices. We choose whether we’re going to be focused and present in our daily yoga practice or if we’re going to be worried about that big, upcoming business meeting.
The same goes for food. It’s all about choices. And sometimes the simple choice of replacing one food with another makes all the difference. So here are some of our recommendations for Eat this, not that.
Drink: green lemonade, not store-bought
In the summer, nothing beats a big glass of cold lemonade. But store-bought lemonade is often high in sugar and low in juice and nutritional value. Even the healthier lemonade brands contain very little actual juice. Instead, make this green lemonade in your juicer using:
– 2 apples (I like the tartness of green apples)
– 4 leafs of kale
– 1 cucumber
– 2 cups of spinach
– 1 lemon
Half of this recipe is enough for one serving. This green lemonade is delicious and refreshing, but isn’t loaded down with sugar. For an added nutritional benefit, soak 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in about 2 tablespoons of water and add those to the mix.
Remember, while fresh juices are super healthy and delicious, it does get rid of some of the natural fiber you’d get if you were eating this produce raw, so make sure you’re still taking in some fresh fruits and veggies too.
Breakfast: Greek yogurt with fruit, not baked goods
Grabbing a quick bagel or donut in the morning can be so tempting, especially if you’re in a hurry. Those foods are often packed with sugar and simple carbs, but not much else to give you energy and get your day off to a good start.
Consider switching to a serving of greek yogurt with some chopped fruit instead. Greek yogurt can be a more natural alternative to other low-sugar “light” yogurts that contain chemicals like aspartame. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used in a lot of light and low calorie foods, like yogurt and diet sodas. Aspartame has been cleared as “safe for human consumption” by the FDA, but in order to live a healthy lifestyle centered around whole, natural foods, it’s a good one to avoid. Counting chemicals is more important than counting calories.
If that’s not substantial enough for you, try overnight oats. These prep for you overnight so you can grab them and go, just like your bagel, but they’re healthy and nutritious.
Lunch: Brown bag it
It might be tempting to escape the office by eating out with coworkers. And by all means, go out and get some fresh air. But consider packing a lunch and just grabbing a drink or a good conversation with your coworkers instead of a burger and fries.
When you’re back at your desk, try a salad or a wrap for a healthier option. Here are 25 different options, try some of these recipes.
Dinner: smarter proteins, healthier grains
Americans love our steak and potatoes. And while there’s nothing wrong with a little red meat or starchy veggie every now and then, there are healthier dinner options. Consider switching your protein to chicken or fish. Fish s high protein and low fat, with all of the good kids of fat with omega-3 fatty acids.
Instead of potatoes or rice, eat quinoa. quinoa is all the rage on pinterest and health sites right now. And it should be. With high protein and relatively few calories, this small grain packs a strong nutritious punch. And it’s as easy to cook. Make it like rice or cool it down and toss it with veggies for a quinoa salad.
Desert: Simple is sweet
It’s tempting to buy a pack of cookies or dive into a brownie when the sugar cravings strike. During the summer, produce stands and farmers markets are overflowing with fresh produce. When you just can’t beat the sweet tooth, buy healthy seasonal produce for a treat. Dip strawberries in melted dark chocolate — better for you because it’s full of antioxidants and helps out your heart, brain and blood sugar. Or eat a bowl of berries with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. I you’re feeling extra fancy, grill a mango and garnish it with lime and mint. This recipe made it onto the New York Times 101 fast foods to grill list at No. 19.
Two key takeaways: moderation is everything and focusing on local, seasonal produce is best. Plus, buying local produce helps sustain local farmers. And we can always use some extra karma.
[Photo by Robert Gourley, Celeste Lindell, Ulterior Epicure, Oliver Hallmann, SteFou, jeffreyw, California Avocados, Saaleha Bamjee, Garry Knight- CC BY]
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