I feel so lucky – HTP is only a few days old and I’ve already procured a reader! And a commenter at that. Lovely! I was going to respond to the comment directly, but I thought it would be way more fun to do so in a brand spankin’ new post.
Margo writes: It’s a new year and I want a better body both inside and out. Any ideas for lower calorie meals that actually taste good too?
Hi Margo, I’ve been trying to figure that out myself! With all the baking that has been going on in my house, there is definitely a call for some low-cal, post-holiday meals. I’ll have to get back to you with some specific recipes, but I can offer some tips to get you started.
[Please note: I am by no stretch of the imagination a doctor or medical professional of any kind. These are just some of the honest-to-goodness ways I keep myself healthy. They work for me. They might work for you.]
Eliminate the “Clean Plate Club” Mentality: To quote the mother from A Christmas Story, “Finish your food, there are starving children in Africa.” Mmhmm, and how exactly do you expect to get your grimy leftover meatloaf to Africa for those children? Parents have been using this line for centuries to get their kids to eat their meals, and yes, I understand that most kids want to skip the main course and head right for dessert. Sometimes (fine, most of the time) I do too. But adults should not subscribe to the clean plate club (seriously, there aren’t any prizes or anything… mostly it’s just going to result in indigestion). Eat until you’re not hungry any more (as opposed to when you are “full” or “stuffed”), and then remove the food from reach. If it will be good tomorrow, save it for the next day. If it won’t, make less next time. And if you think, “This is just way too good to waste!” I can almost guarantee you can make or purchase the same dish this time next week (or tomorrow) and relive the experience from the start.
If It’s Not In The House, You Won’t Eat It: This can be interpreted in two equally helpful ways. Firstly, if junk food isn’t accessible, you won’t have the urge to munch. I have so much fun cooking and baking, but if there are leftovers that I don’t want to personally consume, I bring them to work and put them out for my coworkers – those calories will look much better on someone else! Second, you will be much more likely to choose a convenient, unhealthy snack before something that is healthy but takes effort to prepare. Keep grab-and-eat fruits and veggies at the ready (I try to eat fruit when I need something sweet, veggies with light ranch when I’m in the mood for salty). Low-cal nuts like almonds are also a great snack alternative. But stay away from those blasted 100 calorie packs, those things are such a scam.
The Fresh Food Conundrum: This is less of a tip on its own, and more of an addendum to the tip above… I have a horrible habit of letting fresh food go to waste. I love buying and eating fresh fruits and veggies, especially when they are locally grown, but I normally forget they are in the fridge. I don’t actually have an answer to this problem, but J.D. over at Get Rich Slowly has some interesting thoughts about food waste, how to eliminate it, and how to save a little money, too.
Take. Your. Time.: When you take time to eat your food, you give your body the chance to realize it isn’t hungry any more before you are licking your plate dry. Not only that, but having your mind focused on the challenge of prepping your next bite (peeling apart an orange, for example) will keep you from mindlessly shoveling in the entirety of your meal. Never used chopsticks before? Great! Here’s some spaghetti.
Water Yourself: Our bodies have this funny way of confusing thirst with hunger. When you start to feel hungry, drink a glass of water. If you’re still hungry in 20 minutes, then you can eat. Bored with regular old tap water? Flavor it with some fresh lemon juice, or try sparkling water for something different.
Wow, look at me, giving you all these healthy tips to keep your resolutions on track! I fully intend to find Margo some healthy recipes that she can use in her own home, but she should probably look away for the next post I have on the docket – a secret family recipe for chocolate and cream cheese cupcakes. Sorry, Margo.