Guest Post: How to Make Delicious & Healthy Meals

Woohoo, my first guest post! I'm always excited when fellow foodies reveal themselves and share their thoughts. I want to thank Brett H. for her great article and interest in Eat Simply. Live Healthy.

Interested in writing a guest post? Shoot me an e-mail, we'll make it happen!


How to Save the Foodie from the Health Freak: 
Making Delicious Healthy Meal Plans

Yes, we all know that eating healthy is better for you in the long run. But following healthy meal plans seem to imply that you have to give up your love for food, the joy of tasting and savoring, that post-bite bliss. Indulging in fatty foods bogs down your system, causing heart complications and high blood pressure. No arguing with that. But why is it that health food is so darn bland? It doesn’t have to be!

There are tons of ways that you can make food both healthy and delectable. And the best part is, you don’t have to be a chef of have hours at hand to prepare the meal. Here are some easy ways to eat healthy, while jazzing up the same ol’ diet routine.

1.     Balance your Meals

Try and make balanced meals when you cook. This means that every meal should include an array of foods, like fruits, veggies, grains, protein, and dairy.

Take steak and fries, for example. This classic combo only gives you starch and protein, providing your body with a limited array of nutrients. Instead of eating an enormous portion of steak, limit your intake to about 2-3 ounces. Trade in those fatty fries for a bit of whole grain pasta and some string beans. String beans can be easily “jazzed up” with clove garlic, shallots, parsley, ground black pepper, salt, and a couple drops of olive oil. This combo of spices complements the steak and brings out its flavor. Now, you have a dish that includes a mouthwatering steak and equally delicious side dishes at a fraction of the calories. Not too shabby!

2.    Know your Portions

So your meal-balancing is going well and you’ve completely given up heavy, fatty foods. But then, someone in the office brings in fast food for lunch and your stomach starts to growl. Loudly. Or another person gaily exclaims, “That was a piece of cake!” and you suddenly feel the urge to drop everything and order a slice of tuxedo cheesecake at the nearest restaurant. News flash: you don’t have to give up the good stuff when you’re eating healthy. When you get cravings, grab a friend and split the piece of cake, thereby cutting your calorie intake in half. Smart. Also, moderate the finger foods. Instead of digging straight into the bowl, put the number of chips you want to eat straight onto your plate, that way you can see exactly how much you’re eating. Also, try taking smaller bites of your food. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that chewing for 9 seconds resulted in “significantly less food intake than quickly chewing for just three seconds.” 

To better control your intake, know your portion sizes. For example, 1 oz. of meat is about the size of a matchbox and 3 oz. of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. You should never eat more than three ounces of meat in a serving. If you’re feeling really ambitious, invest in a scale. This way, you can accurately weigh out each portion to better count your calories.

Just keep in mind: you can still savor your favorite eats, just don’t overdo it!

3.    Get in the Kitchen

Have you ever heard the expression, “Eat to lose weight?” Well, maybe it should be changed to “Cook to lose weight.” When you cook at home, you can not only better control your portions, but you can ensure that the food you’re eating isn’t loaded up with tons of butter, oil, and other fatty additives. Maybe instead of going out for pizza with the family every Friday night, you should cook something at home. Change your traditions to include eating in, rather than dining out. You can also learn new recipes to liven up your old diet routine. Try experimenting with different spices and colors. A colorful dish is not only visually appealing, but it contains lots of different types of nutrients. For example, yellow fruits and vegetables contain beta-carotene and vitamin C, whereas blue and purple fruits and vegetables include zeaxanthin, resveratrol, and fiber. Trade in that iceberg lettuce (snore) for some deep purple eggplant, butternut squash, or red peppers. These yummy vegetables can stand in for you typical starch. Instead of going out for Italian and ordering lasagna, prepare a dreamy eggplant parmigiana. Try this recipe, which is quick n’ easy, taking only 45 minutes tops.  

Not only will eating in save you money, but it can also save you time. Taking aside a Sunday afternoon to cook a homemade meal will provide you leftovers that will tide your kids over for the next few days, saving you from having to think about what to prepare for the next meal.

Still skeptical? Try it out. If it doesn’t “pan out” (pun intended) then your cynicism is reaffirmed. But what do you have to lose, except the lbs.? Give these healthy meal plans a try and make a system that works best for you. Who knows? Maybe it will turn out to be a “piece of cake.” 



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