You don’t have to give up all of your favorite foods to live a healthier lifestyle. By making small changes at home you can improve the nutrition of many foods that are considered unhealthy.
Traditional pizza was much lighter than the meat and cheese-laden pizzas that are popular today. With a few changes, you can get back to making pizza a healthier meal. Choose a thin crust, and pick whole grain when available. Stick with red sauce instead of cream-based sauces. Vegetable toppings, such as mushrooms, bell peppers and onions, are lower in calories and fat than meat. If you do add meat, choose a leaner source like Canadian bacon or turkey sausage, and use just a sprinkle to add flavor. Cut back on the cheese for a healthier pizza. Freshly grated parmesan is full of flavor, which allows you to use less. If pizza isn’t the same without a stringy cheese, stick with just a couple ounces of part-skim mozzarella.
Sandwiches are often loaded with sodium due to the bread, processed meats, cheeses, and condiments. Lighten up a sandwich by starting with the bread. Choose a crusty whole wheat baguette or even a low-sodium wrap. Use a bean-based spread like hummus for protein. Grilled vegetables like eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and tomatoes provide a great way to load up a sandwich without relying on high-fat meats. Choose mustard as your condiment or substitute a sprinkle of low-sodium seasoning mix.
We tend to load pasta with cheeses and meat, which turns it into a calorie nightmare. Light pasta dishes are possible. First, try whole grain pasta, or experiment with pastas made from alternative grains, such as quinoa, for extra protein and fiber. Toss pasta with sauteed vegetables and extra virgin olive oil for a simple meal. For sauces, stick with a low-sugar marinara. Make it more filling by adding sauteed mushrooms, and swap red meats with ground chicken or turkey breast. You can also keep your pasta plant-based by combining it with beans.
Ice Cream Sundaes
A standard ice cream sundae with syrups and candy toppings is high in sugar and loaded with calories, but you don’t have to cut out this dessert all together. Choose a frozen yogurt for the base, and use chopped fresh fruits and nuts for toppings. If you miss the candy toppings, use chopped dark chocolate or crumbled whole grain cookies.