Posted: Monday, March 19, 2018 – 2:06 PM
I’m not a fan of the word “no” when it comes to diet and weight loss.
Because when we focus on the word “no” we feel punished and unhappy. And that’s what happens when we constantly deprive ourselves of the foods we love.
In my own weight loss, I found that having a positive mindset about food-focusing on what I could eat instead of what I couldn’t-made me so much stronger, resilient, and more successful at losing weight over time.
That’s why I’m all about helping you find ways to say “yes” when your sweet tooth or food cravings kick in. So you satisfy yourself and still stay on track for a positive weight loss.
Here are a few of my favorite healthy food swaps—ideas you can use to treat yourself and say “yes,” so you feel full and satisfied and lose weight happily.
1. Swap in Chocolate Shakeology for chocolate ice cream
Yes, it’s true! There are a lot of chocolates on the market today that can be really low in sugar while being high in healthy fiber and protein. Of course, my favorite choice is a thick and frosty Chocolate Shakeology that I like to top with an extra handful of cacao nibs. If you blend in some ice, it feels like you’re eating chocolate ice cream with sprinkles – with far fewer calories and less sugar – plus all the amazing superfood nutrients you get from every glass of Shakeology. It’s an amazingly purposeful, good-for-you treat.
2. Swap in frozen fruit for gummy candies
Are you a gummy bear, chewy candy-type person? If so, I’d recommend swapping them out for frozen fruits, like cherries, grapes, or even chopped mangoes. It couldn’t be simpler – just pop a bowl of any of these fruits into the freezer for an hour and you have an instantly satisfying sweet treat that has the chewy texture of gummy bears without all the refined sugar and calories. Plus, fruit has fiber and antioxidants you won’t get from sugary candy.
3. Swap in baked fries for deep-fried fries
Just because you’re in weight-loss mode doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy crispy French fries. Try turnips or kohlrabi instead of potatoes – simply cut them up like fries, sprinkle them with a little olive or coconut oil, and season and bake them in the oven for an hour at 425° F until they’re crispy. I promise you’ll love the way they taste and the way they crunch – and they’re so much healthier than the deep-fried version.
4. Swap in a veggie pizzas for regular pizza
No matter what, there are some nights when I just crave pizza! But instead of going for a high calorie slice of pizzeria pizza that’s packed with fat and empty carbs, I make mini-pizzas, using portobello mushroom caps as the “crust.” Just cut the stems off the mushrooms, put them on a lined baking sheet, and bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 300° F to soften the caps. Top them with pizza or tomato sauce and a couple of roughly chopped mozzarella cheese sticks, and pop them back into the oven. And in a few minutes, you have a delicious, veggie-based meal of melty, cheesy mini-pizzas. So easy, so good, and veggies most.
5. Swap in “treat” for “cheat”
Telling yourself you “cheated” isn’t great for your mindset. Instead, shift your mindset and “treat” yourself. It’s okay to treat yourself once in a while. I want you to live your life. Instead of beating yourself up, enjoy it, track it, and move on, so you can clear your head and get right back into weight-loss mode. The bottom line? Losing weight shouldn’t feel like a battle that’s won or lost on a daily basis.
Approach it with a positive mindset and you’ll discover your weight-loss journey can be fun and enjoyable, and it actually becomes easier – not more difficult – as time goes on.
Ilana Muhlstein, R.D.N. is a Beverly Hills-based registered dietitian nutritionist. At UCLA she led a benchmark weight loss and health promotion program, titled the Bruin Health Improvement Program (BHIP), and was the dietitian on the hit show Fit to Fat to Fit on A&E.