We have been talking about renewing an exercise routine and living healthy. Eating healthy is a big part of living healthy. No one likes the thought of dieting, because that means eliminating the stuff that we want to eat and the stuff that is convenient to eat. However, there are many simple food substitutions we can make to eat healthier––and still enjoy the foods we love. The Bible tells us to be wise in our eating habits. The way that we eat, drink, and care for the body that God gave us can bring glory to Him. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV).
One of the simplest things we can do is watch the serving size of foods. Become familiar with nutrition labels, and read the ingredients. Nutrition labels contain the amount of calories per serving size. A serving of cereal does not mean just grabbing the cereal box out of the cupboard and filling the bowl to the top. Most serving sizes for cereals are ½–1 cup of cereal, followed by ¼– ½ cup of milk. When you are eating chips or cookies, don’t just grab a handful––look at the serving size. If the serving size is 17 chips or 2 cookies, just take that amount. It may initially feel like a pain to have to count out everything you eat, but you will become accustomed to what a serving looks like and you will feel so much better about your progress in the long run. You can also purchase a kitchen scale, as some serving sizes are based on ounces or grams.
Other changes you can make involve substituting healthier choices for the more fattening snack ideas. You can substitute applesauce instead of oil for cake and brownie mixes. The applesauce still makes the batter moist and delicious, and you don’t have the negative qualities of the oil. Switch to whole wheat breads, pastas, and rice instead of white, making sure the first ingredient on the nutrition label is “whole grain.” Salsa with fresh tomatoes, onions, and garlic is a much healthier alternative to most chip dips. Baking instead of deep frying also cuts down on the calories. Compare different cooking sprays versus butter, margarine, or Crisco when frying and baking. I found this handy chart for junk food cravings at BabyCenter.com.
|Ice cream||Nonfat frozen yogurt or reduced-sugar ice cream|
|Can of cola||Mineral water with fruit juice or a squeeze of lime|
|Doughnut or sweetened pastry||Whole-grain bagel with jam|
|Slice of cake||Low-fat banana-nut or zucchini bread, or angel food cake topped with fresh strawberries|
|Sugar cereals||Whole-grain cereal or oatmeal topped with brown sugar and cinnamon|
|Potato chips||Low-fat chips, microwave popcorn, or pretzels|
|Sour cream||Nonfat sour cream or nonfat plain yogurt|
|Sundae toppings||Fresh berries or sliced bananas. If you crave crunch, throw on some crispy rice cereal.|
|Canned fruit in sugar syrup||Fresh fruit or unsweetened frozen fruit|
|Chocolate||Fat-free hot cocoa made with nonfat milk. Or make some trail mix with raisins, dried fruits, nuts, and a small handful of chocolate chips.|
|Cookies||Graham crackers. Add a little peanut butter for pizazz.|
|Cheesecake or other creamy dessert||Small slices of cheese on whole-wheat crackers, or low-fat rice or vanilla pudding|
Fast food tips
If you are craving fast food, or if fast food is your only option and you need something quickly, try ordering from the kid’s menu. Kid’s meals are smaller portions, and more accurate to the amount we actually need, meaning fewer calories. Most fast food restaurants now offer side dish options where you can choose a salad or fruit instead of french fries. Water instead of soda is always a good option, and grilled chicken sandwiches contain less fat and calories than hamburgers (just don’t negate the healthiness with tons of mayo!). Many fast food chains are making the nutritional information for their products available. Make sure to ask for that information if it is not readily available. A good tip when ordering––the words “small,” “kiddie,” and “regular” identify the appropriate serving sizes with fewer calories.
Eating healthy can be as simple as making some food substitutions. Fruits and vegetables are always great snack options over candy and chips. Watch your serving sizes, and make sure you are staying active. Make sure you do not become obsessed with counting everything out and always eating the healthiest choice. It is okay to splurge once in awhile and have some ice cream instead of the yogurt. If you feel that you do have a problem with food, exercising, or being overweight, make sure you speak with your doctor. He or she can help you make out a food or exercise plan that is specially suited for you. Do not allow your eating behaviors to become unhealthy, and remember that our most important goal is to follow Christ’s example and live for Him. “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? … But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:25, 33).
Food of the Month: Water
The human body is about 50–70% water. Water serves as the medium through which nutrients and wastes enter and leave the body. Water is needed in all aspects of bodily function. It regulates body temperature, blood pressure, and blood volume. Water lubricates joints and serves as a cushion (such as in the eyes and in the amniotic fluid during pregnancy). It is recommended for adults to take in 8 glasses of water per day. Water intake is encouraged throughout the day, especially when sweating, partaking in vigorous activities, being in hot climates, and during illness. Thirst is a late sign of dehydration, which has already occurred before the body is prompted to replace fluid loss. The best part about water is that it has no calories! Water can be consumed at every meal, and still not add any extra calories to what you are already eating. You can even add a twist of lime or lemon juice to add some flavor if you need an extra kick. With warmer months approaching, make sure you are taking in plenty of water to stay healthy and active.
By Sherri Houmard