Eating healthy food is a big part of your overall wellness. It helps you stay fit, lose (or just manage) weight, and just generally makes you feel good! However, this does not mean you should not eat some more indulgent types of food. In fact, indulging is important to maintaining a healthy diet! Here are three reasons why:
Satisfying A Craving
No one is immune to getting cravings. If you’re lucky these cravings can be for specific, healthy meals, but more often than not they are pointing you towards something a little more indulgent. While you obviously should not go overboard and eat tons of chocolate or something like that, occasionally indulging (in moderation in terms of quantity as well) helps to easily satisfy a craving.
Boost In Your Mood
Enjoying something you truly love, especially with food, is a great way to boost your mood. It really has to do with the endorphins your brain will release when you finally consume the food in question. This is especially the case if you have been craving the food in question for a little while now!
Increases Chances Of Success
Have you started a new diet? Whether it is a temporary change or a permanent one, any significant shifts in your diet can be very hard to maintain. No one is meant to be absolutely perfect with what they eat, regardless of what they tell you or others. Being too strict with yourself, especially if you are just starting a new diet, can be a recipe for disaster. If you are not careful, you will eventually crack and overindulge. But knowing you have a regular time for indulging (just remember to keep it in moderation), makes it far easier to actually stick with your overall diet. Trust us on this!
Grocery shopping will always be in our regular routine. You likely started accompanying one of your parents when you were small, since you couldn’t be home alone. But once you leave home? Going to the store and picking out what you want to eat is all your responsibility. Sometimes people find themselves overwhelmed by all the choices, while others just simply have no idea what they should get. Need some help grocery shopping for any reason? Here are key tips to consider:
Use The Flyer
The vast majority of grocery stores will have a weekly flyer showcasing which of their products are on sale. Examining these flyers is the perfect way to not only save money when you shop, but also to generate ideas on what you can make throughout the entire week. If you really want to make this an effective grocery shopping strategy, try looking at more than one flyer when constructing your list and plan of what to eat for the week.
Stick To The List
Speaking of grocery lists, you should always bring your list with your when going to the grocery store and you should always stick to buying what is written on your list. This will help manage your overall funds, while also helping minimize the amount of junk food you buy. If it is not on the list, you are not allowed to buy it! Just be kind to yourself and avoid putting a lot of junk on the list in the first place.
Never Go Hungry
The golden rule of grocery shopping? Never go hungry. When you step inside a grocery store with an empty stomach, you will be far more likely to overindulge in junk food like chips, chocolate, pop, and literally anything that looks appealing. If you need to go to the store but you do feel some hunger pangs, eat a small snack (at least) before you head out. You will thank yourself later.
Need to think of new things to cook for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert? Tired of the same old recipe night after night? Finding good new recipes can certainly be a challenge, especially if you really are not sure where you can look. With that in mind, here are three popular sources for new recipes, as well as what you can expect or should keep in mind when searching each of them:
Family and Friends
Your loved ones are the perfect source for quality recipes. Is there a dish your Mom or Dad made all the time growing up, but you don’t actually have yourself? Ask them for it! Does your friend make a mean macaroni and cheese? Why not ask if you can have that as well! This is a great way to pick up recipes you know are good. Recipes from any other source have a risk of not turning out quite well, even if the risk is small.
There is a plethora of traditional cookbooks out there. The recipes they contain are just about endless. There are cookbooks exclusively for desserts, for vegetarians, for clean eating, et cetera. All you need to do is decide what type of thing you want to cook and there should be a cookbook not far behind! The risk with this, however, and especially if you are going through dietary changes, is the quality of the recipes and whether or not you will actually like them. To help minimize the risk, look at the reviews of the cookbooks you are considering before you actually buy them. This should help give you a picture of the general consensus about the quality of the recipes in the book.
Of course, you can easily search online for new recipes to try. However, one of the catches to doing this is you need to have a rough idea of what you want to cook. For instance, do you want to try vegetarian meals? Do you have a lot of a particular ingredient you want to get rid of? Use these as keywords to help in your search. Google is great, but Pinterest is excellent for easily finding recipes.
Want to try eliminating gluten from your diet? Whether it is because you suffer from celiac disease and medically need to cut it out, or are simply trying a new diet for weight loss or other health reasons, you need to consider potential pitfalls. Gluten free eating is not nearly as simple as eating a diet without restrictions. Here are key things to watch out for:
Highly Processed Alternatives
There are gluten free alternatives to most of the common products we are used to eating, like pasta, granola bars, and cereal. However, relying on these alternatives is not a healthy option and can actually cause a lot of other problems for you, including weight gain. Why? In order to replicate these products without gluten, they have to use thickening agents, sugar, and oil (that often goes rancid during the production process of this food). All of these will quickly add more sugar to your body.
When you decide to start eating without gluten in your diet, you will experience a transition period, which is often characterized by feelings of withdrawal from the products you’ve come to love. This is, unfortunately, unavoidable if you really want or need to practice gluten free eating. There is no set time for this uncomfortable transition period, unfortunately. It is just something you have to work through!
Unfortunately, you can actually experience malnutrition when you are trying out gluten free eating. You need to pay a lot of attention to your diet to ensure you are actually getting the vitamins and other nutrients you need for your body to function well. This is difficult because gluten free alternatives do not always have what you need (most of the time they don’t), and even some supplements can have gluten in them as well, so you still have to be careful if you need help from that angle. The only sure fire way to avoid this particular pitfall if you insist on still practicing gluten free eating is to consult a professional (e.g. a registered dietician) and to pay extra attention to your diet in the aftermath.
Do you own a slow cooker? If not, you should invest in one! They are amazing when it comes to cooking your meals for you. They are great additions whether you are only cooking for yourself or for a large family. Here are three significant benefits of using a slow cooker:
Save On Time
Do you lead a busy life? A slow cooker can help with that. Many of the recipes you would make in this appliance just require you to do some simple food prep (e.g. chopping vegetables) before dumping all the ingredients into the slow cooker and just letting it cook for you throughout the course of the day. You can then run errands outside the home, go to work, do chores like laundry, or even relax with a nap! No need to be standing at the stove and slaving away.
Cooking For A Crowd
Need to feed a lot of people? Aside from ordering food, your best course of action to easily feed a crowd is to plug in your slow cooker and let it do its magic. You can buy a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker, which is enough to make food for quite a large group in a single pot. You can easily feed an average family with food to spare with one pot!
Year Round Cooking Benefits
Slow cookers provide benefits to cooking throughout the entire year, aside from what we have already discussed. In the summer, cooking meals in your slow cooker helps minimize the number of times you have to heat up your kitchen. In the winter, what could be nicer than coming home to a nice, hot, cozy bowl of something like soup or chili? Not very much when the cold is threatening to make your fingers fall off!
When you’re in the grocery store, you might see some produce and other food marked as “organic.” They are marketed as being better for you, but what do you actually get out of consuming organic products? How will your body improve? Your health? Let’s examine three significant (and some hidden) benefits of consuming organic produce now:
Yes, you can actually have an improved taste with organic produce. Sure, if you are fond of junk food and other processed products, you might initially crave them. However, once you get into the routine of eating organic products your body will eventually crave them instead! There’s no chemical aftertaste with organic products—you might not be able to taste this at the moment, but you will be able to tell the difference once you make the switch.
This one isn’t a joke! You can actually save money by consuming organic products. How, you might ask, since most organic food is marked up a little higher? It comes in the future, when you have fewer medical expenses and the like, since you are taking better care of your body and giving it more of what it needs when you eat the organic food regularly.
Boost In Nutrients
In most cases of organic food, you will be consuming more nutrients on average. Most organic products have a far denser nutritional value than their nonorganic equivalents. You could be eating the same number of apples, the same amount of lettuce, et cetera, and be getting more out of it. This is part of the reason why you tend to have fewer health issues (along with the lack of chemicals), which connects with the previously discussed benefit of a lower cost associated with organic food when you consider the long term.
Whether you have to eliminate gluten from your diet because you medically need to, or simply want to try it out, going gluten free is not as easy as picking up the items marked as gluten free in your grocery store. Here are some key tips to consider and implement to make the process easier.
There are many packaged products out there for things typically containing gluten. This includes cookies, pasta, granola bars, and even bread. However, you should not rely on these packaged goods if you are going gluten free, especially if you want to manage your weight effectively. This is because companies replace gluten with other ingredients and preservatives that can actually make you gain weight. Not too mention, you might be missing out on nutrients if you rely on these products exclusively. They are a good addition to your diet, so long as it’s in moderation (how else will you have spaghetti).
Whether you are in a restaurant or talking to a registered dietician, make sure you ask questions when you are going gluten free! There may be gluten free substitutions on the menu at your favourite restaurant. You may also wish to ask about their cooking methods—this is not so much a concern if you are going gluten free because you want to, but cooking gluten free options alongside traces of gluten can cause an issue if you are actually allergic to it.
Meal planning is a good idea even if you do not have any dietary restrictions, but when you do—such as if you need to go gluten free—it becomes all the more important. It will help during the transition, and help you keep track of what you are able to eat so you make fewer mistakes and do not run out of ideas.
Whether you are changing your diet in order to lose weight, for medical reasons, or just because you want to, you need to ensure you do so both effectively as well as in a healthy manner. Not sure where to start? Here are three key tips for changing your diet:
Consult A Professional
If you are going to make any dramatic change, such as going vegan, gluten-free, et cetera, or even just for weight loss purposes, you should consult a registered dietician. They can help ensure your new meal plan still incorporates all of the necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need for a healthy body.
Take It Slow
Changing your diet isn’t going to happen overnight! Of, if you really do try to do it that quickly, you are likely in for failure. Understand that weaning yourself into the new diet helps you stick to it long term. Want to go vegetarian? Start cooking without meat for a couple days each week, and slowly increase this until you are no longer eating meat! The only time where an immediate, dramatic change is necessary is in a case when you have a diagnosed food intolerance or allergy (e.g. you are allergic to gluten or are lactose intolerance).
Cut Some Slack
When you are changing your diet in any way, you should keep in mind there will likely be speed bumps along the way. You might indulge a little more than your new diet would allow for, fall off the vegetarian wagon, et cetera. Understanding that it will take a little time to make the complete change is essential. This is one of the big reasons why we want you to take it slow right away. Taking it slow allows you to cut yourself a little more slack and lessens the blow if things take a little longer or you backtrack a little.
Whether you want to cook frugally or you have to do it out of necessity, frugal cooking can actually be difficult if you don’t think about it. Just walking to the grocery store and deciding to cook frugally is not going to end up the way you want it to. With that in mind, here are three tips for frugal cooking you will actually enjoy.
All About The Plan
The very first thing you need to start doing if you want to actually do some frugal cooking is to start a meal plan and accompanying grocery list. You will get nowhere without it! Plan what you want to eat for the week for each meal. Consider what ingredients you need for each dish. Which ones do you have in your kitchen? Which ones do you still need to buy? Write the latter ones down. This is your grocery list and it will guide you through the shopping process. Also be sure to note how much of an ingredient you will need. There is no reason to buy seven tomatoes if you only need two or three.
Speaking of making a list for the ingredients you need and making a meal plan, one of the best things for you to do to help with this is get your local grocery store’s flyer every week. These flyers advertise what products are on sale for the week, and can save you a lot of money if you take the sales into account when planning your meals for the week.
The other thing to consider here is the power of leftovers for frugal cooking. This means two things: one, how you should safe the leftovers of the finished meal for another night, and two, that if you don’t use all of an ingredient you buy (e.g. you have leftover uncooked rice or pasta) you should incorporate it into another meal.
More and more people are creating noodles out of their vegetables as a replacement for things like spaghetti or lasagna. This offers a low carb and low calorie option for traditional noodles. Not only that, but it makes for a perfect option for people who cannot digest wheat—no gluten!
Are you considering starting to spiralize your vegetables into noodles? Here are some tips to help make these fantastic vegetable noodles:
Look For Symmetry
Start with the way your vegetables look. Regardless of the vegetable, zucchini, cucumber, or otherwise, make sure the ones you pick as a symmetrical as possible. This does a couple of things. First, it makes the process of spiralizing easier to perform. The second thing it does is make for a smoother, better end product.
Watch The Size
The size of your vegetables will influence both the quality of your noodles as well as the ease of turning the vegetable into noodles. You want a good size, but not anything too big lest you harm your spiralizer with too much weight, strain, et cetera.
Center It First
Centering your vegetables on the spiralizer is important for the best cut, both in speed as well as ease. You can turn out quality vegetable noodles this way! Thus, before you start to turn your spiralizer, make sure you take a moment to center your chosen vegetable
Dry The Spirals
Many of the vegetables have quite a bit of water in them, like zucchinis and cucumbers. With this water, you run the risk of ending up with soggy vegetable noodles. You can help avoid this by putting the vegetable noodles in a colander while you finish the other meal prep. You may also use paper towel to help dry them off, or sprinkle some salt on the vegetable noodles, as you do with sliced eggplant when making eggplant parmesan.