One thing almost every gathering with family or friends has in common is the vast amount of snack food spread out over the table. And who doesn’t want to reach for a snack around the house when you get hungry between meals? Unfortunately, many people still have to deal with the reality of their health. How can you adapt your favorites into healthy treats? Whether you are watching your cholesterol, dealing with diabetes, or just want to stay healthy, there are things you can do to maintain your health and still enjoy your favorite treats.
Advice for All Diets
First, remember that everyone makes mistakes and you won’t be able to live every day as a perfect example of healthful eating. That is okay! If you over-indulge, you can get back on track tomorrow.
If you find yourself in a situation where everything looks too delicious to pass up, try employing portion control. You can have the extra-creamy mashed potatoes or delicious pie, but don’t eat so much of it. Take a small amount to enjoy, but not so much that you feel stuffed.
If you’re going to a party, bring a dish that you know you can eat. This ensures that you have at least one food item that works for your diet so you can participate in social eating without over-indulging.
You can create healthy treats from recipes just by substituting certain ingredients. Of course, an appropriate substitution is based on what you’re trying to limit, but here are some suggestions that work well in most recipes:
- If you’re baking, substitute half of the flour for whole-wheat flour. This adds more nutrients, like fiber and B vitamins, to the food.
- Try using frozen yogurt instead of whipped cream or ice cream for a tasty topping to pies and other desserts.
- Whatever you’re making, load it up with fruits and vegetables. You can pile a pizza with vegetable toppings, add fruits to a homemade smoothie, or fill up casseroles with vegetables.
If You’re Watching Your Cholesterol…
Cholesterol is present in food that comes from animals (meats, cheese, and eggs), and fats can also raise cholesterol levels. You can manage cholesterol by switching to more plant-based foods, limiting portions, or making substitutions.
- Try to eat more vegetables: they are not only tasty, but their high fiber helps to lower cholesterol.
- Substitute olive oil or other healthy oils for butter.
- Choose the leanest cuts of meat that you can find when purchasing or preparing food. You should also select skinless meat and choose white meat over dark meat to limit cholesterol.
If You’re Living With Diabetes…
They key to managing diabetes and your diet is proper planning. Know when you will eat and what foods will be available.
- Do not skip meals in anticipation of larger meals later in the day.
- Eat slowly and be sure not to overdo it.
- Remember that most deserts are high in carbohydrates. If you can’t live without trying some cookies, think about skipping rolls or bread at dinner.
- Following dessert, try going out for a walk with another health-conscious friend or family member.
Maintaining diet restrictions does not need to mean an end to all of the snacks and treats you love. By making healthier choices and knowing how to make healthy substutions, you can still enjoy many of your old favorites.