Ok. It is time to speak the truth. I don't care who you are, but SOME part of your overall wedding day happiness will involve your appearance. Whether you are hitting the salon for a fancy updo and makeup or doing it yourself, every bride wants to feel beautiful on her wedding day. I know that this is true for me. And...part of this wedding day beauty for me involves not only my face and hair, but how my body looks as well. I know, I sound like a broken record of pretty much any bride out there, but I want to look HOT! So sue me. No wait...don't sue me - that is the opposite of the point I'm trying to make (The Office, anyone?)!
Annnnyway...when I started thinking about how to achieve the physique I desire for my wedding day, inevitably one thing had to come into play: what I eat.
Ugh. How I wish that candy and french fries were considered "healthy" foods.
Now, I don't necessarily consider my eating plan a diet...I see it more as a series of healthy substitutions. I don't particularly like to decrease the amount of food that I eat, because that is no fun, and I LOVE food. Plus, starving yourself is just not healthy! However, if I make smart choices most of the time, it makes me feel good, I look good, and I am still able to partake in some delicious treats now and then.
So...what do I eat? Come on along and I'll show you...
Mmmm breakfast! Images of pancakes, waffles, omelettes, and poptarts start dancing in my head. Delicious, yes...healthy? Probably not the best. I used to buy boxes of reduced fat strawberry poptarts to bring to work for breakfast. Why, oh why did I do that?
If I'm in a hurry, I make some Quaker instant oatmeal (I like the lower sugar apples and cinnamon option). I add an extra shake or two of cinnamon, and a scoop of raisins. However, if I have time, I do like to make the real deal, with a small spoonfull of brown sugar and cinnamon. I also like to slice half of an apple into it and add a scoop of raisins, but you can get really creative with what you add! Sometimes, I make a larger pot of oatmeal and save the extra in the refrigerator for the next day or two. Just make sure to measure out your portions!
My favorite cereal breakfast is 3/4 cup of Special K (I love the cinnamon pecan or the chocolate delight one...mmm) topped with 3-4 tablespoons of vanilla yogurt (I prefer Dannon Light & Fit). I know, this sounds strange, but it is delicious.
There are some days that I wake up and I am just not very hungry. However, as I'm sure your mother told you, "breakfast is the most important meal of the day." It really is...you have to get your metabolism started in the morning! On those days, I make sure that I eat SOMETHING. Typically it is either a Dannon Light & Fit cup or a piece of fruit or two.
I usually pack a mid-morning snack with me when I'm at work. Sometimes I don't partake in it, but at least I have an option if I am ravenous. I know it is difficult to resist the treats that others bring in to the office sometimes. My old office had donuts, bagels, and muffins laid out in large quantities every Friday...I usually grabbed something because they were tasty. Bad bad bad me...
Instead, I substitute this:
Yep. An apple. Or a banana. Or a pear. Or grapes. Whatever I have in my house that day comes with me. Its not quite as fun as a donut, but it is a much healthier choice.
Or, how about a nice salad with grilled chicken if you are out for lunch with some coworkers or friends?
Cold cut sandwiches can be great, but I attempt to limit my carbohydrate intake (note: LIMIT, not eliminate). If I am making a sandwich with bread, I tend to make it with only one slice of bread, but I stuff it a little fuller than normal with my sliced turkey breast and veggies. I also have taken a liking to using English muffins or sandwich thins (both found in your grocery store's bread aisle) in lieu of bread. I don't like to buy a loaf of bread, because I end up eating it like a ravenous beast if I'm left alone with it. So, sandwich thins and English muffins are a great substitute! In lieu of a bag of delicious potato chips, I opt for one serving of pretzels (yes, I count them...) with 2 tablespoons of hummus.
I am a big fan of Sabra hummus; it is thick, smooth, and flavorful. I personally love the "supremely spicy" flavor.
I don't make substitutions with salads, for the most part, but I make one important change: I request my dressing on the side. Yes, I am sure that you've heard that tip a million times, but it is so important! Restaurants can sometimes be extremely heavy handed with dressing, and even though you are eating veggies, all of that creamy caesar dressing is doing you no favors. Instead, I lightly dip my fork in the dressing before I take a stab of lettuce/veggies.
If I desire something warm for lunch, I like to eat soup. Personally, I like to make my own (if you make soup for dinner, you can always double the recipe and freeze some for later use). I try to always buy the lower sodium chicken broth (Swanson makes it), just to help reduce my salt intake. However, if I don't have any on hand, I am a fan of the light Progresso soups.
Yes, there is probably a bit more sodium in there than I'd like to have, but they are filled with vegetables and are low in fat and calories.
I used to eat M&M's. Oh gosh, how I love M&M's. I am notorious for buying that enormous 5lb bag with the ziplock closure. I would eat them by the fistful in the afternoons when I needed a pick me up. I soon realized that this was probably not the healthiest of options, and searched for an alternative.
Mini bags of Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop. Oh my, I don't know if I can express to you accurately how much I love these. Each mini bag of Smart Pop is only 100 calories. And, even though the bag is "mini," there is a TON of popcorn in there! I try not to stuff my cheeks like a chipmunk and instead I attempt to eat the pieces one at a time. Another plus? Popcorn is whole grain, so it is better for you to eat than say, a handful of pretzels.
Yogurt: yep...again. Can you tell I love yogurt? In the afternoon, I sometimes choose a Dannon Light & Fit. Also, I've started eating the Breyer's 100 calorie YoCrunch cups as well. The cheesecake yogurt with graham cracker crumbles to sprinkle in is pretty tasty.
Or, if all else fails:
A piece of fruit...nature's candy...and if I'm feeling extra hungry, I may throw in a small serving of Stauffer's animal crackers. Because I love them.
Ok...so there you have it! My healthy switcheroos for the morning and afternoon. Next, I'll get into some dinner-related substitutions, and we'll even have some dessert (yes, I promise! I do eat dessert every night)!
Have you made some healthy substitutions in your day-to-day diet? Are there any morning and afternoon switches that you would suggest?