Sunday, April 20, 2014

Healthy Tips from the Healthie Foodie

This post I decided to dedicate to healthy swaps, healthy tips and some overall eating and cooking advice.

Healthy Swaps #1
Don't use vegetable oil unless you feel you absolutely need it...Instead swap it for coconut oil. Coconut oil. Coconut oil and vegetable oil are both high in saturated fats; and while saturated fats are not the healthiest fat, they are natural and should be somewhat part of your diet. I am not saying to overload with coconut oil, but when you're baking or frying something try to use the coconut oil - not only is better for you but it smells a lot better and add some extra flavor to your cooking. 

Here are some coconut oil health benefits:
1) It can help reduce your cholesterol because it has a special type of saturated fat in it called lauric acid, which increases your HDL - good cholesterol
2) It has a powerful antioxidant action in our body. This means it helps stop the unhealthy fats and such from doing damage to our body and thus help slow down the aging process
3) It adds volume and strength to your hair and nails
4) It also been shown in many studies, that coconut oil helps fight belly fat.

In addition to cooking with it you can also wrap it in your hair after you shower. It adds volume and strength even when applied externally.

Healthy Swap #2
Don't use mayo unless you have to...instead use olive oil enhanced low fat mayo or avocado. Just mash an avocado add some lemon juice and mix it right in with your tuna or egg salad or spread in your bread before you put on your meat or cheese. Mayo has basically no nutritional value whatsoever. Avocado on the other hand has a so much to offer. While I know avocados are high in calorie and high in fat - they're natural and only have the good fats. 

Here are some avocado health benefits:
(1) Did you know that mayo has about 1 gram of protein and an avocado has 4 grams?
(2) Avocados are an excellent source of potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E and Vitamin B, they also have loads and fiber. One avocado has 11 grams of fiber- compared to 1 tbsp. of mayo which has 0.
(3) Avocados can help lower your cholesterol, control your blood pressure and they have been show to help fight against cancer

One tip, avocados are super healthy with so many health benefits. But like anything should be consumed in moderation. I still believe that using light olive oil enhanced based mayo is okay some of the time. My advice is half the time use avocado and half the time use the mayo. 

Healthy Swap #3
When making something like baked ziti or lasagna - stay away from the ricotta cheese. And when I say away I mean FAR, FAR away. Ricotta cheese adds absolutely nothing to your dish. It's loaded in fat and calories and not the good kind. Assuming you're already using mozzarella cheese - why do you need more fat? Even if you the skim kind - it's still a poor choice. Instead use fat free cottage cheese. Cottage cheese has more protein in it and it is so much healthier for you.
For one serving of ricotta cheese you get about 200 calories....For one serving of cottage cheese you get about 80 calories. You do the math! You just saved a whopping 120 calories!! 

(1) Cottage cheese has 11 grams of protein
(2) It also has high levels of calcium - which is very good for your bones, hair and nails
(3) Cottage cheese has also been linked to weight loss

Healthy Swap #4
Oats for bread crumbs! When you're making turkey meatballs, turkey meatloaf, turkey burgers or regular burgers - Also go for the oats not the bread crumbs. If you insist though on using bread crumbs (make sure it's natural and whole wheat). 

Why use oats instead?
(1) They're high in fiber
(2) Lower in calorie
(3) Whole Grain
(4) Natural
(5) Packed with vitamins and minerals - iron, Vitamin B and have lots of good fiber

Healthy Swap #5
Skip the sugar and use natural unsweetened applesauce. 

I am not really sure this needs to explained. Applesauce is natural - has only apples (nature's candy) and water. You don't need to do this every time. But like I said with the avocado- try to do it half the time.