I wouldn't say I've gone completely mental about healthy eating, but I have started looking at very straightforward ways I can improve my diet. Nothing revolutionary that's difficult to adapt my routine to, or requires a lot of preparation. Lucky for me, during my search, I found some great tips that I — and anyone — can adopt.
Skipping Rice, Pasta And Bread Altogether
While I have no plans to abandon carbohydrates, I have found removing the pasta, rice or bread component of a meal not only results in a healthy dish, but a smaller portion. For example, if you're making bolognese, just cook the mince, add the sauce and serve that.
True, you do have to stop yourself from just heaping on an extra serving, but what I've found helps is thinking about the amount of leftovers I want for the next day. Obviously, anything additional I eat for dinner is going to mean a smaller lunch. As a result, I tend to give myself more reasonable portions.
I've only been cooking for myself or one other, so applying this to a meal where you need to stretch out the protein would be more difficult. Fortunately, there's something you can do about that.
Cauliflower Rice (And Other Alternatives)
This is a recent discovery by me. Like making noodles from zucchini, you can either hand-grate cauliflower or throw it into the food processor for a faux-rice experience. From there, you can put the pieces into the microwave, sans water, to give them a more rice-like texture, or toss them in the frying pan with a bit of oil and spices and eat them on their own. Unlike regular rice, you don't have to heavily flavour cauliflower rice — the vegetable with a small amount of seasoning is tasty enough, though I could eat it with nothing at all.
The other great thing I've been buying is the wet low-calorie noodles made from Konjac root. They're easy to prepare — just drain and wash them to get rid of the bitter taste and add them to your finished dish. I've also spotted rice made from Konjac in a number of health food stores, but I've yet to try it.
Buying In Bulk And Using My Freezer
I live in St Kilda, so the urge to just pop down the road and enjoy the suburb's unending supply of fine food is hard to resist. What I've found is that I'm most tempted when the fridge and pantry are bare. That way, I can sneakily convince myself that the hassle of going to the supermarket and buying the components to cook something up isn't worth it. Instead, I end up at my local Thai takeaway and gorge myself on delicious pad see ew.
On the other hand, when I do go to the supermarket, if I make sure to purchase all the supplies I need for say, a week's worth of meals and toss the mince, chicken and other protein in the freezer, then I know I have the option to cook something up. The great thing is, I'm not overly pressured to cook right now, lest my consumables expire, so I still retain flexibility in what I eat. Yet, I somehow feel obligated to cook part of what I bought each day. It's an odd subconscious tug-of-war that works out well in the wash.
Buying Cordial (Or Fruit) Instead Of Soft Drinks
The last time I had a Coke was over five years ago. But that doesn't mean I gave up the bubbly stuff. Instead, I supplemented with Sprite, Ginger Ale and other alternatives. It can be argued that Coke is probably the worst of the bunch so I've made a small win here, but I can do better. Water is fine most of the time, but on particularly hot days, or when I'm quite thirsty, nothing hits the spot like a dose of flavoured H2O. When this is the case, I turn to a bottle of lemon cordial.
The sticker on the side recommends one part cordial to four parts water, but I found that unbearably sweet. Instead, I usually go with 1:6 at most, though often less. A few ice cubes on top and it's as refreshing, if not more so, than an carbonated beverage.
A fresher alternative is to just pop a piece of lemon or lime in water. I'm terrible though at using fruit after I've cut it — usually it just goes off in the fridge. With cordial I can moderate my intake and I don't have to use all of it at once (or within a short time frame).
Over To You...
If you have any tips in the same vein to share, please leave them in the comments!