Monday, June 6, 2011

Adding Instead of Taking Away

Let me start out by staying, I love to eat!  This is why diets have never worked for me.  When I started this journey from my coach to the Disney Princess Half Marathon, I wanted to lose some weight in the process.  I researched a few diets, but they all seemed too restrictive to me.  I decided to just try to limit portions and make a few simple swaps.  For example, I swap fattier beef for chicken breast and a baked potato for a side salad.  These swaps were easy, but now I need to do more. 
Instead of cutting out all of the unhealthy things from my daily life, I am trying to add some more healthy things.  This is what I have added:

Avocado can add a lot of flavor to a dish.  I have been adding avocado to my sandwiches.  Turkey and avocado on light wheat bread makes a great lunch.  I have also tried avocado in an omelet and in salads.  They have all been great!  Avocados are a very healthy food, with only about 75 calories in each quarter.  They contain monounsaturated fats, which have been proven to help lower cholesterol, lower your chance of getting certain cancers and aid in the absorption of minerals.  Avocados are also full of folate and vitamin E.  Adding avocado to meals is very satisfying because of its rich flavor and fat content.

Almonds are my new favorite go to snack!  I eat them almost every day.  They are filling and have a great flavor.  Like avocado, almonds are packed with monounsaturated fats, so they help lower cholesterol, lower your chance of getting certain cancers and aid in the absorption of minerals.  Almonds are also high in fiber, calcium and magnesium.  They are low on the Glycemic Index, so they will help keep your blood sugar at a constant level.  One down fall to almonds it they are high in calories.  I buy them prepackaged in 100 calorie packs to control my portion size.  My favorite snack right now is a 100 calorie pack of almonds and an apple.

Dark Chocolate!
Who doesn’t LOVE dark chocolate?  Dark Chocolate is high in flavonoids, a type of antioxidant.  Antioxidants help your body repair its self from free radicals.  We get free radicals from the sun and pollution in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat.  Antioxidants bind with the bad stuff and help to remove it from your body.  As with almonds and avocados, dark chocolate also contains monounsaturated fats.  A concern about dark chocolate is that it can be high in calories.  I allow myself to eat two Dove squares each day, at just under 100 calories.  It is a very satisfy dessert, and due to the richness of dark chocolate, two squares is plenty for me.  At the end of the day, chocolate is a great treat. 

Have you tried any of these foods?  What do you think of them?  What healthy foods have you added to your diet? 
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  1. Hi Amy,

    Great choices and great swaps (salad instead of baked potato). I am doing little things like this too. I am not a big fan of iceberg lettuce so I usually never had a salad. But I bought a big container of spinach and now love spinach salad. And...big accomplishment for me white rice with my dinner tonight.

    Little changes can go a long way....Kelly

  2. Kelly,

    Great job with your swaps too. The spinach is more nutrishous than iceberg anyway! It can be hard to cut white carbs, but you are right...small changes can really add up to big results!

  3. The healthy foods I’ve added to my diet to name a few are Fish (Tilapia), Salmon, ground turkey, turkey burger. I mostly bake or grill. For my salad I either do the roman lettuce or spinach, I’ll add either sun flower seeds, green granny apples along with other things. I’m working on implementing more vegetable and found the Vegetable Medley bag (Broccoli, Cauliflower &Carrots) to be very helpful. I love sweet potatoes fries, brown rice. I snack on cashew nuts, and fruit. I’m trying to incorporate sweet tea without the sugar and implement drinking more water. I agree small changes one step at a time is great! I wish you much success on your journey to change to a cleaner diet!


  4. I've been working on not only choosing better food, but also portion control. I like the snack, especially while cooking so I'm trying to cut down on that...

    A few other ideas for you to try: The Jello Temptations or Yoplait Delights parfait. They all taste like classic desserts (mousse, chocolate and rasberry, or key lime pie), but they're all only about 100 calories. I've made those my desserts for the most part.


  5. Chiming in with a couple of other snack suggestions...pita chips and hummus is one of my favorites. I will also once in a while buy naan instead of pita chips, cut it up into bite size pieces, and pop them in the toaster oven for an alternative to bagged pita chips...naan is also delicious with hummus when just warmed up and not toasted....and hummus can be a GREAT sandwich spread that you can add to your turkey and avocado sandwiches. I also love to eat greek yogurt. Plain with honey added (raw and unfiltered local honey is the best!) is a good snack, but I also enjoy the ones with added fruit. Chobani is a good and natural brand. Plus, greek yogurt has alot more protein than regular yogurt, which makes it a great post-run or post-work out meal for your muscles! I love avocados too and we're coming into the season when they are at their best...sooooo creamy and delicious, one of my favorite things to eat and definitely a staple in my diet. Oh, I just thought of something else that I love to dogs. If you have them in your area, try the BallPark fat free hot dogs. Seriously. I've tried lots of low fat and fat free hot dogs and in my opinion, none of them compare to the Ball Park ones...I seriously can't taste the difference....and they are only 50 calories per frank! Pair it with a light wheat bun and some smart toppings and you can have a guilt free grill out. Sometimes I top mine with a sprinkle of 2% shredded cheese and a little bit of turkey chili which is very low fat and very delicious! Sorry for the long comment, but I love sharing some of the alternative healthier "yummies" that I've found that still satisfy me without sabotaging me. Sounds like you are doing great, good luck!

  6. Amy,
    I started following your blog because I have run the Princess run several times and I liked your title....we ALL share your struggle of trying to incorporate healthier habits into daily living. Keep up the good work! I have a weakness for carbs; I have substituted oatmeal for my breakfast instead of a bread. Fresh Market brand has instant oatmeal with nuts and flaxseed in it and it is the best tasting instant oatmeal I have ever had. I also have substituted baby carrots to dip in hummus instead of chips. Just a few suggestions! :) -Jennifer

  7. Thanks everyone for your great advice! I have some new things to add to my shopping list this week. I wish I could find a fish I like. I have tried a few and just can't get over the "fishy" taste, altought I love shellfish and it that alot. Carrots with hummas instead of chips is a great idea! Greek yogurt is perfect for us since it is full of protein to help us recover from our runs. I will have to check out the Jello desserts...I am a total dessert girl! Brown rice is another great swap. You guys are really on top of this!

    You guys are so great! I feel like I have a big group of wonderful ladies training right beside me. I love my followers! (I am working on some really great giveaways to show my appreciation! Stay tuned!)

  8. I followed your link from the disboards! I'm really big into adding healthy foods into my diet right now and not taking foods away right now too. I've learned that training takes a lot of calories, so low calorie diets are a no go during training. Eating healthier not only makes me feel better on runs, but also produces better results than cutting calories for me. I'm also a huge fan of greek yogurt. It is far less sugary than other yogurts.

  9. I feel like the more I train, the more I crave healthier food. Does anyone else feel that way too?

  10. I wish I could find a fish that I could enjoy, but like you said Amy, I can't get over the "fishy" taste... But I do eat shellfish at least once or twice a week!

  11. I'm a sucker for almonds! Actually, I just love nuts in general, but almonds are delish!

    I'm also a super huge fan of avocado. MMmmmm!

    One thing I like to have in my diet is bananas. I know other things have potassium in them, but to me, nothing is as tasty as a banana after a run (or after work, a nap, a shower, anytime really).