Dieting is one of the most important components of our fitness programs, but it can also be the most challenging. Unlimited unhealthy food options that taste great contrasted by limited and bland healthy options make eating right achievable only by those with Tibetan monk-like discipline. Or so it would seem. But with a little creativity a healthy diet can be maintained by us mere mortals. I have two examples to get you started.
The benefits of dark chocolate are no secret, but there seems to be an inability to separate the benefits of dark chocolate from the bad sugar and saturated fats. The key ingredient that makes chocolate “healthy” is cocoa. Cocoa is loaded with antioxidants, and combined with honey is a healthy and tasty alternative to chocolate. Mix about one cup of dry instant oatmeal (the oatmeal that comes in the cylinder) with two tablespoons of cocoa powder (I recommend Hershey’s Special Dark), about three or four tablespoons of honey, and a splash of low fat milk. The amount of milk will dictate the consistency, I prefer it to be a bit drier but use your own discretion. This meal has been a staple of my breakfast for nearly five years. Due to its high carb content this should be a breakfast-only meal. Try it and receive the benefits of chocolate on a regular basis.
Hamburgers for Health
Hamburgers are delicious, but sadly they don’t come to mind when planning on losing weight. Really all a hamburger is just a piece of protein between two slices of carbs, right. Well, sort of. But the concept of a hamburger can be made healthy. First, ditch the bread since this will most likely be eaten later during the day when carbs are not advantageous to weight loss. The protein and vegetables will do plenty to fill you up. For meat, use a lean meat like turkey or chicken. Grill the meat well, add any low-sodium seasonings that you may want, and combine with vegetables. Cheese in moderation is both acceptable and healthy. By the way, mustard is an excellent healthy option to replace mayo (high in fat) and ketchup (high in sugar). I find this take on the traditional hamburger to be a simple and healthy alternative to hamburgers that is sustainable and delicious.
I hope these two meals will inspire you to look at eating healthy in a different light. When trying to plan a meal, you don’t always have to start from scratch. Often an appropriate meal can be made by altering normal foods, like the hamburger in the above example. The key is to educate yourself on what it is that your body needs and doesn’t need. A little bit of creative thinking in the kitchen will go a long way. Bon appetit.
Josh Cormier is a Certified Personal Trainer and owner of North Atlantic Personal Training. Visit www.NorthAtlanticPT.com for more information or if you have any questions.