Mix Up Your Meals

The word “Diet” has come to mean something horrible and dreaded in our culture. Your Diet should really only describe your daily intake, and be a general idea of the main food categories you consume; however, Diet has come not to mean ‘intake’ but rather, deprivation. When we hear the word Diet, we think, rice cakes, salads, grapefruits, and hunger pains- a far cry from the word’s true meaning. If you are starting a diet change, such as increasing complex carbs, reducing sugar intake, or cutting back on caffeine, think of it as just that- a diet CHANGE. Some are even offering up the term “lifestyle change” to incorporate your new understanding of food intake rather than caloric deprivation.

With this in mind, it is good to think about what you eat on a daily basis. When you begin to enjoy your diet, an awful thing can start to happen- monotony. Maybe you love eating your morning meal of oatmeal and honey, but after starting every day the same way, your oatmeal breakfast may become your nemesis. When you start getting tired of your daily intake, that’s when diets begin to break down, and when cravings start showing up in an otherwise controlled eating pattern.

Self Magazine offered up a nice reminder of how many options you have when adding variety to your meals:

Make Trades For Your Faves

Fruit Swaps

1 medium orange

= 2 tbs dried fruit

= ½ grapefruit

= ¾ cup mango pieces

= 1 small banana

= 1 medium apple or pear

= 1 cup raspberries or cherries

= 1 cup melon pieces

= 2 apricots or kiwis

= 3 plums

= 24 grapes

Sweet Swaps

1 tsp Honey

= 1 tsp agave nectar or brown sugar or table sugar or maple syrup

= 1tsp fruit preserves such as apricot, peach or strawberry

Protein Swaps

3 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast

= ¾ cup egg whites

= ¾ cup cooked or canned beans

= 1 whole egg plus 3 egg whites

= 1 large turkey/chicken sausage

= 3 oz canned crab, salmon or tuna, fresh fish, ground beef, steak, tofu

Veggie Swaps
1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked spinach

= ¼ cup stewed tomatoes or tomato soup, ½ cup cherry tomatoes

= ½ cup chopped nonstarchy vegetables such as bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, mushrooms, tomato or zucchini

= ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw leafy greens such as arugula, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, kale, lettuce or Swiss chard

Dairy Swaps

1 cup skim milk

= 1oz reduced-fat cheese or 80 calories of any full-fat cheese

= ¾ cup nonfat plain yogurt

= 1 cup calcium-fortified almond, soy or rice milk

= 1 part-skim string cheese

Nut Butter Swaps

1 tsp peanut butter

= 1 tsp almond butter; soy nut butter, sunflower butter

= 1 tsp tahini

Fat Swaps

1 tsp olive oil

= 2 tsp trans-fat-free buttery spread or vegetable oil

= 1tbsp seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower

= 1 tbsp chopped nuts such as almonds, peanuts or pecans

= 1 tbsp creamy (with tahini) hummus

= 1 ½ tbsp flaxseed

= 2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut

= 10 olives

Carb Swaps

1 slice whole-grain bread

= ¼ cup noncreamy (without tahini) hummus

= ½ cup whole-grain cereal

= ½ cup cooked beans, corn or peas

= ¾ cup cooked whole grains such as barely, brown rice, bulgur, oatmeal or quinoa

= ½ large potato or ½ cup diced potatoes

= 1 whole-grain pita (4 inches)

= 1 whole-grain tortilla (8 inches)

= 1 whole-grain flatbread or waffle

When you start to feel bored with your everyday diet, mix it up and stay healthy.

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About SuzieSloth

I am a Certified Personal Trainer and Martial Arts Instructor with a passion for physical fitness and a background in public health. I love learning new things about the fitness world and about innovations in all health fields. I like to share tidbits that I find in magazines or on the internet with friends and clients. Please feel free to email me with questions or comments, or leave comments on any post on my blog. And make sure to stop by my website: http://www.formfitsfunction.net View all posts by SuzieSloth

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