If you are looking to slim-down, maintain your healthy weight or just get a little healthier this spring, here are seventeen of my best healthy diet tips with recipes to match. Simple, small changes in the foods you eat and ways you eat them can help you slice plenty of empty calories off your diet each day – and infuse your meals and snacks with more whole foods. Feed your body the energizing nutrients and foods that it really craves and you may find your spring “slim-down” to be a whole lot easier and enjoyable. Here are 17 slim-down secrets – and don’t miss #17 – I saved my favorite secret for last!..
1. Healthier Substitutions 1 of 17
Seek out healthier substitutions for the foods you know, love and crave. If crunchy savory chips are your snacking weakness, try raw vegan spicy kale chips - which are loaded with nutrients, fiber and flavor. Know that not all substitutions will be a hit with your taste buds - but once you start experimenting with options you may be surprised by what you fall in love with. I was shocked when I tried my first batch of kale chips and devoured the whole bowl!
Make cheesy kale chips, recipe on Healthy. Happy. Life.
2. Spruce Up Fruit 2 of 17
We all know that fruit is a smart snacking option for staying at a healthy weight. Fruit is naturally low in calories, fat free, a good source of fiber and rich in diverse vitamins and minerals. You can even spruce up your fruit by adding different flavor accents like spices, nuts and liquids. These fruit tapas are not only creative and fun - but loaded with healthy, fiber-rich nutrients.
Make Fruit Tapas.
3. Get Sneaky 3 of 17
Get a little sneaky .. with yourself! Trick yourself into thinking you are indulging in decadent snacks. This ranch dip may look like a slim-down no-no, but it is in fact made from protein-rich silken tofu. Pair this dip with a giant plate of veggies and feel great about your diet. To make this recipe extra diet friendly, simply omit the added oil.
Make a vegan apple pie, recipe on Healthy. Happy. Life.
4. Appetizer Smarts 4 of 17
Go on, munch on some bruschetta and chow down on guac or salsa and chips. The secret to smart appetizer snacking is to load up your plate with the healthy veggie-based parts of the dish (like the salsa part of salsa and chips) - only eat a very small portion of those fat and carb-laden extras. Just be aware that many appetizers - even the veggie parts can be high in fat (like with traditional guacamole) - so small portions will fill you up if you give them a fair chance to.
5. Add in Filler Veggies 5 of 17
To slim down a traditionally high-fat recipe like guacamole, add in some filler ingredients - of the veggie variety. Add in chopped low calorie zucchini to your guar - 50/50 portions and cut the calories and fat per portion in half! Also try this trick in other dips like vegan cream cheese spread or hummus.
Make zucchini guacamole, recipe on Healthy. Happy. Life.
6. Go Raw 6 of 17
Raw foods are rich in enzymes and nutrients that your body craves to function optimally. Load up on raw foods and your body will feel satisfied longer - fuller when you feed it what it truly craves for health. Try this raw cashew dip with a giant plate of veggie sticks. Since the cashew dip is quite rich - you only need a small portion to go with those healthy, low calorie veggies.
Make Raw Cashew Dip or Spread.
7. Treat Yourself 7 of 17
You will never stay slim if you deprive yourself of treats. A well-rounded diet includes foods that make you feel joyful and feed your cravings Some people crave kale and others crave sweets! So if you crave something sweet - treat yourself. Slowly add "smart treats" into your diet like this tofu-based Peanut Butter Pudding.
Make Easy Peanut Butter Pudding.
8. Lose the Top Slice 8 of 17
I'm a big fan of tartine sandwiches (open-faced) in place of traditional sandwiches because you can fill one slice with plenty of healthy ingredients like veggies and fruit - but with minus the extra slice of bread. Less carbs from flour means you can load up on more whole foods that will feed you a wider diversity of nutrients - plus water and fiber. And even if you do go with a two-slice tartine, you will probably eat it a lot slower than you would a stacked sandwich. Eating slower can prevent overeating - since "feeling full" can sometimes be a delayed response when you are consuming a meal.
Make sweet potato hummus apple tar tine.
9. Don’t Forget the Protein 9 of 17
Protein is important to any slim-down diet because it helps keep you satisfied while playing an important role in the growth, maintenance and repair of all your body cells. Protein can also be used as a fuel source. These peppered tofu triangles are an easy and delicious snack to keep in your fridge.
Make salt and pepper tofu triangles.
10. The Power of Citrus 10 of 17
Citrus is an excellent flavor to use when creating your slim-down snacks. Citrus like lemon, orange and lime add a zesty punch of flavor without adding fat or empty calories. Lemon White Bean Hummus is a delicious zippy dip that will give veggies and sandwiches all the flavor they need to satisfy! Use less added oil to make this dip recipe slim-down approved.
Make summer-thyme lemon hummus, recipe on Healthy. Happy. Life.
11. Stock Your Spice Cabinet 11 of 17
Give your spice cabinet a scan and toss out any old or un-used spices. And add in a few new exotic varieties to try. Spices and herbs will add a punch of flavor to healthy whole foods - without adding any fat or calories. Try exotic blends like chipotle or sumac. This sumac tomato platter is filled with healthy nutrients and sumac gives ordinary tomato, citrus and avocado a brand new intriguing flavor. And don't skimp on spice quality. A few high quality spices is better than a lot of low quality options. I am in love with Penzey's Spices for all my spice needs.
Make a sumac tomato avocado citrus platter.
12. Go for the Green 12 of 17
When all else fails, and you just can not decide on what to eat. Choose green! The green path is usually going to be a smart bet for slimming down. Just be weary of added fat - as in sauces, oils and dips. But green smoothies, green salads and green dips will be filled with leafy green nutrients and fiber. So fill up on green. This green dream shamrock dip is one to try. Packed with greens and beans.
13. Try Superfoods 13 of 17
Exotic super foods like goji berries, acai, chia seeds, flax seeds and more will add a nice boost of nutrition to a wide variety of meals. They also make traditional recipes fun and interesting again. Try chia seeds in oatmeal. Or ground flax seeds over top you favorite dinner salad. I love adding goji berries to my mango avocado guacamole.
Make goji mango guacamole, recipe on Healthy. Happy. Life.
14. Don’t Fear Fat! 14 of 17
Fat-phobes beware. If you skimp on healthy fats and strive to maintain a fat-free diet your body will suffer. Though all fats have more calories per gram than protein and carbs - those fats play an important role in keeping your hunger messages satisfied and your cells running smoothly. Fat is essential to keep everything from your brain to your eyes to your immune system functioning properly. Fun Fact: your brain is 60% fat!
Read about how I squashed my own fat-phobia and healthy fats 101, on Healthy. Happy. Life.
15. Make Food Fun 15 of 17
Kids and adults need a little fun in their food. Enjoying your healthy diet will keep you on track! And the main challenge when you start to eat healthfully is to maintain your healthy habits. Foods like mushroom veggie burgers can be made into fun "nuggets" and dipped into your fave healthy sauces like mustard and organic ketchup. Plus mushrooms are one of the only veggie sources of vitamin D.
Make Sunny Mushroom Bites.
16. Veganize it 16 of 17
You may have noticed that all the recipes I've listed are vegan, plant-based. Vegan recipes are not all slim-down approved - but they can often teach your how to slim down and "veganizre" your favorite foods. Like cheese! If you are a cheese lover, try this vegan version of green kale cashew cheese.
Make green kale cashew cheese.
17. Hydrate Before Eating 17 of 17
Probably the most important tip I can give. Never go into a snack or meal feeling thirsty. It is very easy to confuse your thirst signals with hunger signals. So at least a half hour before you eat, make sure to load up on water or coconut water or your favorite caffeine-free, low sugar beverage (water is best though.) You will probably find that you eat less when you are fully hydrated! Try not to guzzle water with your meals because it can interfere with digestion.
Get 7 reasons to hydrate with coconut water.
Read more from Kathy on her blog, Healthy. Happy. Life!
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