With food costs rising around the world and economies in turmoil, it still remains a fact that many Americans struggle with their weight on an ongoing basis. Losing weight has become such a commonplace goal that we now have a bevy of food diets from an array of 'experts', typically with a low-carb, low-fat or just plain starvation-style diet, promoted as the only real way to lose unwanted pounds. Well, here we've got a refreshing new approach to food diets: one you construct yourself, consisting of nutritious foods you enjoy eating which also get you where you want to go. Sound good? Let's see how you can put this no-nonsense, but tasty approach to work for you.
If you were to make a list of all your favorite foods, you'd find that, while chips and dip and chocolate may first come to mind, there are plenty of healthy foods which are worthy of inclusion in food diets designed to lose weight. For example, you may not be big on veggies, but you love avocados, carrots, lettuce and artichokes. These veggies are packed with nutritive value, while being relatively skimpy on the calories. Give these beloved veggies a starring role in your menus. You'll enjoy what you're eating, feel happy, pampered and satisfied and still achieve your goal of weight loss. Do the same with your list of meats, poultry and seafood. If you enjoy chicken, custom food diets are a snap! Chicken is on the menus of almost every cuisine in the world. Find new ways to prepare this economical and lean meat. Think about fruit-based recipes – who doesn't like a fruit smoothie of their favorite fruits? The smoothie makes an excellent breakfast, mid-afternoon snack or dessert. Make your smoothie with yogurt or low-fat milk to keep those calories in line.
Speaking of beverages, if you're a coffee-with-sugar hound, try sweetening your coffee with Splenda(R) – this product tastes just like sugar, without the calories. The same goes for sodas – there are now several major soda brands made with Splenda(R) too. You also might find it useful to insert a few new fruit juices into your beverage lineup. Chilled Chai tea, with a tad of milk is another delicious alternative. Varying the types of foods and beverages within your usual food choices goes a long way towards relieving dietary boredom.
Condiments and seasonings are just one of the secrets of successful food diets. Herbs and spices can really put some zip into an otherwise bland recipe. One tomato, cut into wedges or slices, may not seem an exciting menu choice – that is, until you make this into a small salad plate adorned with snips of fresh basil leaves and a few slices of fresh (naturally low-fat) mozzarella cheese. If carrots rank high on your list, try a dish of cooked, sliced carrots in a sauce of orange juice laced with ginger for a real taste treat. Bring the orange juice to a simmer, add a touch of cornstarch to thicken and some powdered ginger. When the sauce is thickened, return the cooked carrots to the pot, stir and serve.
Produce is fast becoming a 'luxury' food, due to cost. However, this doesn't mean that food diets should be geared to less of these nutritious foods. Choose the best and freshest produce you can find. Use your best-loved fruits and veggies list to cruise the net in search of new recipes to use these favorites. Then, don't let them go to waste! If you find you bought too much, remember that many fruits and veggies can be blanched and frozen for future use.
When you consider that we eat not only to allay our hunger, but to also please our palate, it makes sense that variety, food quality and seasonal produce are smart criteria on which to base food diets.
The last of our tips on constructing food diets concerns food portion sizes. The majority of the trendy food programs rely on small portions. When your dinner plate has too much 'white space', the psychological effect is that you ultimately feel deprived. Here's a great trick to using small food portions that are still, at the end of the meal, satisfying. Start serving each course on a separate plate. For example, you might begin with a small fruit cup with a flavored yogurt as the 'sauce'. Take the time to enjoy this course, as well as the table conversation. Don't rush through it! Your next course might be your meat and a side of veggies, seasoned in an interesting way. This technique also gives your tummy a chance to catch up with your eyes.
Now, what about that dessert? Taking the time to savor your food, with a few minutes between courses might find your tummy full and happy, not in need of the conventional sugar-laden dessert. If you do crave a finisher to your meal, try a small, fresh fruit and cheese plate. Again, quality counts, but you don't need much to refresh and satiate your palate.
In the end, custom food diets such as this tend to work for you – the unique individual. Give this method a try and see those pounds disappear!