Whether you’re working to lose weight, hit a fitness goal, or just want to feel better, it’s important to be aware of what you’re putting into your body. This can be tough when many foods are branded as healthy options, only to sneak in sugars, fats, excess sodium, and other flavor-boosting options that can help you enjoy your food while you work toward getting healthy and fit.
Watch Out For Dressing
Yep–even the salad dressings that are billed as a healthier option can load on the calories, making it tough for you to hit your goals. When you’re choosing veggies and lean protein, the last thing you want to do is mess up your macros by pouring sugar on top of your nutrients. Often, low-fat or fat-free dressings are pumped with sugar to give customers the flavor they want.
Instead of choosing low-fat or fat-free salad dressings, go with standard options, and check the label for the sugar content. Ideally, you’ll want to look for a salad dressing with fewer than five grams of sugar per serving. If you prefer, squeezing a fresh lemon and drizzling olive oil on your salad can be just as delicious as any bottled dressing (without any of the added sugars).
Mind Your Coffee
You love grabbing some caffeine in the morning (and we don’t blame you). Be careful that you’re not starting your day off with a calorie bomb when you pick up your favorite cup of joe. Most coffee shops offer nutrition information for their drinks in-store or online. Take a look at the sugar and fat content of your favorite drink, and be sure that what you’re putting in your body first thing in the morning fits into your calorie budget. An even better option? Swap your coffee for tea a few times a week to save on calories and boost your hydration.
Check Your Condiments
Ketchup and BBQ sauce can be delicious on your fries or your burger at a summer cookout, but they can also blow your calorie budget for the day. There’s no need to choose low sugar options, as these are often loaded with chemicals that will leave you craving the real thing. Simply be mindful of the amount that you use, and think about adding condiments that are naturally low in sugar to add flavor to your food, like sriracha or Tabasco sauce.
Ready To Spice It Up? Try These Options
We know. You want your food to be flavorful and delicious, even when you’re working to clean up your nutrition habits. There’s no reason that you have to go bland in order to meet your wellness goals.
Adding spices (like cayenne pepper or seasoned salt) to your food can help you amp up the flavor without ramping up the calories. If you’re watching your salt intake, be sure to check the label for sodium levels and stay within your daily limits.
Want to add some sweetness to your salads without loading up on sugar-filled dressings? Fresh fruit is a fun way to add some extra flavor without a huge calorie hit. Slice apples into matchsticks, dice pears into small pieces, or add some fresh berries to your salad to provide a boost of sweetness (and antioxidants).
Craving the crunch you get from pan-fried food? Instead of dousing your protein or veggies in oil before they hit the pan, spritz them with a spray of olive oil, then cook on a baking sheet in the oven. If you’re looking to go extra-crispy, hit the broil button for a few minutes at the end of the cooking time.