When you have a sweet tooth and love to bake, it’s easy to justify having a few indulgent snacks here and there. But when you start to add up the calories in one meal or snack, you may realize that you’re eating too many sweets. Although the idea of giving up some of your favourite foods may seem difficult at first, it’s a healthier alternative to deprive yourself of the baking occasions that make you happy!
Thankfully, there’s more than one way to bake a healthy sweet treat. You don’t have to give up on your favourite foods but you can rework your diet to accommodate your cravings. In fact, you may surprise yourself by how much you can eat without risking weight gain. Here’s a simple plan to help you reach your desired weight.
Eat Just Enough
To start losing weight, you need to eat a diet that’s low in calories and high in fiber. You also need to make sure that you’re not consuming too much sugar because the excessive amounts of the sweetener can cause you to gain weight. It’s best to look at the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to determine how many calories you should have at any meal. If you want to lose weight, it’s best to have a calorie limit, regardless of what food you consume. For instance, if you’re baking a pie, you may want to have a 200-calorie limit for the day. Having a calorie limit for each meal also helps you to track how many calories you’re taking in and prevents you from having unexpected snacks that may spike your calories. Having a calorie goal for each day also encourages you to be mindful of what you’re eating and how much you’re consuming.
Reduce Sugary Drinks
The next step to shedding off those extra pounds is to cut down on the amount of sugar you consume. If you’re not familiar, sugar is a type of carbohydrate that our bodies convert into energy. The problem is that sugar is highly addictive and makes us crave more of the sweet substance. If you’re drinking regular soda, you’ll be consuming about 10 teaspoons of the sweetener per day. Although there’s no set number of teaspoons that defines a serving, having 12 ounces of regular soda will set you back about 500 calories. That’s a lot of calories for a snack that’s supposed to be healthy! It’s best to cut out sugar and instead drink water or a diet drink. Alternately, you can use artificial sweeteners such as sucralose or stevia.
You don’t necessarily have to give up soda completely but you should try to reduce your intake if you want to lose weight. You should also avoid snacks that are high in sugar because they’ll quickly add up the calories you ingest. If you’re unsure how much sugar is in a food product or how to identify it, you may want to purchase a sugar detector so you can find out precisely how much sugar you’re eating.
Eliminate or Reduce Starchy Foods
Some of the foods we eat affect our weight more than others. For example, the starchier the food, the more calories it contains. White bread, pasta, and rice are all high in carbohydrates and tend to add up the kilos rather quickly. If you’re looking to shed some weight, it’s best to avoid or minimize the starches in your diet. Although you may miss out on some of the foods you love, you’ll be glad you opted for a healthier alternative that doesn’t bloat you up and makes you want to eat more. If you find that you’re struggling with overeating, it may be because you’re lacking in fiber in your diet or because there are too many snacks in the vicinity. Eating more veggies can help improve gut health and allow you to indulge in foods that are rich in flavour without worrying about how many calories you’re ingesting.
Eat More Fruit And Veggies
Fruit and veggie intake is a great way to get all the nutrients you need without the extra poundage. For instance, the veggie melon contains 91 calories per cup but it also provides you with large amounts of vitamin C and potassium. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure and a good balance of vitamins C and K in our bodies aids in the production of collagen. This gives veggie-rich foods a good reputation for firming up our skin but, more importantly, it helps lower our risks of heart disease and diabetes. The better our diet is balanced, the less we crave processed foods and the healthier we remain. Plus, fruit and veggie intake gives us a feeling of fullness which makes it easier to avoid eating too much saturated fat and calorie-rich foods.
Reducing grains isn’t a weight loss strategy in itself, but eating less of the stuff can help keep you at a healthy weight. Grains are a great source of carbohydrates which our bodies convert into glucose that provides us with energy. The problem is that grains also contain lots of calories which make them highly addictive. If you’re looking to lose weight, it’s best to cut out grains and rely on vegetables as your carb source. This will help lower your risks of diabetes and heart disease as well as keep you at a healthy weight.
Choose Lean Protein
When we think about losing weight, many of us think about cutting out carbs and replacing them with proteins. After all, proteins are the body’s building blocks and, thus, essential for growth and repair. The problem with this strategy is that not all proteins are created equal. Some are more nutritious than others, and it’s best to eat lean protein sources such as fish, chicken, and turkey rather than beef or pork. These meats are high in calories and low in nutrients which makes them better avoided if you want to lose weight. Chicken and turkey are good options for those who are seeking to avoid gluten as well because both contain gluten. Unfortunately, fish and some veggie sources contain gluten as well which makes them ineligible for those who are trying to avoid gluten.
Add More Water To Your Diet
Drinking at least eight ounces of water each day can help us stay hydrated and maintain a healthy weight. Being hydrated aids in the functioning of our kidneys which help us regulate our appetite. Our bodies become more efficient at maintaining a healthy weight when we drink sufficient amounts of water. Additionally, water helps wash away some of the toxins that our bodies accumulate during the digestion process. Many of us are dehydrated as a result of poor hydration and this may lead to a number of health problems. Thus, adding more water to your diet may be a simple way to improve your health while also losing some weight.
Use Natural Products
There are thousands of health problems associated with processed foods. From cancer to Type II diabetes, it’s well established that these foods can do serious damage to our bodies. If you want to lose weight and stay healthy, it’s best to avoid the processed foods produced by large industries and opt for natural alternatives. For instance, the humble potato isn’t processed and, as a result, doesn’t have all the unhealthy additives we find in many other foods. If you want to bake a treat, whip up a potato cake or a casserole instead of a traditional brownie because the latter are often loaded with artificial sweeteners and preservatives.
Many natural products are better for the environment as well because they don’t require fossil fuels to be produced. The fewer additives and preservatives something has, the better it is for the planet. In many cases, these foods also taste better than manufactured alternatives because they’re free of the toxins that give processed foods their bad reputation.
Use Spices And Condiments
Spices and condiments aren’t just flavouring agents to make food more appealing to our taste buds. Spices can have powerful effects on our bodies and health. For example, ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and capsaicin, the compound that gives peppers their heat, has been shown to prevent Type II diabetes. If you’re adding peppers to your diet, you may want to consider avoiding some of the more common spices such as garlic and onion as well because they’ll have a powerful effect on our blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you want to bake without worrying about your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, stick to unsalted snacks and omit the spices entirely.
On the other hand, cinnamon has been shown to have various health benefits and diets high in the spice have been shown to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Furthermore, it may even help prevent Type II diabetes. If you want to add some spice to your food, it’s best to add it in the form of cinnamon rather than the more common dried fruit because the later often contains added sugar.