Weight-loss as a concept can be quite confusing for some people. The basic formula of ingesting fewer calories than you take in is certainly a simplistic notion, easy enough for anyone to understand. But there is a lot more to it than that.
Because of the formula, as simple as it is, some individuals attempt to cut out far too many calories from their diet. They basically starve themselves and cannot sustain the miniscule meal portions. Then when they do start to eat regular meals again, their weight balloons past their previous starting point, and they end up assuming diets do not work.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? If it does and you are one of the many people who have failed to eat properly on a diet, then you already know that simply cutting back is not enough.
In order for your diet to work properly, you have to implement a lifestyle change. You actually have to eat food; you just have to eat better food, food that is all-natural, bereft of bad fats, high calorie counts and sugar, and food containing “good” carbohydrates (complex, harder to break down carbs).
For you to change completely, of course, you will need to purge your home of those bad foods and begin restocking your pantry shelves with healthy alternatives. In this article, we will talk about some of the healthy options you can put on your shelves.
Not only does this enable you to eat healthy, obviously, but by getting rid of the unhealthy options, you are also far more likely to stick to your diet and no longer crave those cookies and milkshakes.
Healthy Pantry Choices
Although it is a lot smarter to start baking, steaming, broiling, grilling and poaching food as opposed to pan or deep-frying it, you will still find that oils are needed in the kitchen, whether for salad dressings or to make sure your egg white omelet doesn’t stick. To that end, the idea isn’t to get rid of oils completely. We just want to start using healthier options.
Here are a few healthier oils you can begin stocking your pantry with.
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Safflower oil
- Nonstick cooking sprays
- Grape-seed oil
- Flavored oils (usually olive oil based)
Canned Fruits and Veggies
There’s a rule to great-tasting food that says fresh is always better. That’s true. We cannot deny that. But what we’re speaking about here is stocking your pantry. To that end, canned vegetables and canned fruits (“jarred” is also “canned” in cooking jargon) are fine options. They may not taste quite as good as their fresh cousins, but the nutrition is still packed in there.
Check out some of the canned options you can fill your pantry up with for a few dollars. (Just make sure any fruits are labeled as “natural” or at least packed in “light” syrup.)
- Green beans
- Lima beans
- Greens (spinach, kale, turnips, etc)
- And much, much more
It may seem a bit strange to have one section devoted solely to the tomato, but this berry is perhaps the most versatile—and perhaps most confusing in terms of what it “is”—healthy food item in existence. Not only can you make a thousand and one sauces, but you’re also looking at sandwiches, salads, snacks, stews, and infinite other options with tomatoes.
Be sure to stock up on plenty of varieties as canned tomatoes actually beat out fresh 51 weeks of the year.
Whole Wheat Pastas
As long as you’re trying to eat healthier, you might as well go the extra mile and stock up with whole wheat pasta options as opposed to regular pastas made of white flour. The difference: whole wheat options are “good” carbs, meaning that they take longer to break down and will disburse energy evenly and won’t end up directly on your waistline.
Some of your pasta options include:
- And many more
Grains and Legumes
Now, if you’re a low-carb dieter, some of these pantry options might make the no-no list for you. But if your goal is to eat a healthier diet and to live a healthier lifestyle, grains are going to be an essential part of your dietary needs.
There is a wide range of legumes and grains you can stock up on, including but not limited to:
- Black beans
- Kidney beans
- Navy beans
- Whole grain rice
Breads and Cereals
Like we just touched on above, the idea for a healthy lifestyle is to eat healthy and not to avoid starchy foods. Just make sure that you’re purchasing whole grains and you’ll do just fine. For breads and cereals, these items will go stale quickly, so make sure that you’re not buying a lot. It’s just a good idea to always have a loaf or a roll around when you need a quick and healthy lunch.
Your options here are also vast and include:
- Whole wheat breads
- Healthy cereals
One of the primary reasons that a lot of people cannot stick to eating healthy is that they find their food doesn’t taste that great. Let’s face the facts here: a boneless, skinless chicken breast isn’t as appetizing on its face as a double McDouble from your local fast-food joint. But with the right seasoning combinations, you can fix that in a hurry.
The number of herbs and spices you can purchase here are too numerous to name. Suffice it to say that the vast majority of seasonings—unless you’re purchasing sauces and marinades—are low-cal, low-fat and low-carb.
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Chili paste
- Blended seasonings
- Salt substitute
- Hot sauce
- On and on…
Stocks and Soups
Those pantry shelves usually look pretty bare unless you go heavy on the canned items. And one of the best-selling canned items out there is canned soup. Of course, you can always pick up some low-fat, low-sodium stock to make homemade soups, stews and sauces, and you definitely should. But the ready-made varieties are just fine as long as you’re purchasing the healthy kind.
When purchasing ready-made soups and other items, always look for:
- No preservatives
- No MSG
No matter who you are, the odds that the snack bug bites you every now and again are very high. Instead of turning to cookies, donuts and potato chips like you used to do, instead turn to an assortment of dried items to snack on. It is a much healthier alternative, and also a lot tastier. Most dried items are affordable and will last you through nuclear fallout.
Dried fruits you should stock up on include:
Nuts and Seeds
High in calories, high in fiber, high in good fats, low in carbohydrates – nuts and seeds are a healthy dieter’s dream. Not only do most of them taste great, but you can always find nuts and seeds for a low price, and they also keep very well in an air-tight container. A handful of nuts can satisfy even the strongest cravings. It’s a guilt-free way to snack.
Your options are certainly varied here and include:
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Poppy seeds
- Flax seeds
One thing we learn on almost any diet is that eating fish in your diet is healthy. Packed full of Omega-3 fatty acids, eating fish is very heart healthy. However, some fish, like tuna, should be eaten in moderation, due to the low toxicity levels. Occasional fish won’t harm you, but it’s not a great idea to go on an all-fish diet.
Before we talk about what type of fish to buy, you should always avoid anything that’s packed in oil, has added sodium (artificially flavored fish should be out) or fish that comes in a kit with mayo and other junk.
You should buy:
- Canned tuna
- Canned salmon
The healthy options you can stock up on are definitely vast. These are just a few items of a few hundred you can have in your pantry. Most of these items are affordable and they’re all healthy choices for you. Just make sure that you purge your current cabinets to make room for the new and improved choices.