When you decide to go on a diet, you might have to stop eating some of your favorite foods. However, avoiding certain types of foods does not mean you should skip meals or force yourself to get too hungry because, by putting your body in starvation mode, you can actually make it more difficult to stick to your diet plan. While you might want to watch the quantity of food on your plate, it is more important to replace unhealthy food choices with healthier substitutes.
Salads are definitely good for you because you need those fruits and vegetables. If you absolutely refuse to eat salad without adding dressing, then drizzling on some dressing will not destroy your diet plan. However, it is still better if you can avoid salad dressings, especially creamier dressings because have a significant amount of fat and salt. Flavoring your lettuce and spinach may be healthier than avoiding lettuce and spinach altogether, but store bought salad dressings tend to have processed ingredients that cause you to gain weight and slow down your workout routine.
Therefore, use fewer amounts of dressing than you are used to and stick to dressings that are lower in calories. You can also use homemade salad dressing. Some combination of olive oil, vinegar, or lemon juice can be a healthier alternative to salad dressings. Make sure your olive oil is extra-virgin because, otherwise, it will contain some processed olives. Additionally, your salad should not have croutons because croutons have a lot of carbohydrates and calories. They are also often cooked in butter, which means they contain unnecessary fats. Instead of croutons, you can use other crunchy toppings. For example, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, and roasted chickpeas are all healthier substitutes. Just make sure the nuts are not glazed and kettle cooked with sugar.
Protein is probably going to be an important component to your diet because it can speed up your metabolism and it fills you up so that you are not hungry later. You can get your protein from fish, tofu, beans, milk, cheese, and nuts. However, the most common source of protein is meat. Many types of beefs and poultry are perfectly healthy sources of protein, but you need to be careful about how certain meats are served. For example, plenty of burgers can good for you, but those buns that usually come with refined flour and empty calories. Ketchup also contains a lot of sugar, so you want to avoid putting that on your burger.
Additionally, you should stay far away from processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, cold cuts, corned beef, sausages, beef jerky, and ham because they are high in salt and fat. If you eat too many of these processed meats, you increase your risk of many chronic diseases including heart disease and high blood pressure. Furthermore, when processed meat is fried or grilled, it usually contains high levels of carcinogens that have been linked to cancers in your digestive tract. Smoked meat also has certain carcinogens that have been linked to lung cancer. Chicken, veal, lamb, and roast beef are going to be good choices if you want to get your protein from meat.
Neither gluten free junk food nor granola bars are healthy, even if they might be good at pretending to be good for you. The reality is that eating anything gluten free probably will not be particularly beneficial to your diet unless you have certain gluten sensitivities. Gluten free snacks tend to have lots of sugars to make sure that the food is still tasty without any of the usual grains, so do not allow gluten free fad diets to fool you into thinking that gluten free junk food is better for you than other types of snacks.
Additionally, you should avoid chips, crackers, and other salty and fatty snacks. While tortilla chips are slightly less harmful than potato chips, tortilla chips still contain oil and empty carbohydrates, so you probably want to avoid them as well. Fruits, vegetables, and nuts are going to be your best choice in snacks. You can also eat low sodium guacamole or peanut butter to make things more interesting. You can even put cacao in your peanut butter because it does not contain any of the sugar normally present in chocolate, but it does contain crucial antioxidants and other nutrients that can fight off many diseases.
The literature on whether coffee is healthy or harmful is extremely controversial. Some studies demonstrate that coffee can kill you and cause you to develop many chronic diseases, while other studies suggest that coffee can actually prevent certain medical concerns. The most recent scientific studies that control for the most variables seem to suggest that, when taken in moderation, caffeine is beneficial to your health because it provides you with many important nutrients and it helps you focus. It also gives your metabolism a boost, but the effects seem to wear off after a while.
As a result of these studies, many caffeine powder supplements have popped up in local pharmacies, but most healthcare providers would not recommend trying to ingest caffeine powder because the studies on caffeine are still largely inconclusive. Additionally, the doses in these supplements are often much higher than necessary. If you are a coffee drinker, then your daily dose of caffeine is probably good for you as long as it is not too decaffeinated, but there is no reason to go out of your way to drink an extra cup or to buy caffeine powder supplements. Additionally, if you are adding too much milk, sugar, and creamer to your coffee, then the coffee is probably doing more harm than good. Blacker coffee is going to provide you with benefits, but anything else will only provide you with extra calories.
If you want to start living a healthier lifestyle, then you are going to have to make changes to your diet. You will want have to replace empty calories with key nutrients from unprocessed foods. You can always talk to a healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about which diet choices are going to work best for you.