57 Stealthy Ways To Eat Better

Denying yourself the food you love is the surest way to sabotage your noble intentions to eat better. 
So stop with the deprivation already. Instead of daydreaming about heaps of fish and chips, steaming curries and sizzling sirloin steaks, get back to eating them.

Just follow these 57 simple tips for making your favourite food better for you: lower in fat, calories and cholesterol, and higher in protein, vitamins and antioxidants. And these upgrades are so sly, you won’t even notice a difference. Easy as pie.


1 Use oil sparingly
Avoid splashing 'light' olive oil over your salads, says dietitian Elena Paravantes from the Hellenic Dietetic Association in Greece. They have a less intense flavour and fewer cancer-fighting antioxidants than the extra-virgin kind. Not sure if your oil’s up to scratch? “Good extra virgin olive oil should have a peppery, slightly bitter taste and leave a faint burning sensation in the throat,” she says.

2 Catch up on your lycopene
Squirt some organic ketchup on that bun. New data from the Agricultural Research Service in California found that organic ketchups have about twice as much cancer-fighting lycopene than the regular varieties. A simple visual clue you’ve got the correct ketchup? Organic varieties are a darker shade of red than regular ketchups. Check the label to make sure at least 95 per cent of the ingredients listed are organic.

3 Get wet
Let your vegetables stir-fry in their own moisture instead of an oil bath. Use a few drops of oil to start, and then add water rather than more oil as you’re stir-frying.

4 Rinse your beans
Canned beans – kidney, cannelini, chickpeas – are an easy, quick way to add protein and fibre to your meals. But they can also spike your daily sodium intake, increasing your risk of stomach cancer and high blood pressure. Simply rinsing them for three minutes, however, will shed about 30 per cent of their sodium.

5 Shake on oregano
One tablespoon of fresh oregano has more antioxidants than an entire apple, according to researchers at the US Department of Agriculture. Mexican oregano has the highest count, but Italian oregano and 
Greek mountain oregano trail closely behind. Add the herb to anything from noodles to meats to salad dressings.

6 Stuff your burger
Before grilling, pack your homemade burgers with olives, mushrooms or any vegetable you like, says dietitian Ellie Krieger, author of The Food You Crave. This makes the stingy recommended serving of beef (85-113g) look and feel like a massive hunk of burger. The vegetable stuffing adds healthy nutrients while cutting down on the amount of red meat needed for a satisfying sandwich.

7 Give in to chocolate cravings
You don’t have to deprive yourself of the sweet stuff. Shave dark chocolate into savoury dishes and barbecue sauces – you’ll add a richer flavour along with flavonoids and polyphenols. Both lower your risk of heart disease and keep your cholesterol in check.


8 Build a better pizza
Can’t resist pepperoni? Go for it, but reduce the fat by ordering two or more vegetable toppings for each meat topping and asking the cook to use half the normal amount of meat.

9 Curry favour with yoghurt
Replace the high-fat coconut milk in your curries with low-fat, plain yoghurt, says Willin Low, executive chef at Singapore’s Wild Rocket restaurant. “Yoghurt adds that creamy texture to your dish – so you get the taste and antioxidants from the turmeric spices without the extra fat from the coconut.”

10 Add cheese to breakfast
Grate hard, flavourful cheese like Parmesan on hot cereals – atole, oatmeal, grits, congee – for added protein and flavour. “The key here is to add protein to all of your meals as it fills you up faster and may even help you burn more calories throughout the day,” says dietitian Milton Stokes from the American Dietetic Association.

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