Small Changes = Big Change

get-attachment.aspx-15You don’t always have to make a sweeping change to see a difference. Sometimes it is the small changes that we incorporate into our lives that when taken together, add up to one major change in our diet, fitness routine or lifestyle. Baby steps. If you take a good look at your diet, you will find that swapping one unhealthy food choice with a healthier alternative will make a difference.

I try to limit my intake of carbohydrates but for the past year, if I do eat bread, pasta or rice- I only eat brown rice, whole wheat pasta or whole wheat/grain bread. It is only a small change but it is something that I make a concentrated effort to do.

Instead of non-fat or low fat blueberry yogurt try low calorie Greek-style yogurt with fresh blueberries. Greek-style yogurt has almost twice the protein of regular yogurt and fresh blueberries add antioxidants. Get rid of the regular mayonnaise in your chicken salad or tuna salad, try canola oil mayonnaise instead. Canola oil mayonnaise is loaded with omega-3 fats- great for your heart. Instead of a bagel with cream cheese try whole wheat toast with 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter. The “good fat” in peanut butter will keep you full longer.

When making burgers meatloaf or meatballs, use turkey meat instead of beef. Ground turkey has half the saturated fat of ground beef. Instead of pork bacon, try low-sodium turkey bacon to cut fat and sodium.  Red meat is a great source of protein and iron but it is also high in saturated fat. Once in a while try trading your steak for salmon- this will save about 8 grams of saturated fat. Salmon also is also loaded with Omega-3 fats which have been associated with better hearing and eyesight as you age.

Take a look at your favorite, fat and calorie-laden meals and see what you can swap to make them healthier. Not that you can’t have your fattening mac and cheese meal once in a while but an ingredient swap is on order if you want to eat it more often. Start with whole wheat pasta in your favorite mac and cheese recipe- it has double the fiber of regular pasta. Use low fat milk and reduced calorie cheeses for a delicious, healthier recipe.

One of my favorite snacks or a complimentary side dish to any meal is burnt broccoli or kale chips- it’s the same recipe.

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Burnt Broccoli/Kale Chips

One bunch of fresh, cut broccoli or
One bunch of chopped kale
2 teaspoons (or more) of olive oil (you can use the olive oil spray)
Salt- to taste

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet (it is easier if the baking sheet has raised edges) with foil. Line the baking sheet with broccoli or kale. Drizzle broccoli/kale with 2 teaspoons of olive oil (more if needed) and salt to taste. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or more, depending on how crisp you want the vegetables. I cook my veggies for about 30 minutes or more to get that burnt taste.