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Alternatives for Weight Loss

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According to a USA Today article published in 2011, 34 percent of adults aged 20 and older are obese, and 34 percent are overweight.  Why are so many Americans overweight?  One of the biggest reasons for this is that so many Americans make quick, unhealthy food choices such as picking fast food over healthier options, like eating at home.  Fast food chains have marketed the quick and inexpensive meals that have appealed to Americans.  The truth is these foods are not healthy options.  Foods served at Fast food restaurants are loaded with excessive calories, fat and sodium.  These food choices are out of proportion with your body’s daily nutritional value.     Secondly, many Americans don’t get the proper amount of exercise and spend most of their day setting behind a desk.  So, what do you do about it?  Here are some alternatives, that are quick and healthy options that can help you make healthier meal choices.  

1.) FRENCH FRIESLet’s be honest, Americans love French fries, and why not they are served with over 75% of restaurant meals. French fries are staple of the American fast food industry, no question.  Although fries may taste great, but it has considerable amount of sodium and trans fat, these ingredients have been linked to weight gain, heart disease and cancer.   With so many unsatisfactory effects found in restaurant food why not make a switch to healthier options.  I personally recommend sweet potatoes.  Sweet potatoes have antioxidants which prevent free radicals to damage cells, which lead to diseases such as cancer.  When I go to a restaurant I always ask for the sweet potato alternative.

     Try this instead: Just cut sweet potatoes in wedges, add a pinch of sea salt, spray the pan with some olive oil, fry until tender.  You now have a substitute for those fatty and greasy french fries. You can also buy already pre-cut  sweet potato fries at Wal-Mart or your local grocery.

2.) DESSERTS Man, this is one of my biggest downfalls.  There is nothing wrong with having a dessert on occasion.  I usually limit mine to once a week.  We have to remember that desserts typically are served after a meal, so even if you’ve eaten a healthy meal you may have surpassed you total macro nutrients (calories, carbs, proteins and fats) for that meal.  Try avoiding dessert at restaurants unless you are willing to share because they tend to be portioned for up to 4 people.  At home it is best to serve portion sized desserts that are around 100 calories, such as puddings, jello and frozen desserts.  Do not deprive yourself from eating desserts but you do need to make sure that you can keep you portion size under control.  Make dessert a special treat that you reward yourself with after reaching a goal you’ve set.

 Try this instead:  Vitatops, these are sold at Wal-Mart and most grocery stores in the frozen food section.  They are chocolate muffins that have the right portion, low in calories and high in fiber.

3.) PIZZA  This is one of the most loved foods in the entire world.  The tasty crust, cheese and toppings make it tasty, savory and flavorful which in turn makes people want to eat not just one a slice, but often a few slices. The downside of this pizza is that it’s full of calories, fat and carbs and full of such toppings as pepperoni, bacon, beef, salami ham, etc . Often the meat is of low quality which explains why the fat is the highest. The cheese that is used is high fat mozzarella which explains the oil slick that appears on the pie. The very thick crust is high in carbohydrates and the pizza is loaded with salt. The next time you crave a pizza, you can opt to order the thin crust or the wheat crust ones. Low fat cheese can be a good choice, too. As for the toppings, onions, black olives, red peppers, garlic, spinach, pineapple, mushrooms, tomatoes and broccoli are the best.

Try this instead: Make your own at home.  By doing this you get to choose the healthy ingredients and you can make it a fun family project.  My kids love to make pizza at home.

4.) SOFT DRINKSIn my opinion this is one of the biggest problems causing obesity in America because the calories and sugar in today’s soft drinks are sooooo easy to consume.  Over-consumption of soda, because of accumulation of sugar, leads to diabetes, obesity and a list of health problems too long to list.  

          Try this instead:  Drink water!!!  Over 80% of you body is made up of water and you should be drinking at least a half gallon a day to prevent dehydration, which leads to hunger, tiredness and a overall sluggish body As a soda substitute, you can just put fresh lemon or lime in water or use a low calorie flavoring such as crystal light. 

5.) Need some chocolate?  – Have a piece of dark chocolate instead. Dark chocolate is said to lower blood pressure and is a potent antioxidant–qualities that are not found in milk chocolate or white chocolate. Plus, a simple, elegant square of dark chocolate lacks the caramel, oily peanuts, toffee bits and other not-so-healthy things that are found in most chocolate candy bars.

6.) Craving ice cream? – Have plain yogurt with fruits, honey and nuts on top. Go for non-frozen yogurt because the nutritional difference between ice cream and frozen yogurt isn’t very big to begin with.  I buy plain yogurt from the store and add my own toppings such as crushed walnuts, raisins, agave nectar and apple or fruit slices.  

8.)  Love potato chips? – Have kale chips, edamame, rice cakes, unsalted pretzels, or low-fat microwave popcorn instead. Maybe you just really want to aimlessly stuff your face with something and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bag of super-oily, super-unhealthy potato chips.  I also love rice chips, they are made with brown rice and sea salt and come in a variety of options.

THESE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE MANY HEALTHY OPTIONS YOU HAVE FOR YOU WORST CRAVINGS AND COMFORT FOODS.  IF YOU NEED MORE SUGGESTIONS YOU CAN CHECKOUT THE NUTRITION TAB ABOVE WHERE YOU WILL FIND MORE HEALTHY FOOD OPTIONS.

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