(BlackDoctor.org) -- We all have the tendency to grab the wrong foods when we’re hungry, like handfuls of chips, a row of chocolate chip cookies, leftover pizza or lettuce drenched in heavy dressing. The bad news is that you’ll never lose weight if your kitchen is flooded with conflict! The good news is that if the food is not in your fridge, you can’t eat it.
First, purge your fridge and cabinets of unhealthy, fattening fare. Toss regular mayo and high-fat salad dressings, as well as problematic cookies, chips, candy, and large containers of ice cream. Next, hit the market and load up on these five diet-friendly ingredients.
Stock your kitchen with high-taste, low-calorie condiments. The following items enhance taste without adding excessive calories and fat: reduced-fat salad dressings, low-fat mayonnaise, salsa, spicy mustard, low-sodium chicken and vegetable broth, and non-stick cooking spray.
When it comes to marinades, look for 30 calories or less per tablespoon. Also, spice up your food (and health) by experimenting with an assortment of calorie-free, no-salt herbs and seasonings: basil, bay leaf, chives, ginger, tarragon, thyme, dill, oregano, rosemary, parsley, sage, cinnamon, garlic, minced onion and ground black pepper.
Sneak at least one vegetable or fruit into every meal. We all know produce is a MUST BUY – it's low in calories and naturally packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, water and fiber. Produce fills you up, keeps you healthy and energized and enables you to knock off the pounds.
Sneak veggies into omelets, add extra servings to soups and stews, dunk baby carrots and peppers in low-cal salad dressing or salsa as a snack, add berries on your cereal and into your yogurt, and freeze grapes and bananas for a fun, sweet treat.
And although fresh is fab, take advantage of frozen and canned produce that you can eat all year long. It's often cheaper and just as healthy. Just make sure to avoid canned/frozen fruit, with added sugar and corn syrup, and vegetables with sauce and salt.
Eat exclusively whole grain carbs. Contrary to what some people think, whole grains do not taste like cardboard! In fact, they’re hearty, satisfying, and keep you fuller LONGER than their refined, white counterparts. Bonus for dieters.
Great grains to have on hand include: whole wheat flour, whole grain barley, oats, millet, amaranth, corn, quinoa, brown and wild rice, wheat berries, and whole wheat pasta/bread and cereal.
Buy single servings of your favorite low-fat dairy products. Cheese, especially, tends to be one of those foods we love to overeat. True, it’s a terrific calcium-rich, high-protein snack and yummy addition to any meal. But it’s easy to eat two to three servings in one sitting (which unfortunately means calorie overload).
That being said, you should take advantage of low-fat, single serving portions whenever possible; the same thing goes for yogurt. When you do buy in bulk, for example larger bags of reduced-fat, shredded cheese, try to be extra mindful of the portions.
Don't be afraid to try new lean proteins. Diets are boring when you eat skinless chicken breast five nights a week! Think outside of the box and incorporate an assortment of lean proteins into your weekly menu. In fact, set up a schedule to insure you vary your menus. Follow this example:
• Monday: vegetarian picks like beans, lentils or tofu
• Tuesday: lean ground turkey to make burgers, meatballs or tacos
• Wednesday: shrimp-vegetable stirfry
• Thursday: lean sirloin
• Friday: roasted chicken
• Saturday: grilled salmon, sole or tilapia
• Sunday: turkey or vegetarian bean chili
By Nicole Smith, BDO Staff Writer