Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I get it...not everyone likes broccoli and oatmeal as much as I do.

I know that I have unique taste buds. I realize that not everyone gets excited about eating oatmeal in the morning and the thought of a night out to an amazing salad bar. I get that people don't usually crave heaps of vegetables and egg whites. I understand that most people consider dessert a huge red velvet cupcake with an inch and a half of frosting and sprinkles on top, not a healthy zucchini cookie. I am not oblivious to how the rest of the world eats. I get it. I do however, think that for there is a happy medium for those who don't love all of the healthy goods. You don't have to go from being a candidate for a real life version of the show, Supersize me to a 100 percent perfect clean eater. It doesn't usually work that way, although more power to ya if it has. There has to be a point where you meet in the middle. Taking baby steps towards making positive eating changes is the best way to do it. Make these changes habits, and they will last.

I love to cook and bake for my friends and family, but I know that they aren't always as stoked about my 99% fat free cookies that are nearly calorie free. I have come to terms with the fact that I think I have more of an acquired taste for these types of foods. Because I know this I will often times make small changes in the food I make for other people; changes that they will never notice, but helps me to be able to sleep at night.

Tonight I made some cookies for my friends. I have a KILLER Oatmeal chocolate chip recipe that I've made a few modifications to in order to health-ify it a little. I am in no way saying that these are basically better than broccoli and should replace the healthy foods in your diet. I'm just saying it's possible to make little changes to some of the foods you love to make them a little better for you. If you are going to eat them or serve them anyways, you may as well do all that you can to make them a little healthier, right? Right.
Healthier Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Makes 36 cookies)

1/2  cup butter, softened
1/2 cup applesauce (originally this was butter, but I always replace 1/2 with applesauce)
3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2  cup granulated sugar
1  egg
2 egg whites (this was another whole egg, but I like to replace 1 of the eggs with 2 egg whites)
1  teaspoon vanilla
3/4  cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (this was originally all white flour, but again I like to do 1/2 and 1/2)
1  teaspoon baking soda
1/2  teaspoon salt 
1 1/2  teaspoons ground cinnamon
3  cups old fashioned oats
1  cup chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350. Mix together butter, sugars, and applesauce. Add eggs, egg whites, and vanilla. Beat well. Add in dry ingredients. Mix together and then add chocolate chips. Bake for 10 mins or until slightly golden. They are better if they aren't crispy, but a dab under cooked.

The nutrition facts come out looking a little something like this:
You end up saving about 20 calories and two grams of fat per cookie.

There are a lot of other little changes that you can make when you're trying to eat better one step at a time. Here are some of my suggestions for some small changes that can add up to make a big difference.

- Go whole grain. Buy wheat bread instead of white. Make brown rice instead of white rice. Switch out your regular pasta for whole wheat pasta. Try other delicious whole grains such as quinoa, cous cous, or barley.
- Stop buying junk. If it's not there it won't get eaten. It's as simple as that.
- Make it a goal to incorporate at least one serving of a fruit and vegetable at every meal.
- Stop putting butter on everything. Learn to use seasonings, herbs, and spices. There is actually other flavors aside from "smothered in butter." Crazy right?
- Plan your meals for the week ahead of time. We eat crappy when we aren't prepared and it turns into the grab and go scenario. Don't let that happen to you.
- Eat real breakfasts instead of just sugared cereal. Whole grain cereals, whole wheat toast, eggs and egg whites, protein shakes, etc. These are much better options than starting the day off with 60 grams of sugar sludging through your body.
- Switch from 2% or low fat milk to skim milk. It will save you calories and fat.
- Use low fat or non fat soups as base soups for your meals.
- Stop covering everything in a pound of cheese. Use stronger flavored cheese so you only need a touch of it instead of eight cups.
- Build your meals around lean protein and healthy fruits and vegetables.
- Stop cooking like your mom/grandma. Despite what Paula Dean may say, you don't need a stick of butter in everything.
- Stop frying your food. Instead faux fry them with an egg white dredge and whole wheat bread crumbs or panko, and then bake them.
- Focus on the good foods you are adding into your diet, instead of only thinking about what you can't have. Healthy food can be so delicious and full of flavor.
- Drop the dressing. Instead use salsa, or put the dressing on the side and then just dip your fork for the small amount you need. You'll save tons of calories.
- Eat at home instead of on the go. You'll be more aware and more conscious of what your food is comprised of.
- Make healthy snacks available for your kids, and encourage them to eat those snacks instead. You'll be surprised they may just delve right in.
- Be aware of your extra snacks and desserts. You don't need five treats a day. You just don't.

I know...kind of a lot...but hopefully you found one or two things that could help you make your food choices just that much healthier. It's worth the effort. I promise. You will feel better and look better, and your family will too.

Do you feel like you have "healthy" taste buds, or are your healthy food choices more of an effort for you? I definitely have an affinity for healthy food, but it is also a conscious choice for me. What are some small changes you've made in your eating habits that have helped you become a little bit healthier? I never use butter. Ever. I don't even like the taste of it anymore. I always get my salad dressing on the side. I don't eat candy and sugar.


Julia said...

LOVE this post. I want to eat healthier soooo badly. I am getting better and better at buying only the things that are healthy so that I know anything I am eating is likely somewhat healthy but I could still improve (think pounds of Easter candy still in this house).

I like that you noted what you switched and how you switched it...please keep doing that!! I always read your recipes and wonder what you have done differently. I know it probably seems obvious but I suck at applying these things to other meals...and I REALLY want to start doing that!! Like the applesauce thing...soooo genius!! woo hoo!

I think I love eating healthy...I just crave sweets a lot. But now that it is warm I cannot get enough fruits and vegetables...I feel so much better when I eat them. :)
have a good day!

2011 Resolutions said...

I have to say I do many of these things but I go a step further on several of them. Like I don't use milk, I use almond breeze in everything. I measure all of my cheese, especially shredded cheese, you can get carried away really easily with that and really you get the same effect using less than a full cup in the recipe and on top...I PROMISE!

I don't buy junk to have in the house AT ALL, I am pretty strict on this one but I am always tempted by the seasonal Reese's treats because they taste SO FRESH.

One of the major things people don't know about is to order without butter at restaurants that have sides of vege's. I do this at Outback all the time and the vege's actually taste better.

My other trick is not to use hardly any oil with anything, just spray the bottom of the pan with olive oil, I promise you won't miss it! I have one of those oil sprayers from Pampered Chef but you can get the olive oil spray at Wal-mart for goodness sakes. Just try it.

I have modified all of our yummy recipes so that I can still have them and not feel horrible about it. Plus I can feed people and they say how good it tastes then I don't tell them until afterward how much better it is for them than the original lol

Jen said...

I loved all your tips. I already do most of them but I can see some areas I can improve on. Thank you. You always have the best posts. I do crave veggies but I also crave sweets and salts. I need to just try and replace them with healthy sweets and salts. I've committed to no chips this week and am replacing it with popcorn. Thanks again!

Jody, RD said...

Ummm.... you pretty much just revealed all the secrets of my blog ;)

But I couldn't agree more! I'll definitely be trying your cookie recipe.

What program do you use to calculate your nutrition facts? Always looking for more resources.

Rene said...

Awesome post. It is a struggle for me to eat healthy. I have to choose it and I am far from perfect. I do the whole grain bread, skim milk, no butter thing. I also make eggs with one whole egg and two or three egg whites. I need to work on getting more veggies - not my favorite. I alos need to give up the sugar. I am an addict.
Thanks for the great tips. I'll definitely use some to continue to improve my eating.

Thisisme said...

Butter? I don't even know where it is in the grocery store!!

Cottage cheese is a GREAT dressing. And avocado's+feta add a great "moisture" to make it seem dressed!

And the new fruity gums/dessert gums are GREAT sweet tooth fixes!!

Mrs. JM said...

i believe baby steps lead to big steps. tastes can be acquired over time. i am living proof of this. at some point, after consistent resistance to certain foods, the cravings diminish and those foods lose their power. (i think). i'm still working on my sugar addiction. i love to bake. we don't eat processed foods but i can't help to dip into the cookie dough when i make cookies from scratch. .. your cookies look delicious. i'll add it to the "to make" list. i made your tortilla chips yesterday and i'll be posting it on my weekly meal plan post at the end of the week for the thousands of readers i have frequenting my blog :)

Rachelle Wardle said...

Great post Megan. I don't always LOVE eating healthy but I truly feel 100% better when I do. I have noticed that switching out ingrediants such as butter for healthier options such as apple sauce goes unnoticed after it is baked.

You are inspiring to me and absolutely beautiful inside and out. Keep sharing your awesome tips. :)Have a great day!

runningonwords said...

I have horribly unhealthy taste buds. They like sugar, butter, and most of all cheese. I've been trying to force myself to eat veggies even though I don't like them, which eventually leads to sugar binging. I love your suggestions in this post and I'm going to try some of them. I really like the idea of using a stronger tasting cheese. Maybe I'll switch feta for mozzarella tonight for dinner.

Erin@gosupermamago said...

Like you, I have "healthier" taste buds. I don't have a sweet tooth. I'm happy eating oatmeal and broccoli :) My kids are similar to me, I guess because they are used to my cooking and having lots of good food around the house. BUT, often times the hubs doesn't LOVE my baking. And he often wishes I would just "leave recipes alone". The more I bake for him though, the more he gets used to it. I always use white whole wheat flour and I don't even have regular white flour in stock. Lots of times I replace table sugar with a much smaller amount of maple syrup. I do use "butter" but its always smar balance light (or regular for some baking where you need more fat) and I am constantly subbing applesauce for oil/butter. :) I really feel like its not easy to change at first, but you do get used to tastes such as less sugar, different seasonings etc. And like you said small changes can make a big difference!

Holley @ Lunges and Lashes said...

I ALWAYS appreciate a healthy recipe! So you just keep those coming my way! I think sometimes I can even be a little guilty of taking it too far... but that is just what Ben says, I always think it is great. Ha.

Really I love the "stop cooking like you mother" amen to that! Sometimes I feel bad, my poor Mom might feel slighted that I am so far from how I grew up eating. But she is learning a lot about how to cook healthier. She grew up on a farm where you cook with butter in everything and drink cream! Sometimes I have a super hard time going to their house... to keep my mouth shut that is. ;)

marathonmaiden said...

oatmeal cookies are my favorite. you are a goddess for posting this.

The Smith Clan said...

Such a great post Megan! Good job! And as your Mom, I know you do get it! Way to go!

Nichole said...

Exactly! Denny bought a red velvet cupcake yesterday and instead of me chowing down like I would want to I just took a little sliver. It was enough to satisfy me! I like how on biggest looser they are showing more how to eat in situations like eating out and how to incorporate moderation with treats and snacks. I don't think anyone can eat totally perfect all the time (your pretty close) so MODERATION is the key and cutting back where calories aren't necessary just like you said.

melissadishes said...

I totally get the oatmeal, broccoli, and salad bar thing ;-)

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