{how to} Top Ten Diet Hacks I Use Almost Every Day to Eat Healthier – While Still Eating Exactly What I Want

I think this blog could easily be rechristened “The Healthy Hedonist,” because at heart, I am equally interested in eating the best things I can possibly get in my mouth AND maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy but be smart. Be smart but don’t suffer.

cupcakes

Over the years, I have figured out quite a few diet hacks to achieve both of these goals. Because that whole “no pain, no gain” thing doesn’t really fly with me. You can eat healthy and still be a hedonist. Here are some of my favorite tricks!

Top Ten Diet Hacks I Use Almost Every Day to Eat Healthier 

  1. Grated parmesan cheese is your friend. There are only 30 calories in a whole tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese, and it will do wonders for the flavor of almost anything. Add some to a scrambled egg, some sauteed zucchini or broccoli, or almost anything else. Salty, satisfying umami flavor without a big calorie load.
  2. Spices add flavor in place of fat. One of my favorite lunches is to saute cauliflower with tons of curry powder, onions, and garlic, and eat it over just a little bit of rice. The turmeric in your curry powder is full of health benefits, which is an added bonus! Another is to do a broccoli stir fry with coriander, soy sauce, and rice vinegar with sriracha. If you spice and season food more heavily, you don’t miss the flavor you might get from adding oil or fat.
  3. Make your own snacks instead of eating chips and crackers. I never in a million years would have thought I would enjoy eating things like kale chips and oven-roasted edamame, but it turns out, when I want to snack, I want salt + crunch – guilt. These fit the bill perfectly. Homemade popcorn is another ideal snack. I add salt and a bit of oil with the unpopped kernels and cook it all on the stovetop. If you use a nut oil like macadamia or hazelnut, it adds a lot of flavor. The popcorn itself is not caloric, so a healthy nut or olive oil is where all of the calories are coming from. Control that and you can control what you’re getting.
  4. Add more shellfish to your diet. Did you know that scallops have around 20 calories apiece? You can get full on four or five sauteed scallops pretty easily. Control the oil or butter you use, and you control the calorie count. Shrimp are also super low calorie. Shellfish also have lots of vitamins and some Omega-3s (although not as many as fatty fish like salmon.)
  5. Roasted (and toasted) things taste better. Roasting vegetables in the oven is not only easier and less fussy, it also makes things taste better. Whether it’s carrots, soup ingredients, broccoli, or anything else – the oven is your friend.
  6. Boost flavor with broth. A cup of chicken broth has around 15 calories–in other words, a negligible amount. But it can do wonders for the flavor without adding more butter or oil. The pouches of chicken broth concentrate you can get now are also pretty terrific. At 20 calories a pop, they can add a flavor boost that turns a healthy meal into something savory and satisfying.
  7. Opt for cast-iron or non-stick cookware. You can saute things in a lot less oil with a nonstick or cast-iron pan. A small splash of olive oil will work if you have a nonstick or seasoned pan. For some things, you can even go completely oil-free.
  8. Try a cauliflower mash instead of mashed potatoes. OK, so they’re not mashed potatoes, but mashed cauliflower is a great stand-in for your favorite starchy puree. Boil cauliflower and puree it in a food processor with nonfat yogurt and parmesan cheese. Goes great with those scallops, by the way. You can try combining the cauliflower with sweet potatoes or caramelized onions for a different take on it.
  9. Eat raw fish at home. This is not for everyone, because some people don’t enjoy raw fish, but if you do, chances are you don’t make it at home. You should! If you don’t cook the fish, you don’t need to use oil or butter to cook it in. One of our favorite dinners is homemade salmon poke or ahi poke – with all the health benefits of fish and none of the butter, oil, or batter we’d need to cook it.
  10. Substitute nonfat vanilla yogurt for whipped cream. If you’re like me, the thought of taking a bite of cake with no accompanying whipped cream is pure heresy. Nonfat vanilla yogurt can stand in pretty well. I have tried several brands, and I like the Trader Joe’s version best for this hack.

Here are some of my favorite recipes that use these diet hacks: 

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