For some, weight loss and fitness is easy. You simply cut out all those favourite foods that are considered bad for you like chocolate and that Friday night takeaway and instead follow the latest diet trend like Lean in 15 or the French Woman’s Diet. But the problem with these specific diets is that not only are they horrifically expensive, for busy people, like new mums and shift workers, there simply isn’t enough time to be making yourself teriyaki salmon from scratch every night as well as dinner for the rest of the family. Plus, being a parent can be stressful – you need a piece of chocolate or a slice of pizza every so often as a pick-me-up.
So what if I told you that weight loss doesn’t need to be a struggle – you can still eat all your favourite foods while knocking off those extra pounds. All you need is a few simple recipes and some helpful tips!
First off, one of the best ways to lose weight is by counting your calories. Too many people fail a diet because they restrict themselves too much, a bit of what you fancy is necessary, just make sure you mix it in with fruits, vegetables, lean meats and other low fat and low sugar favourites. Apps like My Fitness Pal makes counting your calories super easy and it will work out where to cap your daily calorie intake based on your weight loss goals. You can even add in simple exercise like a walk to the park with the kids which will give you extra calories for the day.
The weekend can often be the greatest struggle when it comes to a diet, after-all, we all have a takeaway night to look forward too. You don’t need to miss out though, it’s true, you might not be able to eat an extra-large cheesy pizza but that doesn’t mean takeaways are completely off the cards – you just need to be careful what you order.
If you’re ordering in, then opt for a thin or wholemeal base, don’t add extra cheese and go for vegetable toppings as opposed to a meat feast. If you’re feeling extra healthy, why not go half pizza, half salad? Loads of takeaways now make it easier than ever to choose the healthy option with organic toppings and side salads on offer – making it really easy to enjoy your favourite foods without any of the guilt.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, why not make your own pizza at home? You can cut a lot of calories in a pizza by alternating the base or the toppings. For instance, a recipe particularly enjoyed by low-carb dieters is to replace the dough base with a vegetable base like cauliflower or broccoli. These recipes involve using a food processor to give the broccoli/cauliflower a breadcrumb-like consistency and combining with a cheese like parmesan before putting in the oven. Then simply add your own toppings – try to pick lean meats like chicken and lots of vegetables for less calories and added nutrition.
If vegetable bases aren’t your thing, most supermarkets sell a variety of pizza bases that you can add your own toppings too. Opt for wholemeal or thin crust and then customise the toppings to your own taste. A great way to save money on a takeaway without compromising on taste.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the weekend without some snacking, but how can you still snack without piling on the pounds? Well, again, this is simply a case of choosing some healthier alternatives. For chocolate lovers you can swap out sugary milk or white chocolate and replace it with a high cacao-content dark chocolate of 70% or above (which is high in anti-oxidants). For crisp lovers, switch to something like vegetable crisps, mini poppadums or rice cakes. These will all give you the same savoury crunch but with much fewer calories.
Just because you’re trying to lose weight doesn’t mean you need to miss out on all your favourite foods. With some clever choices and portion control you can still enjoy all the best foods while still losing weight!