Healthy Substitutions to Satisfy Cravings
Yes, you can eat white bread without busting your diet. You can also sip sweet beverages and enjoy other once-sinful goodies without abandon, as long as you make smart choices. These savvy food substitutes bolster weight loss while promoting lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and will satisfy cravings that can sabotage even the best-laid meal plans.
1. The other white bread: Sourdough starter contains the probiotic lactobacillus. While most of the healthy bacteria are destroyed during baking, the microorganisms do begin to process sugars and starches in the dough. One study published in the "Journal of Cereal Science" found that both white and wheat sourdough breads caused less of a blood sugar spike than non-sourdoughs. Even the white sourdough triggered a lower glycemic response than regular wheat bread. This means that using sourdough instead of traditional bread can stave of hunger pangs later on, and leave you less susceptible to diabetes and heart disease.
2. Safer soda: If you're hooked on sugary soft drinks, you may be jeopardizing your weight and your health. And don't be fooled by diet versions; a recent University of Minnesota study showed that consuming just one calorie-free soft drink a day resulted in a 34-percent-higher risk of metabolic syndrome, symptomized by excess belly fat as well as high cholesterol and blood sugar.
The solution? Flavor plain sparkling water with a spritz of fresh lemon or lime juice, both of which are high in vitamin C. If you need added sweetness, mix in stevia instead of sugar. Stevia is all natural and has a glycemic index of zero, meaning it's carb-free.
3. Have your cake and eat it too: Zero-calorie sparkling water is for more than just drinking: it can slash fat and calories from your home-baked dessert. Use club soda instead of the milk, eggs, oil and other ingredients on the instructions of your (preferably organic) boxed cake mix. Use one 12-ounce can of seltzer or club soda for each package of mix, any flavor. Diet expert and author Lisa Lillien, better known as "The Hungry Girl," swears that your taste buds won't notice the difference while you knock up to 100 calories off of every mouth-watering slice of chocolate cake.
4. Creamy sandwich spread: Forgo the fatty mayo, and smooth some freshly-sliced avocado onto your breads for a healthier lunchtime delight. Mayonnaise is loaded with cholesterol, while avocados have none. Avocados are also rich in fiber and healthy unsaturated fats, to help you feel fuller longer. The velvety green fruits also contain plenty of vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin K to help your skin glow.
Lightly press avocado slices into the top or bottom slice of bread to keep them from sliding out while you munch.
5. Fake your bacon: If, like many Americans, you have a love affair with bacon, you may not like to think about the fact that each greasy slice is more than 50 percent fat, with almost no nutrients. Seitan, on the other hand, is low fat, has no cholesterol, and is a better source of iron than bacon. Seitan is a meatless protein made from whole wheat, and it can be found in the tofu section of health food stores. It comes in many flavors, including bacon. You can also use plain seitan, and rub it with a light marinade of canola oil, liquid smoke and a touch of maple syrup before cooking to emulate bacon flavor.