|Watch the labels.
We don’t mean designer labels. If you are not eating fresh foods, the labels are your only clue as to what exactly it is you’re having. The important 4-1-1 goes beyond the bold numbered calories and fat content. Watch for long science-y sounding ingredients that could be chemicals, preservatives, and sneaky sugar content.
Call in a substitute.
See where you can make a swap without sacrificing what you want. Craving mashed potatoes? Try that mashed cauliflower recipe you found on Pinterest. You can swap low-fat Greek yogurt in to replace other dairy products such as sour cream. On movie night try kicking potato chips to the curb for baked kale chips as your something crunchy to snack on.
Spice things up.
Natural herbs and spices are a way to season a meal and add flavor without the fat and sodium. There is a whole world of spices to explore (literally, from all over the world). They can contain powerful healing properties of their own such as curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.
Enjoy the experience of healthy eating. Get out to a local farmers market with some friends, on a date with your beau, or as a relaxing escape on your own. Bonus: you can avoid harmful pesticides used on foods that are shipped and the produce tends to be delicious without breaking the bank. Plus you can totally document the outing on Instagram. No access to the farmer’s market? A pro-tip for maneuvering the grocery store is to shop around the outside first.
Treat yourself right.
Make sure you are enjoying food and being kind to yourself. Besides, treats don’t even have to be bad for you. Research has shown that dark chocolate and Pinot Noir both have health-boosting properties. We’ll toast to that!
■ Lauren M. Garvey