• Thursday Tip-Off: Healthy Alternatives

    Our Thursday Tip-Off series is a weekly set of tips, suggestions, and tricks for making you a better-informed person. You're welcome.

    Since it's officially summer, it's that time of the year to kick your health into high gear. Working out every day! Eating vegetables! Deleting the GrubHub app! Sleeping longer than 3 hours after binge-watching Netflix! Yes!

    While some of these things may be hard to start (or stop) cold turkey, there are ways to ease yourself into a healthier lifestyle, especially when it comes to eating better. Here are a few of our favorite tricks we've amassed over the last few months. Your frozen pizza intake won't go down to 0 (who would want it to?), but it will shrink considerably. Read on!
    Lead photo by Renee Byrd of Will Frolic for Food

    Photo by Renee Byrd of Will Frolic for Food

    1. If you're a big fan of carbs, there's no need to cut them out completely, but if you feel like you'd like to cut down, cauliflower can be a huge help. It can be subbed into almost anything (literally) and usually tastes just as good since it's a pretty bland veggie on its own. If you've never had cauliflower rice, pizza crust, or mashed potatoes, we suggest giving them a whirl. There are plenty of different recipes all over the internet, so all tastes are covered! To get started, you'll just need a blender or grater to break down the cauliflower, and from there the rest is easy. You can even make cauliflower steak! (Is it good? Who knows, but you can make it.)

    2. Another way to help curb your carb intake and up your veggie intake is by replacing pasta with veggie or black bean pasta (pasta made 100% from beans). If you get a spiralizer, you can turn almost any veggie into pasta. It's magical. And it doesn't even taste half bad! Try it out with zucchini. You'll be tricking yourself into eating a full serving of greens in no time.

    Photo by CJ Harvey

    Photo by Renee Byrd

    3. Smoothies are another way to easily get some greens into your diet. Even if you hate green juice, tossing a handful of kale or spinach into your fruit smoothie won't hurt it - you'll barely be able to tell it's in there, especially the spinach. As long as you don't overdo it, it'll still taste just as sweet. Even if you love smoothies with minimal ingredients (think: strawberries and bananas), tossing in a handful of chia seeds will help give you more energy, and you'll barely notice they're there. (You can even hide kale in brownies! Hide it everywhere!)

    4. To cut back on meat, try out some of the meat alternatives that are available on the market. Some are better than others, and it may take some experimenting to find the one that works for you, but for people who aren't ready to go full-veg, they're a great option. If you don't want to sacrifice your meat consumption, steaming chicken can be better for you than pan-frying it or even baking it. It's easy to do and you can infuse your chicken with various spices, citrus fruits, and vegetables.

    5. On the weekends, if you're feeling like you need to "get healthy," instead of running to your go-to egg and cheese breakfast sandwich (maybe the actual best food ever invented?) try baking an egg inside an avocado half. You can totally still load up on the cheese and hot sauce, but the avocado and egg combo will give you more energy than a heavy, greasy breakfast with tons of bread. Baby steps!

    Photo by Renee Byrd

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