New Healthy Alternatives for Old Habits

Substitute seltzer, stack your salad, indulge in healthy favorites, and get moving!

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Make the switch from unhealthy food to healthy.

Photo by Adobe Stock/Ruslan Kudrin

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Naturally Lean: (Da Capo, 2016), by Allyson Kramer proves that low-calorie doesn’t have to mean low satisfaction; these gluten-free, plant based recipes are high in nutrients, have less than 300 calories per serving — and they taste amazing. There are no fillers, no added or refined sugars, and no processed ingredients you can’t pronounce. This excerpt is from the introduction.

H2Ohh Yea!

One of the best things you can do for yourself if you’re not drinking enough water is to start drinking more water. Today. If you’re feeling famished, you are probably also a bit dehydrated, so drinking water before, during, and after meals (basically all day long) will help you keep your appetite under control and your energy levels up. On average, healthy women need about 2.2 liters of water per day and men need 3 liters. If you’re not close to that number, increase it and watch what it does for your overall glow. You don’t need anything fancy; I like to keep a water bottle with me at all times, and I encourage you to do the same. If your office has a water cooler, drink up! If you’d like to drink more at home but don’t like the taste of tap water, simply add a splash of lemon or lime juice.

Get Bubbly!

I used to be horribly addicted to diet soda, and water never appealed to me much, even though I knew I should be drinking a lot of it. My solution? Seltzer! It’s cheap, and free of added sugars and the phosphoric acid found in sodas. Plus, it’s bubbly! I drink about three 16-ounce “sodas” a day, which is just seltzer with a touch of flavor, such as lemon, lime or grapefruit juice.

Salad Stacker

My favorite trick for increasing the nutrient value of almost every meal while adding some bulk with minimal calories: add greens! Simply grab a handful of prepped greens (any will do: baby arugula, chopped kale, Bibb lettuce, collard greens, romaine lettuce, spring mix — you name it) and place it in the bottom of a bowl or deep-dish plate. Then, simply top the greens with whatever you are eating for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This works so well with pasta dishes or chili and well, just about anything. Frittatas, savory grits, Pad Thai Soba Noodles are all made a touch tastier and healthier with the simple addition of greens.

If you buy a bunch of greens in bulk, cut down future salad making time by washing, drying, and chopping the greens and then storing them in one of those handy containers that precut greens are packaged in or another breathable container.

Get Moving!

Did you know that even five minutes of running a day can extend your life and decrease your chance for heart disease? Walking is also beneficial and most of us do it quite a bit already — even more reason to try and sneak in extra steps each day. If you hate the word exercise, then don’t exercise; instead have fun! Go on a hike, have a dance party, take your pup for a long walk, swim a few laps at the pool, ride a bike, or play a game of Frisbee with your pals. As long as you’re moving your body and increasing your heart rate, you’re exercising!

More Is Better!

If you’re having trouble keeping off excess weight, try adding a bit more to your day — meaning more of the fruits and vegetables you love, and more time for treating yourself to exercise. For example, if you are a sucker for tangerines (like I am), then increase how many you eat during the day and indulge in them over other, less healthy snacks. If you normally walk or run a mile a day, add another quarter-mile to your daily routine. If you often try and snag the closest parking spot, park far away and consider it a fitness blessing in disguise. Just a little increase in healthy eating and exercise can go a long way in your quest for a leaner physique.

More from Naturally Lean:

• Healthy Delicious Spinach Artichoke Dip
• Sweet Grape Asparagus Salad on a Bed of Collard Ribbons
• White Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bites


Excerpted from Naturally Lean: 125 Nourishing Gluten-Free, Plant-Based Recipes — All Under 300 Calories, by Allyson Kramer. Copyright © 2016. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.