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Sensible Splurging: How to Adopt Healthier Nutritional Habits

And still splurge on the things you love!

Farewell, chocolate eclair. So long, Kettle chips. Adios, buttered potato.

Many of us equate starting a weight-loss or healthy nutritional plan with forever forsaking the foods we love. Yet, this approach can lead to resentment — and goals abandoned long before their time.

The truth, experts say, is that you can have healthy meals and eat cake, too – as long as you splurge the sensible way.

Taking away a person’s favorite foods can be the death knell to following a new way of eating. However, there are ways to structure your “cheat” meals in.

There is a difference between enjoying your favorite foods occasionally and eating everything you adore. The key to maintaining control is in deciding what you want, how much you’ll have, and then to “eat it with full consciousness … lick your lips, and then move on with your life.

Anyone can follow a restrictive diet for a short time, but ultimately, most will break down and overindulge on the foods they denied themselves. So why not follow a more sensible and balanced way of eating, so your chances of success are much greater in the long run?

When you know what you’re getting in to, you have more control. If you love cheesecake, know the calorie count of your favorite type, and then you can manage your splurge with portion control.

Here are 10 tips to help balance your “splurge” foods:

  • Accept your “splurge foods” because the desire for them isn’t going anywhere. And as we all know, when you tell people they can’t do something — like enjoy a slice of pie — they’re going to want to do it even more.
  •  Go for flavor hits. Whatever you love, buy it in its most intense and tasty form. This will mean you can have less, yet still get that flare of flavor you crave. For example, are you crazy about salt? Splurge on gourmet sea salt or chunky kosher salt, and then grind your own over a ripe, red tomato. You’ll have a more brilliant, bright flavor, but a better salty hit and crunch — so you’ll use less.
  •  Enjoy with all your senses. When you indulge in your splurge, serve it on a pretty plate with a colorful garnish so you can appreciate its eye appeal. Take time to savor the delectable aroma, and relish the smooth or crunchy texture against your tongue.
  • Have a plan. If you happen to be a dessert lover and eat out, ask to see the dessert menu first. This way, you know what your splurge goal is and can budget your calories for what matters most to you. Knowing where you’re really headed — toward that pecan torte, perhaps? – will make it easier to skip the creamy clam chowder or the deep-fried cheese sticks.
  • Get away from it all. How many times have you eaten lunch at your desk, or in front of the TV, and then realized you didn’t taste a bite? Our society doesn’t embrace eating and enjoying our food; we try and be productive at all times. That’s why it’s so important to slow down and savor your splurge without distractions. And if you do so away from the kitchen, it’s harder to sneak in seconds.
  • Have only what you love. Instead of grabbing a trio of donut holes each morning with your coffee – and distractedly downing a doughy 300 calories — splurge on something worth savoring, like a small, perfect wedge of creamy cheesecake.
  • Think outside the splurge box. Splurging can be on healthy flavorful options like pricey delectables such as asparagus, red bell peppers, and good peppercorns, along with dark chocolate. So next time you feel the need to pamper yourself with a treat, try satisfying that urge with a pint of perfect blueberries or a bottle of an intense, fruity olive oil.
  • Compromise. Get unsweetened iced tea with a splash of sweet tea on top. Or, if you think it’s not a picnic without your creamy chicken salad, enjoy it — but cut the calories by replacing half the mayonnaise with yogurt, for example.
  • Make it yourself. Can’t enjoy your morning coffee without a muffin? Mix up your own batch, slipping in goodies like oats, nuts, and whole-grain flour. Love to splurge on piping hot pizza? Try making it yourself, using intensely flavored toppings like goat cheese, smoked salmon, and fresh herbs. You won’t even miss the piles of pepperoni.
  • Make small changes. If you love to indulge — do! Passionate about a nightly dessert? Enjoy every mouthful — but start topping it off with a walk around the block afterward. Addicted to a pizza slice and a cola for your daily lunch? Relish every bite — but enjoy them four days a week, instead of five. Small steps add up to big changes, so find the changes that work best for you.

Healthier eating doesn’t need to include sweeping resolutions on New Year’s Day or vows of abstinence as summer approaches. It’s the slow and simple changes that are often most effective, and “what works for me may not work best for you,”

So learn what your splurge foods are, learn to embrace them, enjoy them, and to fit them into your meal plans. How you do that is as individual as you are.

Sources/adapted from: www.webmd.com/www.medicinenet.com

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