Fitness Fridays: Food choices

They say that the key to losing weight is anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent diet and the rest exercise.  As I mentioned in last week’s Fitness Fridays, I work out anywhere from five to six days a week but I still have some meat on my bones.  Why?  Because diet is everything.

I love food, and okay, every day is often a cheat day for me, but I have found that when it comes to eating healthy, it’s a process. I’ve never even attempted to follow a diet plan, instead I have cut out little things in my everyday meals or substituted them for healthier alternatives.

I am in no way a dietician and I have never taken nutrition in school so I am no expert on the subject.  My advice isn’t really new knowledge, but these are some of my tips and tricks.


I used to be a huge fan of potato chips.  Whether they were Doritos or salt and vinegar, I could eat a bag in one sitting.  The problem with them is they are extremely high in sodium and calories.  I still like having that extra side when I’m eating a sandwich so I reach for either rice cakes or Special K Cracker Chips.

I have been obsessed with the Special K Cracker Chips since they came out.  In Canada you can find them in three flavours: Cheddar, Original, or Sour Cream & Onion (my fave).  The best part?  There is only 110 calories for 27 chips.  The sodium content is still a bit high at 10 per cent based on a 30 gram serving, so don’t go overboard with these (which can be hard sometimes).

If you wanted to cut chips out entirely I recommend veggies with dip.  I love carrots dipped in low-fat ranch dressing as a side almost as much as I love my cracker chips.


Toast, sandwiches, pizza, you name it, bread is a hard thing to cut out.  Swap out your white bread for whole wheat or flax and you will be doing your body a favour.  This is something that I started doing a few years back and to be honest, I don’t really notice a taste difference (although some people beg to differ).  If you want to be a bit healthier substitute bread for whole wheat or flax wraps instead of a traditional sandwich.

As for pizza, lots of restaurants now have whole wheat options on their menu and always spring for thin crust.  It may not taste so good at first but it grows on you (I have always liked the taste).  Think about it, it takes 20 minutes to eat a pizza but hours to burn off the calories you just ingested.

*Extra tip: when ordering burgers at fast food restaurants, see if you can swap out the premium bun that comes with most meals for a different, smaller bun.  For example, for the grilled chicken burger at Wendy’s (number five combo in Canada), the bun that comes with the sandwich is around 220 calories.  Ask for a Junior Hamburger bun which is only 110 calories.  Skip the sauce on the sandwich and the whole sandwich comes to around 230 calories, not bad for fast food.


Speaking of sauces I often ask for no mayo.  I used to be a mayo fiend, it just tastes so good! Well to me, it’s not worth it anymore.  You can save yourself around 80 calories if you skip the sauce and the burger still tastes really good.  If you absolutely don’t want to cut out sauces just yet, spring for fat-free or low calorie versions, or add avocado to your sandwich which is full of nutrients and fibre (and really good for you too!).


I grew up drinking two per cent milk but switched over to one per cent a couple of years ago.  It may take a while to get used to the taste if you have been drinking two per cent for a long time, but once you switch it’s hard to go back (I find two per cent too thick to drink now).  Same goes for your coffee; skip the half and half and choose milk instead.  It may not be “the same” but it’s healthier for you and you get used to it over time.

Another tip, which I learned from a personal trainer, is to drink either a glass of milk or chocolate milk after a workout.  The benefits are similar to what you would get if you drank a protein shake after exercise, it helps your body burn more fat (it’s also way cheaper than protein powder).


Have a pop addiction?  And no, I’m not talking about the music genre.

I like soft drinks as much as most people, but I’m at a point where I have cut them out of my daily eating habits bu about 90 per cent.  I would often drink Diet Coke with most dinners because it has zero calories.  Well, I have since switched to water because not only is it healthier for you, but I find that I don’t even like the taste on canned Diet Coke anymore (in most instances).  I still love the taste of fountain Diet Coke when eating out, but at most sit-down restaurants I’ll still stick to just water.

Don’t like the taste of water?  Buy some Crystal Light or those new Mio water enhancers which makes your plain ol’ water into a fruity beverage with hardly any calories.

As for alcoholic beverages, I still love my blended margaritas.  When it comes to beer, I will often go for one of the light varieties (Labatt Light, Bud Light, etc.) or a mixed cocktail (vodka cranberry – I know, the girliest drink on the planet) or even a glass of wine, all of which have way less calories than a blended drink.


I often say that I can live just off dessert items.  I have a huge sweet tooth, but as your know, desserts are often high in calories.  For lunches I will often grab a cereal bar or one of the Special K Crisps, which is a portion-controlled snack weighing in at only 100 calories for two bars.  I have been obsessing over the Cinnamon Brown Sugar kind that recently was released but they also come in Strawberry, Blueberry, and Chocolate.

If you want to get healthier and more natural, grab a bowl of grapes or strawberries with low-fat Cool Whip.  Or, if you have a major sweet tooth for cakes and cookies, make your own, that way you control what is going in the product… and your body.

To me, diet is all about choices and determination.  Sure, sometimes I will eat chips if I’m hanging out with a friend or I won’t even get upset if I ask for no mayo at McDonald’s and they give it to me anyways. Changing your food habits slowly, and most importantly, sticking to them, is, in my opinion, the key to losing weight and keeping it off.  You aren’t going to lose 30 pounds or look more tone overnight, it takes time and dedication, and it all starts with what you are putting in your mouth.

Do you have any great tips and tricks for healthy eating?  Let me know in the comments below!

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