How You Can Love Your Food and Lose Weight, Too!
By Stepfanie Romine, editor at SparkRecipes.com and co-author of “The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight”
The problem is that “good” tends to be synonymous with “boring” and “bland” for most dieters. We lose the weight by eating foods we truthfully don’t really like (think of all those fad diets centered on one food: grapefruit, cabbage soup, juice), then swear we’ll never eat them again as soon as that magical goal weight appears on the scale.
What happens when we return to our regular, well-rounded diet? We gain the weight back. At SparkPeople.com, we don’t believe in the “D” words–diet or deprivation. As the country’s largest and most active healthy living website, we believe to make healthy living part of your life, you have to like it. Healthy eating and exercise aren’t things we do to reach a goal weight; they’re just part of our lives.
When we wrote “The SparkPeople Cookbook” we set some ground rules: every meal had to be satisfying, sustaining, and stress-free.
Food That’s Satisfying. To lose weight, get healthy, and forge a healthy relationship with food, you need to like the food you’re eating.
It’s not enough for the food to just be nutritious.
It must also be delicious, or eating will feel like punishment. Unlike most diet recipes, which strip away ingredients and flavor, SparkPeople recipes focus on adding ingredients and layers of flavor so that every bite is satisfying.
Food That’s Sustaining. How many times have you eaten at a restaurant, only to come home hungry? When was the last time you were “on a diet” yet ended up gaining weight because you couldn’t stop eating? How often do you find yourself staring mindlessly into the fridge or the pantry after dinner, looking for something that hits the spot?
We believe that eating right is not about deprivation. It’s not about the word “no.” It’s definitely not a time to be a food martyr, sacrificing all flavor and joy for the sake of a few measly pounds.
Food That’s Stress-Free. This cookbook is about finding that balance between food and the rest of your life, about eating the way we were meant to eat, and about making the right choices for you and your family. It’s about eating more but being satisfied with fewer calories.
It’s about using fat, sugar, and salt judiciously; appreciating the natural flavors of food; and reaching for other flavor-enhancing ingredients and techniques whenever possible.
As a result, we create recipes that people want to eat. Recipes that are so good you forget they’re good for you. Recipes that are low in calories, full of real ingredients, and packed with flavor so everyone who eats them–not just “dieters”–will enjoy them.
I have a mantra when it comes to eating: Make every bite count.
That is, every bite of food that goes in my mouth has to be delicious, and it has to be healthy. I’m not going to waste calories on a fat-free cake with artificial ingredients or a fast-food burger. If I want cake, I’ll choose a homemade version, like the Dark Chocolate Cake from the book. If I want a burger, I’ll choose a high-quality one. (We have an amazing Black Bean Burger with Lime Cream that will sway even the most die-hard meat lover!)
Thankfully delicious and healthy are not mutually exclusive in “The SparkPeople Cookbook.” We believe in:
Real ingredients in reasonable portions. You won’t find entire sticks of butter in our recipes, but you will find butter–used in smaller amounts and in places where you’ll really taste it. The same goes for bacon, full-fat cheeses–and chocolate! No ingredient is off limits when you eat the SparkPeople way.
Favorite foods made better. Macaroni and cheese is a longtime favorite, but it can be so heavy and fatty. The trick is to lighten up what you can, keep the flavor, and limit the portion. We have a Three-Cheese Macaroni recipe that swaps in a lighter cream sauce and whole-wheat pasta but keeps the gooey cheese that we all crave. If you want mac and cheese, eat mac and cheese. A version made with flavorless fat-free cheese and gummy no-carb noodles is just not going to cut it!
Plenty of the good stuff. Lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables are what fills our plates. (Note the emphasis on “fills”!) When you are eating inherently healthy foods, you can eat more of them and have calories left over for flavorful sauces and ingredients.
I hope that after listening to my interview and reading this blog you’ll ditch your diet forever, pick up a copy of “The SparkPeople Cookbook” and learn to love your food (and still lose weight)! For more information, please visit http://www.sparkpeople.com/cookbook
Listen here to Stepfanie’s interview on To Your Good Health Radio!