I know that I couldn't survive without the extra sugar kick that Starbucks gives me or the smell that greets me when I walk in the door. It’s kind of like perfection wrapped up in a little cup with a lid on top. The problem is that Starbuck’s drinks, laden with whipped cream, caramel, and extra syrups, are quite fattening. That doesn't mean, though, that you have to avoid the café at all costs. Instead, skip the Frappuccino and muffin in exchange for healthier option. Starbucks actually offers different types of salads, yogurt with granola, and fruit cups to satisfy your hunger without consuming enough sugar to power an 18-wheeler. “Skinny” lattes are also available to give you your sugar/coffee kick minus the crazy amounts of calories.
Pizza and other junk foods can be kind of unavoidable if you’re going out to lunch or at a sleepover with friends, but hey, cheating is okay now and then. It is summer, so trying new foods, however fatty they end up being, is part of the season of freedom and adventure. The strategy that I use is eating healthy all other times (like when you’re chilling at home), so it’s okay when you grab some fun lunch with friends. Honestly, the key to a healthy lifestyle is balance. As the average teenage girl, this is how I do it.
The best answer I can give you for eating healthy is one word: salad. Yes, I’m well aware that salad has a million connotations in this world. For example:
“I’m eating a salad because I’m on a diet, but I really want some pizza.”
“I don’t wanna eat a salad because I’m not a rabbit” (this saying has been made famous by my father).
“Maybe if I eat this salad I’ll lose ten pounds.”
My point is that no, you do not have to be on a diet, or be a rabbit, and you won’t lose ten pounds right away.
If the word salad really does alarm you, though, you can take all my tips and throw the lettuce and most of the toppings I’m talking about in a wrap. Yes, wraps will add carbs to your meal, but you can purchase spinach wraps or options with less fat.
Still, I recommend salads for a couple reasons. First, you can vary your salad with all types of flavor combinations (i.e. taco salad, chef salad, or Cobb salad). With all kinds of salad dressings and ingredients, you can get really creative. Think of your bowl like a canvas and your ingredients like paint.
One tip I like to use is to throw on fresh fruit like pineapple, mangoes, strawberries, and blueberries because they give you a ton of flavor. I've always eaten fruit like candy, so if you’re like me, you won’t even know you’re eating healthy. Also, if you’re feeling a little adventurous, throw on some avocado. I know, I know, it’s green and gooey, but it’s a source of good fat that can be quite delicious. Nuts, in moderation, are also awesome for salads. They give you crunch and a pop of flavor with protein and good fat (similar to avocados).
Speaking of protein, you can make your salad satisfying and delicious with all sorts of meats. Taco salad uses ground beef, but I suggest using ground deer because it has less fat but all the flavor. I know no one wants to eat Bambi, but trust me, it’s a great alternative if you don’t think too hard. Also, chicken Caesar salads have always been popular, and I suggest using white meat because its fat content is lower than the dark meat options. I also like to use Boar’s Head Oven Roasted Turkey, which you can purchase at most delis, because it is great for fruit salads with a balsamic vinaigrette. Plus, for the impatient teenager out there, this option requires NO cooking time. Boar’s Head Maple Glazed Ham is also great for a Cobb salad. Once in a while, you could add seafood like crab meat or shrimp, but this is only if you want to get really fancy.
Croutons are sort of a necessary evil in salads as well. We all love the crunch and flavor they give, but too many of them defeats the purpose of a healthy salad. Still, you can make a better choice by buying wheat croutons, or my favorite substitute is tortilla strips. These tend to have fewer carbs, and the three-year-old in me likes that they’re multi-colored.
A salad is kind of like a blank slate, and every meal can be a healthy experiment or project. You can try all sorts of dressings and toppings to make them perfect for you. Send me your pictures of your delicious meals through Instagram or Twitter so I can get new ideas and feature you in my "photos" section! As always, happy kommenting :)