By Victoria Freixa
Healthy eating isn’t exactly my number one hobby, and I think most people would agree with me on this one— especially in the face of Taco Tuesday or Pizza Fridays. Or how about when your conniving co-worker brings in delicious donuts for no freaking reason other than to torture you? Or maybe just to be nice… You be the judge. Regardless, we all have to admit how rewarding it can be when healthy eating is done right. It undoubtedly has tremendous payoffs: it keeps the pounds off, it keeps your immune system up, and even keeps you feeling happier and more energetic.
So, why is it so hard to stay on a healthy-eating diet for long periods of time if we know how great the benefits are? Well, because it’s a commonly known fact that the most delicious foods are the ones that are the least healthy. And as if that wasn’t bad enough— it turns out the healthiest foods aren’t going to blow you away with tastiness. You know what I say to that? “Screw you, food gods!” But we can’t go down that easy, guys.
The best solution to this problem is facing it head-on. Like a superhero to a villain. Like an Avenger to a Thanos. We’re the Avengers, Thanos is a humongous burrito. So, what can be done, you ask? Eat the burrito! But swap out some of the ingredients. And this goes for all the yummy, indulgent foods on your cheat-day list. Dieting doesn’t always mean you have to opt for a salad for every meal… What kind of life would that be? None worth living.
Lucky for us all, there was a class of superheroes that came shortly before us whom paved the road to guilt-free pigging out. They came up with nutrient-packed and healthful alternate recipes and ingredients that would flip the script on these villainous meals! So, the next time you find yourself on a diet and just can’t get those darn cheat foods off the brain… Take a gander at this list, and satiate your desires without all the shame.
LETTUCE WRAP TACOS –
It’s your usual homemade tacos only without the tortillas. Tortillas are arguably the unhealthiest part of a taco, so why miss out on delicious tacos when you can just substitute one ingredient. Sauté lean beef and season it, serve it on a lettuce cup with black beans and a salsa of your choice. Have yourself a taco night without all the unnecessary calories.
CHICKEN QUINOA BOWL –
Rice bowls have grown ever so popular, and they’re already a fairly healthy option. But if you’re really committed to this diet thing, substitute the rice for quinoa and you’ll feel like a million bucks. Throw in some chicken, avocado, black beans, and corn salsa for peak deliciousness.
CEVICHE STUFFED AVOCADOS –
The freshness of ceviche cannot be beat. It’s light, it’s packed with protein, and it’s perfect for summertime. We usually pair ceviche with a tostada or chips but substitute the deep-fried tortilla for a half avocado and you’ll be sure to shut your inner diet voice down. While avocados do contain some fat, I’m sure we’ve all heard by now… it’s the good kind.
GRILLED SHRIMP WITH MANGO SALSA—
Shrimp and mango salsa were meant for each other. And what’s great about shrimp is it’s low in fat and caloric content. So, grill up as many as your little heart and big belly desire, serve it with some mango salsa for that sweet kick and serve it alongside our favorite new health trend: cauliflower rice. It’s the least guilty you’ll feel about gorging yourself.
SUPREMA WITH BAKED SWEET POTATO CHIPS—
Milanesas are one of the most delicious dishes to come out South America, but probably not the greatest for your waistline. However, there is a better alternative. Introducing: the chicken milanesa (suprema). For a heavenly, guilt-free dinner, bake a thinly sliced breaded chicken breast in the oven with some sweet potato slices. Serve it with a small side salad and it’s a meal that would make any Argentinean proud.
TILAPIA WITH BROWN RICE AND BLACK BEANS—
Chop up some bell peppers and lemon and toss it into some foil with a couple filets of yummy tilapia. Throw that bad boy in the oven and the rest will take care of itself. Juicy and flavorful oven-baked tilapia; while incredibly delectable, is also incredibly healthy. Pair it with brown rice and black beans and you have a full, health-conscious, and tasty meal.