If you’re looking for motivation to sticking to a healthy diet, it might be helpful for you to think of your body as the precious, irreplaceable machine that it truly is. After all, if you would want to feed your car with only the best quality oil and fuel, wouldn’t you want to do the same thing for your own body? The good thing is sticking to a healthful diet doesn’t mean that you’d have to forsake delicious food forever. There are many ways that you could continue to enjoy food, even with your body staying healthy and happy. The key here is to know how to substitute unhealthy food with much healthier alternatives.

Avoid too much dressing

Do know that just because your meal consists of a few vegetables doesn’t mean that it’s completely healthy. Avoid putting too much creamy dressings, spreads, creams and mayo onto your food, and you’d be saving your body from a significant amount of calories. It’s also best that you avoid putting too much salt on your meals, and train your taste buds to enjoy the subtle, natural flavors of food. Apart from salt, avoid trans-fats in baked goods, margarines, candies and cookies; and saturated fats, such as those found in whole milk products and red meat.

Consider the way the food was prepared

It’s best that you opt for food that was prepared through steaming, broiling or grilling cooking methods. It’s also best if the food was cooked with olive oil or vegetable oil.

Minimize your portions

It’s okay to occasionally indulge, as long as you continue to eat mindfully. Eat your portions very slowly, and avoid going for the super-sized portions and go instead for the regular-sized ones. If you go for buffet meals, consider requesting a smaller plate and wait at least 20 seconds before you go back for more food. You’d be surprised at how you’d be able to realize how full your stomach actually is if you just take the time to wait.

Avoid sodas

The single best way to cut down on your caloric intake is through drinking water instead of soda. Sodas contain a lot of sugar, and it tricks your body into expecting energy and nutrients along with all the calories (about 400 calories for every 32-oz). However, your body doesn’t receive any of these nutrients, because soda is basically empty calories. Apart from water, you could also substitute sodas with green or black tea.

Think of healthy substitutes for your favorite food

Enjoy your favorite food but with less calories, by knowing of more healthful substitutes. For example, instead of milk chocolate, you could opt instead for dark chocolate (which has been found to have health benefits if eaten in moderation); red wine instead of white wine; seafood or lean meat instead of red meat; and low-fat or unflavored versions of yogurt, oatmeal and cereal.

Opt for whole grains

It is best that you go for the cereals and bread that have labels “100% whole wheat” or “whole grain” so you could truly enjoy maximum amounts of fiber that your body needs. Avoid those that have labels such as “multi-grain” or “100% wheat”.

Margaret Keely is a healthcare writer for the website http://nursing-courses.net. As an Assistant Professor & CNS Program Coordinator, Margaret has extensive experience working in patient care and teaching students in the healthcare field. In her personal life she remains physically active and does her best to keep herself and her family eating a nutritious diet.