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Beyond The South Beach Diet - How To Cook Low-Carb Long Term
The South Beach Diet is one of the most popular diets in decades. All over the world, people are taking off weight by stripping carbs and, in the process, learning to eat healthier meals. One of the true beauties of South Beach is that it teaches you a whole new way of eating for a healthier, happier lifestyle. Eating healthy the South Beach way requires an adjustment in your cooking styles, too, though. Once you learn to cook low-carb, you'll find it easier to maintain your new weight and your new healthier lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you put it all together.
1. Invest in a good cookbook.
The third phase of the South Beach diet is a lifetime maintenance plan that lets you eat a wide variety of healthy foods. If your recipe repertoire was based on high-fat meals with creamy sauces and processed foods, you'll need to build up a stock of new recipes. The South Beach Diet book is a good start. It contains a lot of easy to cook recipes that will get you started on building a new repertoire of healthy meals. You'll also find dozens of South Beach cookbooks on the market that will give you some ideas on the best ways to put your new-found food savvy to use.
2. Think fresh!
Processed foods are the very antithesis of healthy low-carb eating. Even processed meats are packed with fillers that add in carbs and calories without offering anything in the way of nutrition. Try to shop the outside aisles of the supermarket - fresh fruits and veggies, meats and dairy - and avoid all the filler meals in between.
3. Learn simple cooking methods.
Learning to cook the South Beach way is surprisingly simple - a lot simpler than the techniques you probably use for cooking now. Steaming, poaching, braising, roasting and grilling involve very little prep time. If a recipe calls for dredging in flour or dusting with breadcrumbs, throw it out. You'll learn a whole new appreciation for real, whole foods when you cook them simply.
4. Color your plate pretty.
A healthy plate is full of vibrant, brilliant colors. When you prepare a plate for yourself, think in color. Deep green, dark orange and bright red vegetables are low in healthy carbohydrates, minerals and vegetables. White potatoes, rice and breads are not. Your best bet is to eat your veggies when they're at their peak of color - before overcooking robs them of their minerals and vitamins.
5. Spice it up!
Spices are a great way to brighten up flavors in your foods. There's a whole world of spices at your fingertips, and learning to use them can really wake up your plate and your palate. Learning about the spices used in various regional cuisines can help you turn a meal from bland to POW with just a few shakes of the spice bottle. Some spices and spice combinations to try are:
Curry isn't just for Indian food anymore. A sprinkle of curry (use a light hand!) can really wake up the flavor in a fresh fruit salad, especially when you add a dab of vanilla.
Cinnamon is an unusual and delicious spice addition to chicken dishes.
Lemon grass oil adds a tart edge to salads and vegetables. Just a dash added to the olive oil when you sauté chicken also brightens the flavor and really wakes up your taste buds.
Rosemary gives everything an earthy, sharp flavor that is the perfect foil for poultry and pork.
6. Add a little garnish to your life.
Garnishes are more than just pretty things on your plate. Fresh herbs, slices of fruit and strips of raw vegetable are more than a treat for your eyes. They add a healthy balance to your diet as well. Choose edible garnishes - a slice of lemon can be squeezed over fish or chicken to brighten flavors, for instance.
The most important things to remember about cooking low-carb for the long term are these:
Skip the white foods. They're almost always processed
Cook simply. Cooking low carb is usually quick, easy and uncomplicated.
Use olive oil for dressings and sautéing.
Get colorful. The more color there is on your plate, the healthier your meal will be.
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