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At present, approximately 49% of Americans are trying to lose weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS ).When contemplating going on a weight loss diet, many people might assume that you will either have to try and survive on nothing but lettuce, cucumber slices, and dry crackers. Thankfully, healthy food does not have to be boring, eating right can also be tasty!

You can still enjoy many of your favorite dishes by simply making a few tweaks to the ingredients and cooking methods you use to prepare them. Finding appetizing yet healthy food to eat is often one of the most difficult parts of losing weight. It is a lot easier than imagined to make a few simple changes to your current cooking and eating habits to enable you to continue eating the good food without the fear of gaining weight, as there are many ways to enjoy the same foods and flavors in a healthier way. Here are a few methods to ensure that your weight-loss efforts are delicious and don’t feel like a major sacrifice:

Skip frying

Although tasty, deep-fried foods like funnel cakes, corn dogs, and chicken-fried steak are definitely not going to boost your dieting attempts. And while that might seem obvious, it’s also helpful to pass on pan frying or oven baking your food in a bunch of oil. One of the biggest favors you can do yourself when aiming to live healthier is to steer clear of all fried foods. Instead of frying your food, opt to prepare it in an oil-free, healthier manner. Toaster ovens are becoming increasingly popular among individuals seeking alternative methods to prepare and warm food. Other nifty kitchen appliances that can be used to create delicious and nutritious dishes include air fryers, steamers, and slow cookers. Try air frying or steaming your veggies, and if you use oils use a tiny bit of healthy oils like coconut or avocado.

Make instead of buy

Even food labeled as ‘healthy’ can often times be loaded with preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, gums and binders, or tons of sodium. Highly processed food contains less nutrients and is harder for the body to digest, so although faux-meats may seem healthy, if they are highly processed and full of preservatives and flavors you’re not doing yourself a favor. When you prepare your own meals (and even condiments), you have far greater control over what goes into it, both nutrient and flavor wise. Fresh herbs such as basil, mint, parsley, and oregano, together with an array of spices including paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and cumin can provide your meals with both immense flavor as well as a wonderful nutritional boost. Home cooked meals are an easy way to enjoy food that truly nourishes and is fresh.

Make healthy substitutions

You can easily put a healthy spin on some of your favorite foods by making healthy ingredient substitutions. Pizza made with a whole-wheat or cauliflower crust, a homemade tomato sauce, fresh vegetables and herbs, and lean proteins is not only bound to be a lot more flavorsome than a store-bought one, but will also be significantly lower in fat while providing your body with abundant vitamins and minerals. Chocolate mousse with an avocado base is creamier and richer than any dessert you have ever tasted. There are an abundance of recipes online that will guide you toward a healthy way to satisfy your cravings. Allowing yourself to seek healthy versions of cravings or foods you love will help you stay on track of your goals without feeling deprived.

Coauthored by Alicia Rennoll