Ah, pizza. The piping-hot, cheesy deliciousness that tastes better than anything (and everything) else. But unfortunately nutritionists and common sense say it's not the healthiest of options (tell that to Bella Hadid). There is a trick, though, to have your pizza and keep your body toned, too. You see, you can pair your favorite cheat-day foods with a healthier counterpart to aid in digestion, and ultimately, burn more fat.
Farah Fahad, a dietitian and founder of The Farah Effect, explains: "The balance of your foods and what you're pairing them with will contribute to the overall caloric and nutrient density of your meal." For example, if you have digestion issues, try separating protein and carbs. For more on how to eat your favorite foods (in a healthier way), keep scrolling.
"One slice of pizza can have up to 10 grams of fat or more—pair it with broccoli. Broccoli is high in soluble fiber, which is also called viscous fiber because it absorbs water to form a thick, gelatinous substance," Fahad says. "This thick mass of fiber can interfere with the absorption of dietary fat and cholesterol, according to the Institute of Medicine. It accomplishes the task by binding with fats and cholesterol and carrying them through the digestive tract. As a result, fats are eliminated in your stool rather than absorbed into your bloodstream, reports the University of Illinois at Chicago."
Candice Seti, PsyD, a certified nutrition coach and weight management specialist, suggests adding tomatoes and a leafy green. "Pizza has tomato sauce, which is a great source of vitamin C. Add even more tomatoes and spinach as toppings. The vitamin C in the tomatoes will actually assist your body in absorbing the iron from the spinach!"
"Pair your favorite cheeseburger with a kale salad," Fahad says. "One cup of kale has 80 milligrams of vitamin C, which will help easily absorb the iron from the meat."
Seti adds: "Cheeseburgers fall into the same category as pizza—generally not thought of as health food. But, the meat in a cheeseburger can be very high in iron. Similar to pairing spinach with tomatoes, you can also pair a cheeseburger with a vegetable that is high in vitamin C. Add a couple slices of tomato to your burger and serve it with a side of broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts (they're all loaded with a ton of vitamin C)."
Speaking of cheeseburgers, read all about Gigi Hadid's favorite NYC splurge.
"Try fried chicken with a baked sweet potato," Fahad says. "When something is fried, you automatically want to pair with something baked or steamed to balance it out. Sweet potatoes are low in fat and highly nutritious, as they're an excellent source of beta-carotene, which is transformed into vitamin A in the body. It's also a good source of vitamin B6, which plays an important role in the conversion of food into energy."
"When you eat sugar in the form of candy," Fahad says, "it causes a sharp rise in blood sugar. Pairing it with a handful of raw unsalted nuts (such as almonds or walnuts) provides protein and healthy fats to help keep your blood sugar stable. That way, you won't crash and you'll stay fuller longer."
"Take your serving of pasta and cut it in half," Fahad says. "Then, replace the other half with your favorite vegetable.This will automatically make the dish a lot lighter and nutrient-dense, as well as keep you full and happy."
Here's even more information on how to eat carbs and still lose weight.
"Instead of using crackers, put cheese out with various fruits—they're more nutritious," Fahad says. "Plus, they'll provide the meal with an array of vitamin and minerals, keep it lower in calories, and help with your skin and digestion."
Seti adds: "Many types of cheese are high in calcium, which is a necessary nutrient for our bodies. But just because a food has calcium in it, doesn't mean our bodies will naturally absorb all of it. Usually, we need the assistance of a vitamin to absorb calcium appropriately. So, in order to get the most out of eating cheese, it's best to combine it with other foods that are high in vitamin D. That can be something like eggs, fish, or mushrooms. In fact, a simple omelet with cheese and mushrooms is a nutrient-packed meal that sets you up for maximum calcium absorption!"
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