INSANITY Fitness Knowledge Base


1. Excessive olive oil

No doubt olive oil is a healthy fat - it's rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. In addition the aroma of olive oil may even improve satiety, prompting you to eat less at later meals.. But that doesn't mean you can pour it on with abandon.

One tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories and if you're adding it to a pan it's very easy to pour twice that and therefore twice the calories.

Try using just enough oil to coat the pan's cooking surface, then using a paper towel to wipe off any excess oil before adding other ingredients. Alternatively try sautéing veggies in low-sodium chicken or veggie stock or white wine.


2. No seasoning

It’s time to re-think how you add flavour to foods. Instead of covering steamed broccoli in butter, sauces or cheese reach for your spice rack. It’s been found that when you add herbs & spices to reduced-fat foods they rate as high as their full-fat equivalents eg. rubbing fish with dill, paprika and garlic topped with a squeeze of lemon. Also try covering chicken breasts with rosemary, garlic, lemon or orange slices and sage before baking it in the oven.


3. Oven cooked meat

Baking chicken in the oven can definitely help save calories over pan-frying or sautéing but here's what you're probably missing: you should elevate the meat and cook it on a rack. This allows the fat to drain away. Do the same with veggies. Toss them with oil, salt & pepper then roast on a rack placed atop a baking sheet. When done they won't be swimming in oil but you'll still enjoy the same delicious flavour.


4. Healthy option – double portion

The trick to healthy treats like cookies, muffins and brownies is to use puréed fruit instead of refined sugar and add black bean purée to brownies. Try whole-grain flour in your muffins. While it's a good idea to make an effort to add as much nutrition as possible to treats. The facts are that people eat larger portions if foods are marked "healthy". Eating double defeats the purpose of the healthy option.


5. Cooking everything

Research shows that adults eat far too few fruits & vegetables, consider trying to get more into your diet whether steamed, roasted or grilled but don't forget to eat them raw too.

Studies show that the process of cooking food makes more calories available to the body. That suggests that your body has to burn more calories when digesting raw foods which could translate into weight loss (albeit a very small amount). Include big salads; crudités like sliced cucumber and red peppers, dipped in salsa, guacamole or gazpacho in your meal rotation.


6. Using only wheat pasta

If you've already switched from white pasta to whole wheat versions then give yourself a pat on the back. Pasta made with 100% whole wheat flour digests slower than refined versions so you stay fuller for longer.

But there's life beyond wheat pasta and it saves mega-calories and dials up the nutrition: veggies masquerading as pasta. Think spaghetti squash, courgette and squash ribbons and sliced asparagus.

One cup of spaghetti squash contains 42 calories compared with one cup of pasta at 200 calories. Veggie "pasta" with turkey meatballs in tomato sauce and you've got a lower-carb, lower-calorie (but still satisfying) meal.

One tip: when making spaghetti squash, don't salt it before cooking; it’ll add about 16% of your daily value of bloat-inducing sodium. The sauce you put on top will contain enough salt to flavour the dish.

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