Payday delights: Treat yourself with these healthy alternatives

With the beginning of a new decade comes a fresh page of things that one aims to be done this year, and more often than not, this includes an item or two about health and fitness. Keeping up with what’s written on a so-called New Year’s resolution always seems like a walk in the park at first, but at the end of the year, there’s this common case of people confronted with the sad truth that not everything they initially wanted to do for a whole year was met, and it’s almost always that goal related to being physically fit and active and eating healthy and clean.

Now that it’s officially the first payday of the new decade, bring that #BalikAlindog goal closer to reality and be free from that guilty feeling due to spending too much on unhealthy food with these hearty and affordable alternatives.

Milk tea vs. fruit tea

There’s no denying that the milk tea craze has taken the country by storm, and this is pretty evident in the fact that there is a milk tea shop in almost every corner of a popular street or on every floor of a well-known mall. The Philippines was even named as the second highest bubble tea drinkers in Southeast Asia by a food delivery platform.

Sure, a cup of milk tea can give a refreshing feeling with a sweet twist. But just like how an old quote goes, anything in excess can be harmful, and in the case of those who consume this drink on a regular basis, the danger lies on gulping too much sugar.

A healthy alternative to this is something that frequent milk tea drinkers are also familiar with. Fruit teas, which are also commonly offered in every milk tea store contain lesser sugar, lesser calories because of the lack of milk, and fresh ingredients since it’s literally fruit juice with pulps combined with tea. For starters, try Peach Green Tea, Strawberry Red Tea, or Passion Fruit Green Tea.

Take the buns out

Some people might think that this is a terrible idea. After all, what’s a burger without two pieces of bread to squeeze the meat in? But for the sake of achieving a healthy diet this year, it’s time to eliminate the buns to get rid of unhealthy carbohydrates.

A good alternative is whole wheat bread which is rich in fiber, and essential nutrients like thiamin or vitamin B1, and riboflavin or vitamin B2 which play an important role in supplying the energy needed by the body.

Another affordable and accessible alternative are leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale, which are a good source of fiber, vitamins C and K, and act as antioxidants for the body. Apart from adding nutrients, flavor, and crunch to the burger, leafy vegetables do a good job in holding the burger filling together.

Be a different kind of coffee person

Ask a coffee person about his or her basic needs and that person would most likely include a cup of coffee on the list. This is understandable since coffee is an effective way of keeping the senses awake, especially in the morning.

For those who frequently find themselves sleepy at the start of any day, for health purposes, opt to choose a cup of black coffee over those which are creamy and sugary. Black coffee is proven to be effective in improving memory and reducing risk of cancer, stress, and depression. It is also rich in antioxidants and it helps in weight loss.

Explore vegetarian alternatives

It’s almost impossible to keep oneself away from the temptations of eating unhealthy snacks like french fries, chips, and street food. Luckily, there are healthy, similar-tasting options out in the market that are free from bad ingredients.

For instance, instead of processed potato chips, try kale chips. Instead of french fries, opt for a healthier snack in the form of vegetarian treats. In the Philippines, there are restaurants which sell vegetarian variations of local favorites like isaw or grilled chicken intestine. See, the options are already out there. All one needs to do is stop making excuses and start exploring.

Indulge in a sweet yogurt treat

Even though ice cream is already considered as one of the go-to desserts of many Filipinos, it’s not that bad to try an alternative for a change. Most flavored ice creams are rich in alternative or '"fake" sweeteners, and contain unwanted calories and carbohydrates.

For those who have the sweet tooth, an ideal substitute for a pint of ice cream is frozen yogurt. Apart from its flavorful properties, a cup of frozen yogurt has fewer calories and a lower percentage of saturated fat. Plus, yogurt is also best enjoyed with toppings that also fall under the list of healthy snacks like almond, fruits, and granola, which add to its nutritional value.

These are just a few items to consider when it comes to choosing hearty alternatives. Aside from clean eating, the secret to a healthy well-being lies on discipline and consistency. It’s also best to be educated and updated on the latest in the local fitness scene.

Poised to be the main source of anything related to functional fitness, health, and wellness, Crosstrain.PH, a quarterly magazine under the Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation, aims to help fitness enthusiasts, as well as those who are about to start a healthy journey with bits of information and stories of inspiration. Know more on or through