Swapping out unhealthy foods is a lot easier than you think! You can find many healthy replacements in your local grocery store. You don’t need a fancy Organic Market to start living a healthier lifestyle. I have created a list of 20 healthy food swaps for anyone who is trying to establish a healthier relationship with food. Weight Loss Trainers won’t be needed after these swaps!
1) Organic or Natural Peanut Butter for Regular Peanut Butter:
The key to many healthy food swaps is to look at the label. If your choice of peanut butter contains added oils, it’s definitely not the healthiest. Many brands such as Smuckers have left out the added oils and it still tastes delicious! Any nut naturally has oil in them so you will have a layer of oil when you first take off the lid, just stir the nut butter really well and keep in the refrigerator.
2) Avocado for Mayo:
Mayo contains added cholesterol, unhealthy fats, sodium, and more calories than an avocado. Try smashing or slicing half an avocado on your sandwich instead because they are full of fiber and healthy fats.
3) Dark Chocolate for Milk Chocolate:
Milk chocolate contains less of the cocoa bean than dark chocolate, which means it has less nutrients. Most dark chocolates are lower in sugar and fat. Try to pick a chocolate with at least 65% cocoa to get all the nutrients.
4) Oatmeal or Steal Cut Oats for Sugary Cereals:
Have you tried the ‘overnight oats’ fad?!? I sure have! They are delicious and I can’t wait to share a few recipes with you! But the traditional way to make oatmeal in the microwave or stove top is just as good. Sweeten it with natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, or fresh fruit.
5) Brown Rice for White Rice:
The reason to choose brown rice over white is because of the essential nutrients in brown rice, such as fiber which aids digestion.
6) Sweet Potatoes for White Potatoes:
Sweet potatoes are packed with Vitamin A and contain more Vitamin C and fiber than regular potatoes. They are also an average of about 40 calories less per potato and contain fewer grams of carbohydrates.
7) Leafy Greens for Iceberg Lettuce:
Swap out iceberg lettuce for spinach, romaine, kale, or green leaf lettuce in your salads. This will increase your daily intake of essential vitamins and mineral such as Vitamins A, C, K, folate, iron, and fiber. The greener the better!
8) Panko Bread Crumbs for Bread Crumbs:
Regular bread crumbs have a crazy long list of ingredients plus hydrogenated oils (trans fats). Panko is just made from bread without the crusts. Panko has less calories, sodium, fat, and is higher in fiber than regular bread crumbs.
9) Real Butter for Margarine:
I know what you’re thinking, real butter typically does have more fat and calories than many of the margarine spreads you buy to be ‘healthier’, but many spreads contain trans fats. Trans fats are not good for your heart health. Even if a label says 0 grams of trans fat, look at the ingredients list for partially hydrogenated oil, that is trans fat! Ideally if you are using butter, choose the real stuff, and use it sparingly.
10) Real Maple Syrup for Syrup:
This one speaks for itself when you look at the ingredients list. The only thing in Real Maple Syrup is ‘Maple Syrup’. Enough Said. I’ll add that since it’s also a natural sweetener it contains vitamins and minerals while regular syrup certainly does not!
11) Spaghetti Squash or Zucchini Noodles for Pasta:
Save a ton of calories and add essential nutrients by swapping out pasta for these vegetable alternatives. If vegetable pastas scare you, then at least buy whole wheat pasta because it have more fiber than regular.
12) Salsa for Dips:
Salsa is not only MUCH lower in calories and fat than queso or chip dips but because of the vegetables in salsa is also has some essential nutrients. I like to shop for fresh salsa in the grocery store or just make my own.
13) Olive Oil for Vegetable Oil:
This reason is simple, vegetable oil is processed and olive oil is produced naturally. Olive oil is also rich in monosaturated fats, which help reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol.
14) Toast for a Bagel:
A single bagel has about the same amount of calories as five slices of toast. One of the newest fads is creating open faced toast for breakfast with toppings such as avocado, eggs, peanut butter, and fresh fruits.
15) Popcorn for Chips:
I know this one might be difficult. But when I say popcorn it doesn’t have to be boring or plain. There are many ways to naturally sweeten or add flavor to air popped corn just by adding a touch of butter, salt, natural sweeteners, and/or a few spices. You will save yourself calories, fat, sodium, and a long list of artificial ingredients that are in most flavored chips. Check out my favorite way to pop popcorn and a recipe for your sweet tooth here: Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn.
16) Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream:
Greek yogurt is higher in protein and lower in fat than sour cream. This is an easy food swap to add to your burrito, nachos, baked potatoes, etc.
17) Honey for Sugar:
Granulated sugar contains additives and preservatives. Honey is a natural sweetener. While they both have about the same amount of calories and sugar is sugar. Your body will find it much easier to digest any natural sweetener.
18) Frozen Vegetables for Canned Vegetables:
Frozen veggies are picked and packaged at their peak ripeness, so they still have all their nutrients. While canned vegetables can occasionally have added chemicals and sodium and lose many of their essential nutrients throughout the process.
19) Marinara Sauce for White Sauce:
White sauce has a lot more fat and extra calories than marinara, plus it’s super easy to make your own marinara sauce without any added preservatives. See my favorite recipe here: Classic Marinara Sauce.
20) Coconut Water for Soda:
I know dropping soda, even the diet soda’s, from your diet can be one of the most difficult challenges. And many people want something more than just plain water. Try some of the new coconut flavored waters that are naturally sweetened with fruit juice or try them in an afternoon smoothie rather than a soda for a pick me up.
Try these swaps and you are on your way to living a healthier cleaner lifestyle! What’s your favorite healthy food swap?!?
1) Womens Health Magazine