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Best Food Swaps for Healthier Eating
If you are interested in eating healthy, then we have some super food swaps to help you in your endeavor. When you look around at the typical American diet, it’s simply appalling the way most people eat. However, some things, such as pasta for dinner and sugar in your morning coffee, are such a part of our culture that sometimes it’s hard to think about healthier substitutes.
So we have done a little homework and have found some of the best food swaps around. You might know some of these, but others are probably new to you. Although a few of them might sound strange, don’t knock them until you try them!
1. Cakes, Cookies, or Candy
If you have a sweet tooth then these are probably staples in your house, but if you want to cut out or cut down on your sugar consumption, or if you want to remove gluten from your diet, then this is a great swap. You can make your own sweet treat by mixing a half cup of antioxidant rich berries (any berry that you like best will work; blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.), add a handful of cacao nibs, then add just a dash of unsweetened coconut milk and you will have a super sweet treat that really satisfies but is super healthy.
You can easily swap spaghetti squash for pasta in any recipe and not only cut gluten out of your diet, but save tons of calories at the same time. For every cup of pasta that you replace with spaghetti squash, you can save about 180 calories! Squash is also loaded with healthy fiber, vitamin A, C, E, K, and some important minerals as well including calcium, manganese, and selenium.
3. Iceberg Lettuce
One of the great things about iceberg lettuce is that it’s loaded with water and almost no calories. Let’s be honest, though, this also means it has almost no flavor and few nutrients. Ditch the iceberg lettuce for a nice mix of spinach, romaine, Swiss chard, and a bit of young kale. Choosing leafy greens that are dark green will give you so much more nutrient power than plain old watery iceberg lettuce, not to mention, flavor galore!
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4. White Rice
Although everyone loves rice and how versatile it is, the fact is, rice is high in arsenic and has been highly processed. Skip the rice and use cauliflower. This veggie has been linked in dozens of studies to a much lower risk of cancer and has tons of nutrition. Cauliflower will fight inflammation in the body, which can also lower your risk of brain or cardiovascular problems.
No salad is complete without those delicious, crunchy, garlicky croutons, right? If you want to cut gluten and saturated fats out of your diet, then it’s time to ditch the croutons. You don’t have to give up on crunch or flavor, however. Replace croutons with some nuts! Toasted nuts are a great salad topper that will give you plenty of crunch and flavor, not to mention, healthy fats! Pistachios are the lowest calorie nut but walnuts and almonds are loaded with vitamin E that is good for the brain and skin.
6. Ice Cream
On a hot day, ice cream is a super cool treat. However, if you want to skip the dairy and sugar, then try this instead. Peel a banana and chop it into a few pieces. Put it on a piece of parchment paper and then put it on a cookie sheet or metal baking pan. Freeze it for several hours, then remove it and put the frozen banana in your blender or food processor. Some people like to add some cacao powder, but if you love bananas, then eat them plain. Frozen bananas taste exactly like ice cream, but they are so much healthier for you! Your kids will love this!
7. Vegetable Oil(s)
If you use corn oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, or cottonseed oil, then you are using GM products. Use natural coconut oil instead! Even olive oil would be a better choice than any of these other oils. Coconut oil can help you burn more fat and increase your energy output by as much as 5 percent. Coconut oil will lower your cholesterol levels, which will lower your risk of developing heart disease.
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8. Potato Chips or Corn Chips
If you love salty treats, then these are probably a snacking staple in your house. You probably already know that corn chips are made from GM corn and both corn and potato chips are fried using GM vegetable oils, which create cancer causing trans-fats. Substitute these super unhealthy chips with kale chips! Kale chips have fiber, plenty of vitamins, fiber, and those healthy omega-3 fatty acids. You can also add spices, such as garlic powder or cayenne pepper for a change of pace!
9. French Fries
Another American staple that is super unhealthy. However, if you simply love French fries and feel like your life would not be complete without them. Then try making sweet potato fries instead! Sweet potatoes are high in B6, which will reduce homocysteine in the body. Homocysteine has been linked to numerous health problems, including heart disease. Sweet potatoes are also a great way to get magnesium, vitamin D, and immune boosting vitamin C.
10. Alfredo Sauce
If you like Italian food, then you probably make or buy Alfredo sauce frequently. However, these cream based sauces not only have tons of calories, but they are loaded with unhealthy fats and salt. Make your own Vegan pesto sauce! Simply put the following ingredients in a blender:
- 2 Cups of lightly packed, fresh, organic basil leaves
- 2 Large cloves of organic garlic, peeled
- ½ Cup of raw, organic, unsalted pine nuts
- ½ Cup of olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 1 Tablespoon of fresh, organic lemon juice
- A pinch of sea salt and a grind of fresh pepper
This recipe will keep in the fridge for about 5 to 7 days. You can also use this as a dip for veggies or use it as a marinade on fish or chicken.