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Choose This Instead of That: 15 Healthy Food Swaps
Almost everyone wants to eat healthier, but sometimes you hear people say that it’s too hard to eat healthy or that it’s inconvenient.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. Simple food exchanges are often right at your fingertips; it’s just a matter of knowing which one to choose.
So here’s a list of super easy food swaps that can vastly increase your health and might help you lose weight as well.
1. Pick Toast Instead of a Bagel
Everyone loves a good, hot bagel, but did you know that they have same amount of calories as eating 5 slices of toast? Instead of a bagel, have one or two slices of whole wheat toast.
You get more nutrition with much fewer calories!
2. Pick a Shrimp Cocktail Instead of Buffalo Wings with Ranch
Not only does a shrimp cocktail have fewer calories, but you lose all those bad fats in the chicken skin and the dressing, while gaining omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation, among other things.
3. Pick Nonfat Greek Yogurt with Fresh Strawberries Instead of Regular Strawberry Yogurt
Greek style yogurt has twice the amount of protein that regular yogurt does, and adding those fresh strawberries adds tons of vitamin C and antioxidants.
4. Pick Whole Fruit Instead of Fruit Juice
Whole fruit has fewer calories, much more fiber, and more nutrients than a glass of juice.
5. Pick Oil and Balsamic Instead of Traditional Processed Dressings
Traditional dressings such as Ranch, Blue Cheese, or French have tons of artificial ingredients, sugars, and more fats than you can imagine. They aren’t good for you.
That old saying of “less is more” definitely applies when it comes to your food.
So forget about those highly processed dressings and use olive oil or balsamic vinegar on your salad instead.
See also a guide to cooking with healthy oils.
6. Pick Spinach Instead of Lettuce
Iceberg lettuce has almost zip when it comes to nutrients.
It’s mostly water and fiber. Popeye was right when he told us to eat our spinach!
Spinach is full of iron and folic acid, not mention it tastes great. Keep in mind that the darker green the vegetable is, the more nutrients it contains.
Spinach tastes great in salads or in sandwiches.
7. Pick Bran flake cereal with raisins Instead of Corn flakes
Just one cup of a bran flake cereal has almost 25 percent of the fiber you need per day, while corn flakes have almost no fiber.
Also, the sweetness of the raisins means that you won’t be tempted to add sugar to your cereal.
8. Pick a bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup Instead of a Cheese Quesadilla
Not only does the soup have up to 60 percent less fat and calories than the quesadilla, it will fill you up much more than a quesadilla so you will eat less overall.
9. Pick Green Tea Instead of a Latte
Depending on the brand and how you order it, a latte can have up to 300 calories and tons of sugar.
Chose green tea instead. It has no calories but still has that caffeine you crave. Also, studies show that green tea can boost your metabolism, making you burn more calories as you drink it.
Read more about coffee vs. tea.
10. Pick Air Popped Popcorn Instead of Potato Chips
Everyone knows that potato chips are not healthy, but they are easy to turn to when we get those cravings for something salty. Instead of chips, air pop some popcorn and add a dash of salt.
3 big cups of popcorn has only 100 calories.
Popcorn also contains polyphenols, which are linked to a lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
Just don’t add tons of butter or oil to your popcorn and ruin all the health benefits!
11. Pick Sparkling Water Instead of Soda
It goes without saying that choosing sparkling water instead of soda will save you tons of sugar and calories, not to mention all those artificial ingredients your body doesn’t need.
If you don’t care for straight soda water, try the flavored varieties, or add a dash of fresh squeezed fruit juice and make you own “Jeltzer.”
Try a squeeze of lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit.
Find out why Cola is dangerous.
12. Pick Cooking at Home Instead of Eating Out
No matter how carefully you try to make healthy choices from the menu, somehow those restaurant meals always seem to sneak in a lot more calories.
Stay home and learn to cook the same meals you love from your favorite restaurants.
You will not only save a fortune in cash, but you will save on calories and fat as well.
13. Pick Whole Wheat Instead of Multi Grain
Just be sure the first ingredient listed on your bread is whole wheat.
It should say 100 percent whole wheat or 100 percent whole wheat flour.
Multigrain only means the bread contains extra grains, not that it’s actually whole grain anything!
14. Pick Split Pea Soup Instead of Vegetable Soup
Why? Pea soup has 10 grams of protein!
That’s more than a glass of milk or a scrambled egg.
Protein helps you build more muscle.
15. Pick a Video Game with Movement Instead of a Sit Down Game
Ok, so it’s not a food swap, but it’s an important swap nonetheless.
Instead of a sit down video game, such as Super Mario Brothers, use a game that require movement or exercise like Just Dance or some of the Wii Sports games such as boxing or bowling.
You will still have fun, but you will be burning some serious calories at the same time.