We all know eating healthy presents certain challenges. There are temptations every day that can throw even the most disciplined dieter off the rails.
You don’t have to try very hard to find an excuse to fall into unhealthy eating habits; no time to prepare nutritious meals, parties, holidays, too tired, too rushed, uncontrollable cravings – the list goes on.
Don’t you sometimes wish that sugar boosted your metabolism, or potato chips provided some sort of nutritional value? No one can argue that these foods don’t do much for those watching their waistline.
However, we’ve made some simple substitutions in the recipes for your favorite indulgences. The result? Guilt-free noshing on the foods you crave the most!
Check out the simple ways you can transform your everyday diet into a new and improved version of itself:
1) Swap sour cream or mayonnaise for non-fat Greek yogurt
It’s Taco Tuesday and there’s no way you’ll be missing that mouth-watering Mexican food, or skimping on your favorite taco toppings. Instead of a dollop of sour cream on top of your favorite south of the border dish, sub in a generous serving of non-fat Greek yogurt; it’s so thick, rich and tart that you’ll never be able to tell the difference!
Do you love to saturate your sandwich with the sweet and tangy taste of mayonnaise? After all, how boring is a dry sandwich? Instead, spread on the yogurt substitute and you’ll find the consistency and flavor is just as appetizing as it’s unhealthy alternative.
2) Swap potato chips for home-made popcorn
Popcorn is a great alternative to a bag of greasy potato chips if you’re craving a salty snack. Home-made popcorn (if prepared at home with Rice Bran Oil), has very little fat, very few calories, and lots of fiber.
Add flavor with a spritz of extra virgin olive oil, dash of sea-salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, chili powder – whatever variety you’d like!
3) Swap croutons for nuts
If you opt for the salad at lunch, rather than a carb and condiment packed sandwich, then you’re already ahead on the game. But even a salad can sabotage your healthy eating efforts if you’re not careful.
Salads are often topped with cheese and croutons, both which add major calories and grams of fat to your bed of greens. Skip the cheese altogether (or go for a low-fat feta or fresh goat cheese option) and substitute those deep-fried croutons with the same satisfying crunch that comes from nuts.
Sliced almonds, cashews and pecans are great salad toppers, and have healthy fats and protein that will keep you feeling full.
4) Swap bottled, store bought salad dressing for home-made salad dressing
Many people envision a diet as eating raw veggies and dry salads. Of course, the less you “dress” the salad, the healthier it will be, but you don’t have to settle for rabbit food to maintain your health.
Instead of ruining a perfectly nutritious salad by dumping a creamy or oily dressing on top, try making your own at home. It’s easy and only takes a few basic ingredients. Take two parts lemon juice, lime juice or apple cider vinegar and mix with one part extra virgin olive oil. Add salt, pepper and any other or your favorite herbs (Thyme, Oregano, Basil), drizzle over your salad, and enjoy!
5) Swap tonic water (or any soft drink) for soda water
No one will blame you for enjoying the refreshing taste of a bubbly cola. But each can of soda packs about 25g of sugar and literally NO nutritional value. That’s like ordering a salad with a side of chocolate bar. It just doesn’t make sense.
Instead, swap out your daily soft drink for soda water. Zero calories, zero sugar and just as refreshing. Add a lime or lemon wedge if you want a little more flavor.
When it comes to cocktails, soda water also makes a great substitute for tonic water and other mixers. Try using soda water in place of the tonic in your gin and tonic. Or instead of vodka mixed with a fruity, sugary juice (like orange or cranberry), try switching out the juice for soda water and a slice of fruit. It will cut both the calories and sugar of the entire drink in half!
6) Swap cheese, condiments, dips, butter – pretty much anything! – for avocado
Avocados are a natural super food – they have a high content of Omega-3, healthy fats, Vitamin A, B, E, and K, as well as fiber and potassium. The rich, creamy taste and soft consistency makes them a great substitute for many food items.
Spread avocado on your sandwich in place of mayonnaise, top your salad with generous chucks of the green stuff instead of cheese, or whip up your own home-made guacamole and use as a veggie dip instead of ranch or bleu cheese dressing. You can even sub avocado in when baking; when the recipe calls for butter, simply use the same amount of avocado in its’ place.
7) Swap rice or mashed potatoes for cauliflower
Common dinner side dishes like rice and mashed potato round out a meal, but at cost. Starchy and filled with heavy carbs, these dishes weigh you and your weight loss goals down. Cauliflower has about a ¼ of the calories per serving as “the real thing” and is just as delicious.
Try mashing steamed cauliflower mixed with herbs as a potato stand in. You can even do a 50/50 swap (half potatoes, half cauliflower) if you must have your potato fix.
Grated cauliflower is also a great swap for white rice and you won’t even notice the difference in taste or texture.
8) Swap white bread for 100% whole-wheat bread or multi-grain
It’s a swap that’s been around for a long time, but it still rings true today. White bread has a high glycemic index, which can spike your blood sugar and lead to a crash later. White bread also has more calories, more carbs, less protein and less fiber per slice than multi-grain bread.
By choosing 100% whole wheat bread or multigrain bread you consume better nutrition. Period.
9) Swap your morning granola for oatmeal and fresh fruit
Pre-made or pre-packaged granola may seem like a wholesome option at first glance. But a closer look shows a cup of granola has a much higher calorie and sugar content than a cup of cooked oats with fresh fruit. And you still have to add milk to your granola, which increases its numbers even more.
Oatmeal is just as easy to prepare as a bowl of granola, plus it has almost zero sugar and very low fat content. Once you add some cinnamon and as much fresh fruit as you’d like, you’ll never give granola a second thought.
10) Swap ice cream for home-made banana ice cream
Just because you’re dieting or trying to eat healthy, it doesn’t mean you need to give up dessert! Ice cream is notoriously delicious and, unfortunately, fattening. Loaded down with heavy cream and sugar, one scoop does a lot to set you back.
Try this super simple swap for store-bought ice cream: frozen banana, pureed, and sprinkled with cinnamon. Doesn’t feel like dessert without the whipped cream and chocolate? Dress it up with a spoon of non-fat Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of dark-chocolate cacao chips. Yum!
These are just a few suggestions on how to create a healthier diet. There are dozens of substitutes and swap that can be made in your everyday diet to ensure the healthiest and best possible meal and snack options. By making tiny tweaks to your food choices, you can easily stay on track with your weight loss goals and feel completely fulfilled and satisfied about
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