Healthy Food Swaps for the New Year
Stay healthy this New Year by swapping foods for healthier choices. Making healthy choices doesn’t have to mean cutting out what you love, but simply eat those foods less often. Food swaps can help you aim to eat healthier. Catherine Fore, a bariatric dietician with Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, shares ways to swap out what you typically eat for a healthier option.
“Don’t think of these swaps as something you are depriving yourself of, instead focus on how much healthier you are going to be and how much better you will feel,” says Fore. Eating healthier can be fun especially when thinking about different foods to swap for each other.
TRY DRINKING NON-CALORIC SELTZERS INSTEAD OF SODA
Soda is full of sugar and extra ingredients that will do more harm than good to your body the more you drink. Try drinking non-caloric seltzers instead. You can still enjoy a carbonated drink but without the added sugar.
USE RED-BASED SAUCES FOR WHITE-BASED SAUCES
Red-based sauces overall tend to be healthier. It contains vitamin A, C, calcium, iron and lycopene, an antioxidant that protects against cell damage. In comparison, white sauces are high in cholesterol and saturated fats.
USE RICED CAULIFLOWER FOR RICE
Riced cauliflower is a healthier alternative to regular rice. It has only 25 calories per cup versus 218 calories for a cup of rice. It also has a very limited number of carbohydrates, 5 grams versus 26 grams in rice.
SUBSTITUTE ZOODLES, MUSHROOM BASED NOODLES AND SPAGHETTI SQUASH FOR PASTA
It’s hard not to love pasta. Plus, it’s a meal that you can easily fix for the whole family. “Instead of using regular pasta noodles which can be unhealthy if you eat more than the suggested serving size, switch it up with a vegetable-based noodle like zoodles, mushroom-based noodles or spaghetti squash,” explains Fore. This way you can enjoy the dish you and your family love, but with a healthier twist while limiting unnecessary carbohydrate intake.
INSTEAD OF MAYONNAISE, TRY AVOCADO
Using avocado as mayonnaise instead of traditional mayonnaise has a health benefit since avocados are high in nutrients, especially with healthy fats. “Eating avocado can help tell your brain that it’s full because your body is getting the healthy fats it needs,” says Fore.
TRY LETTUCE WRAPS INSTEAD OF BREAD
Bread is high in carbohydrates and too many of these aren’t good for anyone. Aim to eat fewer carbs in a day by swapping out bread for lettuce wraps. Lettuce wraps have less calories and count toward your daily serving of vegetables.
SWAP GROUND BEEF FOR GROUND TURKEY
Ground Turkey is healthier than ground beef and has proven health benefits. Select a lean turkey, low in fat, so your saturated fat intake is less. This will be helpful in the long run because you’re limiting the amount of grease you are cooking with and consuming.
SWAP POTATO CHIPS FOR KALE OR NORI/SEAWEED CHIPS
Sometimes you just need a snack during the day. Instead of reaching for the bag of potato chips, go for kale or seaweed chips. You’ll still get the crunchy and salty flavoring as you would in regular chips, but instead, you’re benefiting from eating various vitamins and minerals.
SUBSTITUTE NUTS FOR BACON BITS OR CROUTONS
Instead of topping your salad off with bacon bits or croutons, switch it up by choosing your favorite nuts and sprinkling them over your salad. You’ll still get the crunch as you would with bacon or croutons, but instead of eating empty calories, you’re nourishing your body with healthy nutrients.
DRINK LOW-FAT, SKIM MILK INSTEAD OF WHOLE MILK
Whole milk is full of fats. While some fat is healthy, it’s not good to receive your daily serving of fat in one drink. Switch to low-fat, skim milk so you limit the consumption of fats in your milk. If needed, start by moving to 2% milk and then work your way down to skim milk.
Swapping foods can seem overwhelming, but instead of looking at it as a chore, “think of finding healthy foods to swap with no-so-healthy foods as a game. Get creative with different options and try new recipes,” adds Fore.