Ever heard someone say that "heathy eating is too hard"? Guess what, with some quick swaps, you can cut the calories, increase the nutrients and make your healthiest meal yet!
Eating healthy doesn't have to be daunting... and it definitely doesn't mean you'll be eating salads and smoothies all days long. If you're not sure where to start, we got you!
Check out these 14 food swaps that you can do to make healthy eating, easy:
1. Use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil
Coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides, which are believed to aid in weight loss and brain function. Vegetable oil, on the other hand is high in toxic trans fats which promote the production of free radicals.
2. Get all natural nut butters instead of regular Kraft or Jif
Nuts are actually good for you (just portion them!). But certain nut butter brands actually add salt, sugar, and other preservatives. Check the label to make sure that there are only nuts.
3. Choose regular fat, organic milk over skimmed traditional milk
When foods that are naturally meant to be high in fat are sold as "skim" or "low-fat", it likely means the fat was just replaced for sugar. NEWSFLASH: Many fats (find out which ones here, here, and here) are actually good for you!
4. No dairy for you? Opt for unsweetened nut or coconut milk instead of sweetened
First, cutting out dairy is great, especially if you have joint issues, or experience other inflammatory problems like acne, eczema, or digestive problems.
Second, choosing unsweetened anything, should always be your way to go, especially with non-dairy milk alternatives. You'll be cutting your calories in half (or more).
5. Choose quinoa over white rice
Quinoa is a whole protein (meaning it gives you all the essential amino acids you need), while white rice... well, it usually just gives you a blood sugar spike, then a crash, leaving you reaching for your next carb-fix.
6. Grab a spaghetti squash rather than a box of dry spaghetti noodles
Boxed and dry pasta will have quite a few more preservatives than using fresh-from-home pasta, but ain't nobody got time for that.
Want a gluten and carb-free alternative? Pick up a spaghetti squash, and throw it in the oven, whole, for 30 minutes. Take it out and cut it in half. If it's still not ready, turn in face-down and put it back in for 10-20 minutes.
7. Need your pasta fix? Try chickpea or lentil pasta instead of white or whole wheat pasta
Another carb free option if you REALLY just want the pasta. With pea/bean pastas, you'll get more protein, and more fibre than plain white pasta.
8. Always eat the actual fruit instead of drinking the juice
If you're going for the juice (even the organic, cold-pressed variety), you're basically drinking sugar, and will feel the same kind of blood sugar spike and crash as if you drank a pop.
When you opt for the whole fruit, you'll also get the fibre that comes with it, meaning you'll digest it slower, and you'll have less of a crash later.
9. Buy corn tortillas over flour tortillas
Corn tortillas are higher in fibre and magnesium, but lower in sugar. Plus, they taste way better. Taco 'bout an easy choice!
10. Dark chocolate (the darker the better), instead of milk chocolate
Dark chocolate is higher in antioxidants, has less sugar, and is great for those dealing with cholesterol issues as it has a the "good fats" that can help reduce cholesterol levels.
If you can, aim for 95% dark chocolate for the least amount of sugar.
11. Natural Greek or Skyre yogurt over low fat, or plain yogurt
If you want a filling breakfast, opt for Greek or Skyre yogurt rather than plain, or low-fat yogurts, which can be higher in sugar.
General rule? Make sure you always choose unflavoured/natural.
12. Edamame beans instead of nuts
If you want a healthy, low calorie snack, edamame beans are a nutritious alternative. These are a great source of plant-based protein, and are lower in fats than nuts.
13. Unsweetened, shredded coconut or ground flax seeds instead of breadcrumbs
Not only are coconuts and ground flax a gluten-free alternative, they're also extra high in fibre, giving your digestive system a little extra love.
Try breading homemade chicken fingers, or zucchini fries!
14. Unsweetened applesauce rather than sugar
Using unsweetened applesauce is an awesome egg/sugar substitute when baking. Adding that hint of sweetness, it also gives you a boost in fibre.