24 Simple Food Swaps for Healthier Eating
Believe it or not, making healthy food choices is a lot easier than you think (and still tastes great, too). There are so many ways to make a simple swap of “this for that” and save on sugar, fat, calories, etc. Odds are, you may not even notice a difference in flavor or texture - but your body will thank you! Here are 25 easy food swaps you can make for a healthier diet.
Cauliflower rice for brown or white rice
One cup of cauliflower rice has 25 calories, versus the 218 calories in one cup of brown rice. If you’re one who likes to eat volume (aka me), this is the swap for you! Tip: combine steamed cauliflower rice with cooked fajita peppers, fresh avocado, and grilled chicken for a southwestern-style entree.
Zucchini noodles for regular noodles
Similar to cauliflower rice, swapping zucchini noodles for regular noodles are a great way to reduce the carb load of your meal. Use a vegetable spiralizer to create the perfect pasta-like dish (with nearly 1/7 of the calories).
Greek yogurt for sour cream
Plain greek yogurt has a similar flavor and texture of sour cream, but is loaded with protein and can be bought fat-free. Tip: try adding a spoonful of plain greek yogurt to top off your fajita-style tacos.
Avocado for mayonnaise
Avocados are loaded with healthy fats and fiber and have a similar texture to mayonnaise when smoothed to a spread. Tip: build the perfect sandwich by spreading avocado on one slice of whole wheat bread and topping with lean turkey, tomatoes, and spinach
Homemade strawberry sorbet for ice cream
Don’t we all have a bit of a sweet tooth? If you’re one to crave ice cream by the pint (me), try making a fruit-only dessert by pureeing frozen strawberries (or any other fruit you like). Tip: top your sorbet with fat-free vanilla greek yogurt if you’re looking for a more filling dessert with more protein.
Hummus for cheese dips
Hummus makes a great appetizer dish and is a great swap for the platter of chips and queso you’ll usually find at the center of the table. Hummus is usually made from chickpeas, olive oil, and an assortment of spices/other veggies, making it a much healthier choice. Tip: serve your favorite flavor of hummus with a variety of sliced veggies - think zucchini spears, bell peppers, carrot chips, and broccoli.
Carrot chips for potato chips
Carrot chips are one of my favorite snacks, because they taste amazing paired with Laughing Cow cheese wedges, hummus, or even salsa. Tip: find the chips that are cut crinkle-style - you’ll barely notice a difference from bagged potato chips!
Sweet potatoes for white potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a dark, rich orange color and contain high levels of beta-carotene, which support healthy skin, a strong immune system, and good eyesight. Tip: top a baked sweet potato with cinnamon and stevia for a sweet side dish.
Cauliflower crust for pizza crust
Cauliflower pizza crust can help you save BIG time on carbs and calories. You can either make your cauliflower crust from scratch at home or purchase a frozen crust that has been pre-made from the store. Tip: build a veggie loaded mediterranean pizza by topping your crust with spinach, cherry tomatoes, arugula, basil, bell peppers, black olives, feta cheese, and grilled chicken.
Spinach and kale for iceberg lettuce
Spinach and kale are a rich, dark green color, compared to the light green and white color of iceberg lettuce. Spinach and kale are great sources of carotenoids, vitamin C, folic acid, and iron, and their darker colors represent a higher concentration of nutrients. Tip: create a tasty summer salad by topping fresh spinach and kale with chopped strawberries, blueberries, sliced almonds, and feta cheese.
Oatmeal for cereal
Okay, so I know everyone loves a good bowl of cocoa pebbles (including me), but a lot of times boxed cereals are extremely high in sugar. To dodge starting your day on a crash-and-burn cycle from a cereal-induced sugar high, swap boxed cereal for old-fashioned rolled oats. Now, that’s not to say you can’t still have chocolate: try adding 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon of stevia, 1 tablespoon natural, creamy peanut butter and ½ cup of almond milk to ½ cup of old fashioned rolled oats.
Cinnamon for sugar
Cinnamon has been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you full and satisfied for a longer period of time. Instead of pouring sugar in your coffee tomorrow morning, try sprinkling a dash of cinnamon over the top to give yourself a hint of sweetness and loads of metabolism-boosting benefits.
Air popped popcorn for snack mixes
One easy way to save on carbs, sodium, and calories, is to make your own air-popped popcorn. If you’re on the go and don’t have time to make your own, try a bag of Skinny Pop - they have tons of different flavors and their ingredient list is super clean.
Black coffee + unsweetened almond milk for a latte
I used to think I could NEVER drink black coffee - but now I can’t imagine drinking it any other way! If you’re trying to wean yourself off of your daily whole milk latte from Starbs, try starting by adding a dash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk to a cup of black coffee for a creamy, sweet beverage without all the calories, sugar, and fat of a traditional latte.
Unsweetened almond milk for whole milk
Speaking of almond milk… Not only is it 35 calories per cup, the unsweetened version (which I recommend) only has one gram of sugar per serving, versus the seven grams that can be in one cup of skim milk. If you’re looking for a dairy-free milk replacement, almond milk is a great option to maintain a delicious flavor, boost of calcium, and creamy texture.
Quest Bar for a candy bar
We all know my obsession with Quest Bars is real. Like, really real. Like, “I eat at least one a day,” real. If you find yourself reaching for a candy bar or a cookie to satisfy a raging sweet tooth, try opting for a Quest Bar instead. They have around 20 grams of protein and less than three grams of sugar each, making them the perfect mid-morning snack or afternoon craving-crusher. Tip: try microwaving your favorite flavor for 20-30 seconds for a melted, cookie-like dessert.
Lettuce wrap for a bun
This is one of the simplest swaps you can make, and believe it or not, a burger on a lettuce wrap STILL tastes delicious! Tip: load a turkey burger with veggies by stuffing a lettuce leaf with tomatoes, bell peppers, and a hummus spread.
Turkey bacon for regular bacon
Yes, you CAN still have bacon! Turkey bacon is much leaner than pork bacon and has about 25 less calories per slice. Top a grilled chicken sandwich with turkey bacon and avocado for a BLT style meal.
Powdered peanut butter for peanut butter
If you’re a peanut butter lover that can easily put away half a jar without even realizing it (oops), try substituting half or all of your peanut butter spread with Betterbody Foods PBFit. Not only is it 90% less fat and ⅓ the calories, they have a chocolate flavor that is to die for.
Cacao nibs for chocolate chips
Cacao is cocoa in its most raw form, meaning it doesn’t have the sugar, butter, and cream added to it like chocolate would. Cacao nibs are slightly bitter, but provide a satisfying dark chocolate flavor and texture to any dessert. They are LOADED in fiber and have zero grams of sugar, making them the perfect superfood to snack on when you hit that mid-day slump. Tip: top nonfat vanilla greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon cacao nibs for a delicious snack or breakfast.
Ground almonds for breadcrumbs
You can make a delicious “breaded” chicken breast by coating chicken in egg whites and rolling it in ground almonds like you would breadcrumbs. The possibilities are endless with this swap! One of my favorites: spreading ground almonds over a freshly chopped salad for an extra crunch.
Protein shake for a milkshake
I am a BIG fan of this one. You can make a filling, sweet, and satisfying dessert by mixing one scoop of protein powder with one cup of ice cubes and half a cup of unsweetened almond milk. When blended for 5-7 minutes, whey protein creates a fluffy, creamy dessert that tastes just like a milkshake, but with far less sugar and fat.
Fruit infused water for soda
Soaking fresh or frozen fruit in a pitcher of water not only creates a flavored, refreshing drink, it also serves as a way for you to e3t an extra boost of antioxidants from the fruit itself. Tip: try adding fresh mint with cucumbers and blueberries for a cool, refreshing beverage.
Fruit puree for syrup
Looking for a healthy topping to finish off that stack of protein pancakes or a smoothie? Try blending fresh strawberries to a pureed syrup for a sweet drizzle. Tip: top your treat with cacao nibs for the ultimate breakfast or snack.
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