15 Simple Food Swaps for a Healthier Lifestyle

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It’s hard for people to give up food they love cold turkey, so why not consider swapping it for something healthier?

1. Swap fruit juices for whole fruits

berries_colorful_raspberries_blueberries_blackberries_picWhen fruit is made into a juice, the fiber is lost, as well as the vitamins contained in the pith or skin. Fruit juices also tend to contain more sugar than their whole fruits counterparts.

2. Swap commercial dressings for homemade dressings, spices, and herbs

Commercial dressings tend to be heavily processed and contain added artificial ingredients without offering any significant nutritional value. Homemade dressings like extra virgin olive oil mixed with ginger and balsamic vinegar offer nutritional value to your diet. Spices and herbs such as turmeric and fenugreek can also flavor food while offering many health benefits.

3. Swap sugar for stevia

Overconsumption of sugar has been linked to many unhealthy ailments. Stevia has been shown, to date, to have none of the negative effects sugar has. Stevia may also increase insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation.

4. Swap sugar for cinnamon

While sugar has a negative impact on blood sugar control, cinnamon shows a positive impact. Cinnamon also offers numerous other health benefits.

5. Swap chocolate for dark chocolate

While milk chocolate offers very few health benefits, dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)  is rich in antioxidants called flavonols. Flavonols may help protect arteries and the prostate gland, as well as reduce inflammation and increase our feeling of well-being.

chocolate_dark_caca_nuts_sweet_bitter_healthy_nutrients_pic6. Swap soda for fruit flavored carbonated drinks

A can of soda can contain up to ten teaspoons of sugar. Diet soda contains artificial ingredients that may have a negative impact on your health. For a healthier fizzy drink, add fruit to carbonated water and leave to infuse overnight to provide a flavored alternative to sodas.

7. Swap baked potatoes for boiled potatoes

Boiled potatoes have a lower glycemic index than baked potatoes. There are times, however, when consuming high index foods is beneficial, like post workout for example.

8. Swap mashed potatoes for mashed cauliflower

Cauliflower contains several nutrients that help lower the risk of cancer and may help promote better health in general. Cauliflower is also lower in calories—beneficial if you’re following a fat loss plan.

9. Swap refined spaghetti for spaghetti squash

Refined spaghetti offers very little in terms of health promoting nutrients. Spaghetti squash offers a healthier, unrefined alternative. If you’re unable to make spaghetti squash, noodles made from buckwheat provide a healthier alternative to white or whole wheat spaghetti. Buckwheat contains more fiber and protein and also has higher levels of magnesium, a mineral commonly deficient in the diet.

10. Swap cow's milk for unsweetened almond, hemp, or coconut milk

Many people cannot tolerate the lactose present in cow's milk. A healthier alternative would be to substitute unsweetened almond, coconut or hemp milk. These milks tend to be tolerated better. Hemp milk has the added benefit of providing omega 3 fats commonly deficient in the modern diet.

couple_farmers_market_store_sell_produce_farm_pic11. Swap supermarket produce for local farmed produce

Local farmed produced tend to be more flavorsome, fresher, and nutrient rich. Supermarket produce may be frozen and sold at a later date which explains why some seasonal fruits can be purchased all year round.

12. Swap table salt for coarse salt such as Himalayan pink salt or blue Persian salt

Salt intake should be individualized. However, table salt tends to be heavily processed, losing much of its nutritional value in the process. Colored coarse salt tends to be less refined, therefore maintaining much of the nutritional value, such as the trace minerals salt has to offer.

13. Swap vegetable oils for hemp, coconut, or macadamia nut oils

General first impressions of vegetable oils are usually good as they can contain beneficial fats.  However, on closer inspection these oils tend to be heavily processed, which leads to the oil being damaged. The common diet generally contains a higher intake of omega 6 fats compared to omega 3 fats. The correct ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats is very important for optimal health. Overconsumption of vegetable fats can further increase the imbalance between omega 3 and 6 as vegetable fats are high in omega 6. Interestingly, hemp oil contains the correct ratio of omega 3 and 6 fats for optimal health.

Vegetable oils also have a low smoke point which means they can be damaged easily when cooking with high heats. Macadamia nut and coconut oils have higher smoke points meaning they can be heated to higher temperatures without damaging the oils.

14. Swap buying oils in clear bottles for oils in dark bottles

Oils are very sensitive to light; therefore oils stored in clear bottles can be easily damage. Better quality oils usually come in dark bottles to preserve the goodness of the oil as the oil is less likely to be damaged by the light. Always buy commercial oils in dark bottles for this reason.

raw_vegan_ice_cream_image15. Swap ice cream for banana ice cream.

Other than being unprocessed with no flavoring, preservatives, or additives, banana ice cream offers nutritional value from the bananas. Simply mash a banana and freeze to make banana ice cream.

Find the right nutrition for your body type!

Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Sunwarrior’s awesome expert writers do not replace doctors and don’t always cite studies, so do your research, as is wise. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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