Tag Archives: healthy choices

Four simple food swaps that are easier than a menu makeover

Image result for healthy foodDiets don’t work. Repeat: Diets don’t work.

When you follow crazy fads or try to impose crazy restrictions on your food, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. And be honest – you know that’s true! Otherwise, you’d have stuck with the grapefruit diet or you’d still be eating cabbage soup.

But you know what else is equally as daunting? Immediately changing your entire diet to a healthier one.

So rather than going full-on low-carb or hopping into the Whole 30 method, a much more manageable approach is to start slow and swap. This way, you don’t lose any of your favorite foods, and you’ll be far more likely to make even more swaps as you get the hang of things.

Here’s our list of the simplest swaps to make for the new year.

Swap 1: Whole Grain for White

You don’t have to drop the gluten in order to be healthy, but you can change out your nutrition-free white bread for a heartier, whole-grain version and still enjoy your carbs.

“Whole-grain bread provides more essential nutrients and more health benefits than white bread because it is less refined and still contains the nutrient-rich bran and germ, both of which are removed when making white flour,” says Live Strong.

You’ll adjust to the flavor quicker than you think, and still be able to enjoy sandwiches and toast like always.

And there are so many versions of whole grain bread that have things like flax seed and sprouted wheat that add even more nutritional value to your diet.

Swap 2: Veggies for Chips

This might sound ridiculous – replacing your usual tortilla chips or crackers for cut veggies – but we promise, it works.

Chips and crackers can add a ton of sodium and saturated fat to your diet, and when you add your favorite dip to the mix, it can happen so quickly!

But rather than cut out your crunchy snack altogether, swapping the carbs for some veg has double benefits: You still get to enjoy hummus, salsa, even a cheese dip, while eating a serving or two of veggies that you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Try English cucumbers (the kind in the wrapper), baby carrots, fresh green beans and bell pepper. This means satisfied cravings with tons of fiber and other nutrients. Win-win.

Swap 3: Non-Meat for Meat

Stay with us – we’re not saying you need to become a vegetarian overnight, but every once in a while, it can be really good for you.

And don’t think you have to eat soy alternatives or weird ingredients you can’t pronounce. A simple beans-instead-of-beef swap can make taco night super filling and healthy. Or some simple veggie burgers that come together in a snap with ingredients like sunflower seeds and sweet potatoes make a veggie option much tastier.

This will not only reduce your fat and sodium intake from beef, it’ll give you that extra boost of nutrients that plant-based proteins offer.

Swap 4: Fruit for Dessert

Don’t freak out just yet. We don’t mean you should be eating apples instead of cookies, but there are desserts out there that aren’t completely void of nutritional benefits.

Banana-coconut “nice cream” is a silky sweet alternative to your favorite dairy treat, and black bean brownies are so decadent and chocolatey, you won’t even believe they’re flour-free.

And if all else fails, the classic strawberries with whipped cream route is always a hit.

No matter what you swap or how successful you are, don’t stop trying! Every good decision you make should remind you that you care about yourself and the health of your family, so keep fighting the good fight.

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Four simple swaps to eat healthier

Healthy choices can be as simple as a few food swaps.

Eating healthy doesn’t mean giving up your favorite things.

Eating healthy is really good for your gut. In fact, it’s good for just about every part of your body. But you know what else it is? Difficult. It can be much easier to eat crappy food since it’s so convenient. And life can be too busy to make healthy choices all the time.

But eating healthy doesn’t have to be super complicated. We came up with a few simple swaps you can make to have a healthier day without much effort.

Herbs > Salt

Salt can make you dehydrated, which can take its toll on your digestion. And while a bit of salt can be good, generally, you want to limit your salt intake.

But you can still add plenty of flavor to your food. Spices and fresh or dried herbs are a great way to add some kick and freshness to your meal without the negative effects of salt. Try a sprinkle of dried oregano on Italian food, some fresh cilantro on taco night, or a teaspoon of garlic powder and black pepper to your veggies.

Whole Grains > White Bread

Simple carbohydrates can clump up your tummy. But rather than give up bread and pasta, make the switch to whole grains. You want to look for ingredients that actually have the word “whole” in them so you know you’re getting the real thing.

Summer can be hard with cooking out and barbecues. Bring whole wheat English muffins to replace your hamburger bun and you’ll save calories and get more fiber. (For even more of a nutritional boost, choose a black bean or turkey burger instead of beef.)

Dark Leafy Greens > Iceberg Lettuce

Salads are a great way to get lots of veggies. And, even eating your salad last can help move your food through your system. But the type you eat is also important. Iceberg lettuce is really low in nutritional value, but the switch is easy.

For a similar crunch and texture, try swapping for romaine. It’s full of Vitamin A and has more fiber than iceberg. And it’s even more flavorful. We promise you won’t notice the difference!

If you want to try something even more interesting, use shredded cabbage or kale, or even some baby spinach. All of these are much more nutritious and better for digestion than iceberg.

Vinaigrette > Bottled Salad Dressing

And while we’re talking about salads, another easy swap is that bottled dressing. Most varieties have MSG, sugar and other preservatives that aren’t so good for you. But a simple vinaigrette is easier to make than you might think.

Try fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil. Put them all in a mason jar and shake it up. You’ve got a super tasty dressing that’s light, versatile and lasts for quite a while.

To change it up, you can add fresh garlic, red pepper flakes, or some red wine vinegar. Get even more ideas for different and interesting vinaigrettes.

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Three ways to stay healthy this holiday weekend

fruit-for-the-fourth-of-july

Staying healthy during summer parties can be tough.

The fourth of July is the quintessential summer holiday here in the U.S. Sun, fireworks and time with family and friends all add up to one thing: lots of good food.

The grills are plentiful and mayo-based salads runneth over on Independence Day. So how can you stay on track and not overindulge this weekend? Here are a few tips to help you out.

Hit the fruits and veggies first

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: we need to eat more fruits and veggies. But the one thing you can do to put the odds in your favor is to load your plate with those items first.

In one study, researchers “worked with preschoolers and found that if you feed them generous amounts of vegetables — in this case raw carrots — as their first course, they will eat more of them,” reports the Chicago Tribune.

We realize this was researched for children, but the same concept applies to adults. Have you ever noticed that you serve yourself the most of whatever you get to first? If you fill your plate with salads and the fruit bowl, maybe you’ll only have room for one hot dog instead of two.

Set yourself up for success

Heading to a barbecue? Eat something first. Think about the last time you went grocery shopping on an empty stomach and came home with a bag of chips and some cookies. That same concept applies when you’re heading out. Eat a snack or small meal that’s high in protein and fiber. Greek yogurt with berries or a couple tablespoons of hummus with carrots will help you make better decisions at the party.

And don’t depend on the hosts to have a healthy option. If you know you’ll be tempted by the potato salad and ice cream, bring your favorite lighter dish that you also can’t resist. You’ll be able to nip your cravings in the bud by filling up on what you know to be a healthy option.

Think before you drink

Lots of holiday parties involve alcohol. And while it’s fine to indulge in a few brewskies, it’s really important to alternate with water or iced tea. This has double benefits: it keeps your inhibitions in check so you don’t end up eating the whole pan of brownies; and it prevents you from mistaking the feeling of dehydration for hunger

Most importantly, if you overdo it with the treats this weekend, don’t be too hard on yourself. Get back on track on Sunday.

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