About foods to swap for better health
We all know the most obvious “food swaps” to do in order to improve our health. For example, eliminating carbonated beverages (i.e. soft drinks) and swapping it out for water, 100% fruit juice, or decaffeinated beverages is one of the “no brainers” of the modern dietary world. However, there are some less obvious swaps that can benefit us tremendously.
Before taking a look at these swaps, let’s just consider precisely why they would be so beneficial. For example, what is the trade off for the swap? For one thing, you are swapping out a less healthy food and not your entire diet. So, the trade off for the swap is that you are not struggling with the idea of giving up your entire way of eating only upgrading to a few optimal ingredients.
With that in mind you can then take a broader view of your eating habits and see where things harmful to the body can be eliminated or reduced via “swapping” techniques. The example above of the soft drink swap is an ideal one because it showed that you didn’t have to actually give up a beverage “treat” but just the one that was laden with all of the sugar, empty calories, and sodium.
Instead of soft drinks you could swap out your daily servings with a few glasses of water, a few herbal tea drinks (unsweetened), and a glass of whole fruit juice. This adds variety and immediately improves health.
What else can you do?
Let’s consider our top swaps below:
Let’s not move away from this one just yet. We want to point you towards a few other beneficial beverage swaps. They include eliminating all caffeinated beverages and replacing with decaf (and unsweetened) versions. We would say that you can move from soft drinks to sparkling water if you want that “zing” and you might even infuse it with some fruit or a splash of unsweetened fruit juice. Get rid of alcohol altogether as it is very dehydrating and swap your evening beer or wine with herbal tea, decaf coffee, or a mulled drink using fruit juice, spices, and herbs.
White potatoes are okay, but the orange flesh of sweet potatoes is an even better option. If you are a fan of French Fries try to remember that this is not a good serving of potato. It is okay as the occasional treat, but it cannot count as a reasonable serving of carbohydrate. It is loaded with saturated fat and can be a wildly unhealthy way to ingest tubers. Instead, try making your own baked sweet potato fries. This gives you a whopping amount of vitamin C and B6 as well as beta-carotene. Use sweets for your potato salad recipes as well, and see if you enjoy them as your new mashed potato option too!
Do you use bottle dressings? What about mayonnaise? Are you someone who enjoys a dollop of sour cream on a baked potato? Any of these added fats can be erased from your diet (and waist line) by swapping them with far more dynamic foods. We would say that any time you think of reaching for the mayo to reach instead for some hummus, Greek yogurt, or a ripe avocado. The same goes for sour cream. When it is that bottle dressing, a splash of olive oil and the juice of a lemon often make a much more satisfying condiment.
Once each week, try to swap out quinoa for any grains you eat that day. Sprinkle a bit of chia atop and you have an amazing combination that you may find yourself craving over and over.
See how simple it is. Give a few of these swaps a try this week and feel the difference!
If you have questions about foods to swap for better health, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a dietitian and nutritionist.
Toned and Fit. “5 Simple Food Swaps for Better Health.” Click here