We all have our go-to comfort foods. Maybe it’s a nice bowl of pasta, a rich piece of chocolate, a slice of pizza, a warm slice of bread, or a bag of potato chips. Maybe it’s all of those! To be honest, we all have our vices. However, in an effort to eat healthier, you might be wondering how to start making some changes in your diet.
Change can be daunting. This is especially true when we think of all the things we’re already juggling. Sometimes, we are afraid to break routine because we think everything will come crashing down on us if we do.
Making dietary changes doesn’t need to be a huge undertaking. It’s really as simple as swapping one item for another. It’s a conscious choice to pick an item that is more nutritious over one that is less. That’s exactly what we’re going to help you do today! Here are five simple food swaps for healthy eating. Now, don’t feel like you have to make all of these changes today. Pick one for this week and see how simple it really is!
1. Swap White Rice for Brown Rice.
Swapping white rice for brown rice is really one of the simplest changes you can make. The taste is very similar, and there really isn’t a big cost difference. What are the benefits? In addition to having a higher fiber content, brown rice contains more minerals. Just one cup of brown rice satisfies 80% of your body’s daily requirement of manganese, a mineral that your nervous system needs. Choose brown rice: your digestive system and your nerves will thank you.
2. Try Quinoa Pasta Instead of White Flour Pasta.
“Semolina flour is good, right?” Nope. That’s just a fancy way of saying “white flour.” Choose alternative forms of pasta; you’ll gain more nutrition and won’t irritate your digestive system. Pasta made from quinoa is a great transition for the pasta lover. Quinoa pasta contains a complete protein. It is also high in fiber, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.
3. Go Sweet With Your Potatoes.
You don’t have to give up your potato obsession after all. White potatoes have their place. However, swapping them out for sweet potatoes every now and then will raise your vitamin B6 levels, your iron levels, and your calcium levels. (Sweet potatoes have nearly twice as much calcium as their white counterparts.)
4. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth With Stevia or Honey.
Some people just can’t live without a few teaspoons of sugar in their morning coffee. If you’re one of them, switching to a natural sweetener is easier than you think. The ultimate goal is to train your taste buds to want less sugar. While you’re doing that, though, it’s better for your body to consume more natural sugars. Stevia is an herb that is up to 10 times sweeter than table sugar, so you can use it sparingly. It also doesn’t have the calorie content that sugar does, so it may aid in weight loss.
Honey is an even better substitution. It is the only sweetener that has health benefits. Honey can assist in reducing allergies, healing the gut, and fighting infections.
Chances are good that your favorite coffee spot offers at least one or two healthy sugar alternatives. Instead of reaching for the sugar packets, look around and make a healthier choice.
5. So Long, Soda.
This is a big one. Nearly half of all Americans drink soda. Sure, we know it’s bad for us. We know it’s high in sugar, caffeine, and chemicals. “At least I get diet soda”, you may tell yourself. Oh, you did not just say that! Diet soda consumption is on the rise, but it’s not doing your health or your waistline any favors. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda mess with your metabolism and cause you to eat more. Not only that, but the body is not made to process artificial sweeteners. This means increased risk of cell damage.
What do you do now that you’re hooked on diet soda? As always, the objective should be to eliminate your craving for sugars and soda altogether. You may start by substituting soda with sparkling fruit juice. Yes, there is still a good amount of sugar in juices. However, they’re more natural and slightly less sweet than soda. Try sparkling fruit juice (or juice mixed with seltzer water) for a few weeks. Then, give sparkling water a shot. Before you know it, you will have weaned yourself off soda entirely and you won’t think of drinking anything but pure, good-for-you water.
There you have it … five food swaps for healthy eating. Which food swap will you try this week? Could you use a little more motivation or one-on-one help? We’ve got your back. Get in touch with us today to schedule your free, no-obligation nutritional consultation! We’ll help you take those small steps on the path to a healthier you!