We live in a world where we are surrounded by tempting and unhealthy food choices. Sugar-laden treats and items loaded up with artificial additives may seem appealing to the palette, but they are nowhere near as good for the body. However, all is not lost as there are plenty of ways to improve your diet and general health and one of the best ways is by using simple food swaps to create a healthier lifestyle.
If you are looking for the very best ways to switch out an unhealthy or fattening food for a more body-boosting one, but aren’t quite sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. You will find amazingly good food swaps for many common dishes, such as pasta and sweet treats, as well as some great ideas for healthy drink options too.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to swap out absolutely everything in order to create a healthier diet. Start with one or two swaps, and if you absolutely cannot live without chocolate (that’s me) then that’s okay too.
Healthy eating isn’t about being perfect. It’s about making good decisions, and eating well, most of the time.
Zoodles Instead Of Noodles
If you have a spiralizer at home (like this spiralizer here), then making zoodles is a cinch. Noodles, especially the instant type, are nothing but empty calories and carbs and provide almost zero nutritional benefits for the body.
The perfect switch out for noodles are zoodles, or zucchini noodles. These take moments to prepare, minutes to cook and their delicate flavour makes them perfect for noodle soup dishes and stir-frys. A medium zucchini contains just 33 calories, whereas traditional instant noodles contain around 310. That’s a whopping 277 calories less in zoodles.
Miso Soup Instead Of Canned Vegetable Soup
Soup is a fantastic quick and easy meal for those in a hurry, but tinned or canned soup may not be as healthy for you as you would like to think … even if it does contain a few vegetables.
Miso soup is the perfect alternative to tinned soup and is as delicious as it is quick to make. A tin of vegetable soup contains an average of 190 calories, whereas a bowl of miso has just 88.
Miso also comes with a healthy dose of gut-friendly probiotics and plenty of nutritional benefits such as copper and vitamin K while saving you 102 calories.
Carob Instead Of Chocolate
Chocolate is a weakness that many people have (myself included), but it’s not all doom and gloom and you can still get your sweet fix. Of course, dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate, but carob is better for you than any of the types of chocolate.
Carob looks and tastes like chocolate, if not richer and deeper. It also contains ZERO caffeine or theobromine and is 3 times richer in calcium while being lower in fat and sugar content.
If you can’t live without chocolate in your life, and no substitute will do, then darker is better for you (and white chocolate contains no chocolate so there are zero health benefits to it).
Chicory Instead Of Coffee
For coffee lovers who may think there is no alternative to the mighty coffee bean, there is actually a pretty close substitute that offers up a distinctive coffee flavour, colour, and smell.
Roasted chicory root makes for an amazing cup of rich and delicious chicory coffee while providing none of the caffeine and plenty of nutrients and vitamins.
The average cup of chicory coffee contains pre-biotics known as inulin, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and aid in digestion. Then there are its antibacterial properties and its ability to reduce inflammation. Chicory is a fantastic healthy coffee swap-out.
Add Coconut Oil Instead Of Cream To Your Coffee
While both are clearly fats, coconut oil is loaded up with healthy, natural saturated fats, which help increase the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) while reducing the amount of bad cholesterol in the body (LDL). It also staves off hunger for longer, and helps to improve heart health.
Coconut oil is also great for its anti-inflammatory properties and will add a delicious velvety finish to your drink.
You could even opt for a ‘bulletproof’ coffee by using MCT oil (or coconut oil) and butter, blitzed with coffee in a blender. So good!
Brown Rice Instead Of White Rice
Rice is a staple food for more than half of the world’s population. However, when it comes to which is healthier, brown or white, brown rice comes out on top.
White rice has gone through a process which strips it of all its nutrition and health-boosting benefits, whereas brown rice retains much of its goodness. Brown rice contains more fibre and protein than white rice, and a lot more nutrients too.
White rice is also high on the GI index, which means that it converts to sugar in the body at a much faster rate leading to an insulin spike. Brown rice is classed as a low GI index food and will help keep you fuller for longer while limiting the impact on the blood sugar levels.
Stevia Instead Of Sugar (or any other sweetener for that matter)
Stevia is a natural sweetener, which comes from the stevia rebaudiana plant found in South America. Stevia is not the same as many other artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and poses fewer risks to health than other sugar alternatives on offer. There are zero calories in stevia and it is 400 times sweeter than sugar.
It also has the ability to suppress cravings, regulates hypertension, and can last for an average of 5 years on the shelf. Sugar, on the other hand, leads to a rise in blood glucose levels, cravings for food, and contains many more calories than required.
If you’re like me and cannot stand the taste of stevia (some people love it… it’s just not for me) alternatives like rice malt syrup or honey are far better than processed white sugar.
Frozen Yoghurt Instead Of Ice Cream
Yoghurt is full of healthy bacteria, which helps improve the general health of the individual. A great homemade sugar and fat-free frozen yoghurt dessert contain just 80 calories per serving and none of the artificial additives and ingredients of store-bought ice cream.
Low fat ice cream contains an average of 150 – 210 calories per serving, along with a hefty dose of sugar (because the tasty fat has been removed). This means that by eating homemade frozen yogurt, you can save an average of 70 – 140 calories each time.
Be aware that there IS a difference between homemade frozen yoghurt and store bought (check out the ingredients panel and see if you can pronounce the ingredients!!)
What Is The Bottom Line?
It is always a good idea to take care of your diet, after all, a healthy diet leads to a healthy body and better overall health levels. Substituting just a few simple ingredients for others which are better for your body can go a long way in ensuring that you’re nourishing your body in all the right ways.
It is all too easy to consume more processed food and potentially damaging artificial additives each day, mainly due to their abundance and cheap cost to manufacture. If you are looking at improving your health while getting in shape, then the above food swaps will really help you on your way.
Healthy doesn’t have to mean bland and boring, food is fun to experiment with and can broaden your horizon on all of the delicious alternatives out there. All it takes is a little experimenting and a willingness to try something different!