Dieting is hard, especially when you love gorging on processed, sugary foods. However, in order to choose a healthy lifestyle, you need to swap unhealthy foods with healthier alternatives. Making food swaps is the first step toward healthier well-being.
Rules for dieting are frustrating. You cannot satisfy the cravings for your favourite junk food. However, just by making simple swaps and tweaks, you won’t have to give up on your favourite ice cream, paninis or cheeseburgers! Doing this will also enable you to eat what you want when you want it. How is that even possible?
Are open-faced sandwiches the answer? How does a corn tortilla make a difference without compromising taste? Is boiling food better than frying them?
Today we will be talking about food swaps that’ll kickstart your journey to a happier and healthier life!
1. Sweeten With Cinnamon Not Sugar
Starting off with one of the most obvious steps any diet requires you to implement. Cutting down on sugar. But what about those sudden sweet cravings? Cinnamon has a hint of sweetness to it which can trick your brain into thinking you are having something sweet and that intense craving will be successfully managed. Sprinkle some cinnamon on porridge or sweet oats for a healthier alternative to sugar.
2. Choose Fresh Fruit Over Dehydrated
Dehydrated fruit is healthy. It’s said to contain as many nutrients as whole fresh fruit. However, if calorie-cutting is your aim then dehydrated fruit should be skipped.
When fruit is dried, the vitamin C is reduced to nothing and the concentration of sugar increases. This means if you eat dried fruit regularly you may be increasing your calorie intake under the pretext of healthy eating.
3. Sip Seltzer Not Soda
Did you know that a glass of seltzer water with a drop of the lemon wedge is zero calories while a can of coke contains 140 calories? If you have been thinking about making the switch to healthy eating, soda is another thing you need to quit. Making the switch to seltzer water will ease up this process and satisfy the cravings for drinking soda.
4. Swap White Pasta For Whole Wheat
Regular white pasta is something you must steer clear of. Stripped of nutrients and made from refined carbs, it adds some serious calories per serving. On the other hand, making the switch to whole wheat pasta will prove to be a much more nutritious option. As opposed to white pasta, it contains complex carbs, fibre, protein, zinc and iron.
5. Choose Cauli Rice Over White Rice
In recent times, cauli rice has gained some serious popularity. It has given some stiff competition to regular white rice and for all the right reasons. If you’re looking for healthier alternatives for rice then cauli rice is the way to go! While white rice contains as many as 210 calories cauli rice contains just 20 calories. Rather than adding unnecessary calories and carbs, it will add potassium, fibre and calcium along with other nutrients.
6. Go For Greek Yogurt Instead Of Low Fat
It’s crazy to think that just 15 years earlier not a lot of Americans knew about greek yogurt. Today, it’s topping the charts as a much healthier alternative to regular yogurt. Being strained thoroughly it contains fewer carbs and sugar while being high in protein and healthy fats. Eating it regularly also keeps you fuller for much longer which makes you automatically cut back on unhealthy snacking.
7. Zoodles Over Noodles
One cup of spiralized zucchini noodles or zoodles contains less than 40 calories while the same amount of regular noodles is packed with 200 calories. Zoodles are much healthier than regular noodles. This doesn’t mean you have to completely stop eating pasta or spaghetti noodles. But in order for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle, spiralizing veggies pack some serious nutritional punch without the calories.
8. Boil Or Poach Eggs Instead Of Frying Them
Boiling and poaching are two low-calorie cooking methods. This method doesn’t add any extra fat or calories ensuring that you get a whole meal high in nutrients. Eggs are a superfood due to the presence of numerous essential vitamins and minerals. However, when not cooked right, they lose their nutritional content. While a hard-boiled egg contains less than 80 calories, the same egg’s calorie content will increase to around 100 when fried up.
9. Eat Whole Fruit Instead Of Juice
Contrary to popular belief fruit juice is more harmful even when it is freshly squeezed right in front of you. When the juice is extracted from the fruit it leaves behind healthy dietary fibre which is essential for the body to maintain a healthy digestive system. It can also wreak havoc on blood sugar levels as they are highly concentrated with sugar, resulting in headaches and fatigue.
10. Spread Mashed Berries And Not Regular Jams On Bread
It is not a surprise that jams and jellies are high in sugar. Eating too much of these leads to weight gain, heart disease and cavities. Making the switch to mashed berries as a spread will offer not only limited calories but also the goodness of natural antioxidants and nutrients which the store-bought jams normally lack.
11. Eat Grilled Chicken Breast Instead Of Breaded Chicken Tenders
Fried chicken tenders are the favourite cheat meal for literally everyone. However, these breaded and deep-fried foods have zero nutritional value. They contain as much as 500 calories per serving and swapping them with grilled chicken breast is an excellent way to get a variety of vitamins, minerals, iron, calcium and zinc. Simple and versatile to prepare they make for a great swap, especially for their zero fat and calorie content.
12. Drink Chocolate Milk Instead Of Chocolate Milkshake
Chocolate milk is made with cow’s milk, cocoa and sweeteners of your choice. It does contain some amount of calories but not as much as a chocolate milkshake. These kinds of milk are packed with the goodness of protein, calcium and vitamin D. Not to mention milkshakes are loaded with unhealthy amounts of calories, fat, sugar and carbohydrates that increase weight.
13. Choose The Right Pizza Crust
If you love gorging on pizza during cheat days then instead of going all out and feeling guilty the next day, you can make the smart choice of the right pizza crust. Making the switch to low-calorie crusts made out of ingredients like almond or coconut flour or hopping on the current trend of cauliflower crust can make a huge difference in your weight loss journey.
14. Swap Regular Chips With Veggies And Dips
Regular chips contain insane amounts of salt and preservatives making them one of the first things to stop if you are following a weight loss diet. Making the switch to the healthier version of veggies and dips makes for a great way of cutting back on carbs while adding some serious nutritional value to your meals. This is also a great way of keeping away from unhealthy snacks.
15. Satisfy Sweet Tooth With Frozen Grapes Rather Than Ice Lollies
If your sweet tooth is standing in your way of achieving your ideal weight then it’s time for you to get creative! If ice lollies are your weakness or if you are just looking for a healthier way to beat the summer heat, then frozen grapes are the way to go. These nature candies are packed with nutrients, especially vitamin C and K. Popping a couple of them every now and then is a healthier option than indulging in ice lollies.
16. Prepare Red Sauce Pasta Not White Sauce
White creamy pasta is made with tons of unhealthy ingredients like flour, salt, cheese, heavy cream and butter. Just a serving of white sauce contains loads of cholesterol and unhealthy fats because of which the calorie count shoots up to 400.
Making the switch to red sauce or tomato-based sauce ensures you get a good amount of vitamin C that boosts the immune system and fights against several chronic diseases. Being loaded with veggies and tomatoes, their calorie content remains between 150 to 200.
17. Go For Merlot Over Margarita During Happy Hours
Merlot is one of the most common types of red wine just like pinot noir and shiraz. Apart from being rich in antioxidants, it can lower cholesterol levels and regulate heart health as well. All this with less than 90 calories. On the other hand, a margarita contains 200 calories. If you are cutting back on calories then choosing merlot over pitchers of margaritas will be a great way of enjoying happy hour while sticking to your diet.
18. Marinate Meats In Mustard Not BBQ Sauce
BBQ sauce is one of the most popular sauces for marinades or enjoyed as dips. It adds a wholesome flavour and texture to the meat. However, due to their high-calorie content and distinctive sweet and artificial tangy flavour, they are not a great option for weight loss.
Upgrading your marinade choice to mustard will aid in weight loss by speeding up metabolism and improving digestion. They not only make for great marinades but also for awesome salad dressings and topping for deviled eggs.
19. Ditch White Bread For Rye
White bread is prepared using large quantities of flour which is rather unhealthy, fattening and harmful in general. Despite being widely popular it has zero nutritional value while containing gross amounts of calories and carbs. Rye bread is a much healthier alternative to regular white bread and has been linked with several potential health benefits. These include weight loss, better digestion, improved blood pressure and controlled blood sugar.
20. Choose Dark Chocolate Over Milk Chocolate
Dark chocolate is packed with the goodness of 50 to 90% cocoa solids, cocoa butter and sugar. On the other hand, milk chocolate contains just 10 to 15% of cocoa solids, some form of sugar, unhealthy fats, artificial flavourings and many other ingredients that have no nutritional value.
Dark chocolate has several health benefits apart from just being a great weight-loss snack. Some of them include lowered blood pressure, reduced risk of developing heart disease and a powerful source of antioxidants. Remember not to overindulge as it may cause weight gain and all your efforts would go to waste.