Although fries and potato chips are salty and delicious sides dishes we crave to eat with hamburgers and sandwiches, we’re well aware they aren’t doing much for us in the nutrient department. These nine food swaps are not only easy to make, but they’re also small steps to becoming a healthier you.
Number Nine: Lettuce Vs. Buns. At game day BBQs, hamburgers are usually at the top of the menu. To indulge and not be regretful as you try and make conscious food choices, swap the classic nutrient-sparse hamburger bun for lettuce wedges. Not only are you saving up to 100 calories or more, you’re also choosing the low-carb route.
Number Eight: Squash Vs. Pasta. Searching for a pasta dish that’s low in carbs, calories and contains no fat? For those on a weight loss journey or attempting to live a nutritious life, pick up a spaghetti squash on your next run to the grocery store. Either yellow or orange in color, this squash can be substituted for pasta and topped with any sauce of your choosing. Using a fork, poke holes into the flesh and cut the squash in half lengthwise. Place the halves on an olive oil-coated cookie sheet and into a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. When done baking, scoop the seeds out and use the same fork to scrape out your spaghetti!
Number Seven: Oatmeal Vs. Cereal. Although there are cereals containing healthy amounts of protein and are low in calories, oatmeal is a whole grain hot cereal that contains 16% of your dietary fiber, 5 grams of protein and only 1 gram of sugar. Low on the glycemic index and naturally healthy for you, opt for oatmeal over cereals that include additives and dozens of unhealthy processed ingredients.
Number Six: Popcorn Vs. Potato Chips. There’s nothing like snacking on a bag of crispy potato chips; however, there are alternatives that both satisfy your relentless sodium craving and taste equally as good. One bag of Lay’s potato chips packs in 15% of your daily fat value as well as 170mg of sodium, while two cups of Skinny Pop popcorn pack in eight percent of your daily fat value and only 24mg of sodium. Keep an individual-sized bag on you for a fiber-rich snack that won’t cause any dietary guilt.
Number Five: Brown Rice Vs. White Rice. White rice is known for its “empty calories,” as it’s low in hunger-suppressing fiber and refined of its essential nutrients. In creating your next rice bowl, choose brown rice for a meal higher in fiber, magnesium, and zinc – a nutrient that helps your immune system fight off viruses and harmful bacteria.
Number Four: Sweet Potato Fries Vs. French Fries. High in fiber and filled with antioxidants called carotenoids, the pigments that give sweet potatoes their color, sweet potato fries are wholesome and great for your body. Filled with vitamins B6, D and C, a sweet potato has fewer calories and carbohydrates than a white potato. Simply cut a sweet potato lengthwise into strips, coat them in olive oil and salt and pepper and roast them in the oven for 30 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Number Three: Almond Milk Vs. Cow’s Milk. Although cow’s milk provides many nutritional benefits to growing children like protein and calcium, almond milk is a great alternative for grown adults looking to reduce their overall calorie intake and monitoring their cholesterol levels. One cup of two percent milk has 122 calories and seven percent of your daily cholesterol, whereas one cup of Almond Breeze’s unsweetened almond milk has only 30 calories and no cholesterol. Swap cow’s milk for almond milk in your morning bowl of cereal, baking or in any other recipe that calls for milk.
Number Two: Whole Grain Bread Vs. White Bread. White bread is stripped of all of a grain’s parts that make it a healthy choice. Unrefined whole-grain bread is comprised of all the grain’s parts (bran, germ, and endosperm) and therefore, contains more nutrients, vitamins and fibers than white bread does. In making your next PB&J, swap the white bread for a 100% whole wheat or whole grain bread like Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread.
Number One: Pure Maple Syrup Vs. Sugar. In trying to live a more wholesome and sustainable life through dining, it’s important to stay away from refined food products like sugar. A wonderful alternative is pure maple syrup, a natural sweetener that is three times sweeter than processed sugar. Maple syrup also contains polyphenols (powerful antioxidants that help fight cancer), zinc and manganese, a mineral that that aids in metabolism as well as brain functioning. Top your next whole grain pancake stack with maple syrup instead of high fructose corn syrup, and use it as a sugar substitute in baking anything from banana bread to cupcakes.