When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle or trying to lose weight, all of the “rules” can tend to get a bit frustrating and overwhelming. No white flour, not too much salt, less carbs, no sweets, etc. Living a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t mean that you have to cut out the foods that you love. No sweets? Where’s the fun in that? Eating should always be enjoyable and it can be even when you’re trying to watch what you eat. All you have to do is implement some healthy ingredient swaps!
Small, simple swaps or tweaks to ingredients in your favorite meals can not only slash your calorie intake significantly but can also add some nutritional value to some of your favorite not so healthy meals. Here at fit-flavors this is what we do! We make your favorite dishes healthy by making swaps and using healthy, fresh ingredients without sacrificing flavor. Below are 7 healthy swaps you can try to implement to improve your health.
1. Swap breakfast cereal for oatmeal
Let's start with breakfast! Everyone can agree that mornings get hectic from time to time. Being in a rush can tempt you to pour a bowl of cereal because it’s quick. But often times breakfast cereals are high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in fiber and other nutrients that your body can benefit from at the start of the day. Try swapping your morning bowl of cereal for a bowl of oatmeal. Oats are one of the healthiest grains. They’re a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. They’re also naturally gluten free and have a low glycemic index, which will help you stay full longer.
Oatmeal has also been proven to aid in weight loss as well as lower blood sugar levels. So instead of going for the sugary cereal to start your day, try a more nutritious option and choose the oatmeal. You may be thinking that preparing oatmeal requires way more effort that pouring a bowl of cereal. To speed up the process try overnight oats, or buy your oats already prepared.
2. Swap fruit flavored yogurt for Greek yogurt with real fruit
Greek yogurt may have started out as a trend but it’s actually nutrient packed and possesses many health benefits. It is a great source of protein, probiotics, calcium, and potassium. Most fruit flavored yogurts are loaded with sugars and added colors instead of protein and real ingredients.
Greek yogurt can also be a good option for a treat after a workout. Not only will it keep you full and hold you over until your next meal, but the protein it contains can help repair your muscles after a tough workout. And good news vegetarians, Greek yogurt is also a great meat-free way to easily add more B-12 to your diet!
Greek yogurt is also a great ingredient swap because of its consistency and tart flavor. It is thicker than regular yogurt lending itself to other adaptations outside of breakfast. You can substitute it for sour cream on top of chili or baked potatoes, or you can substitute it for mayo on a sandwich...the possibilities are endless.
3. Swap regular pancakes with protein pancakes
Pancakes are always a yummy way to start the day but white flour offers little nutritional value. You can power up your pancakes by swapping white flour with other fiber rich flours such as oat flour and some protein powder for extra protein.
If you have time to make pancakes in the morning, great! If not, opt for premade protein pancakes made with healthy ingredients such as oats, protein powder, agave, and applesauce. You can also spice up your protein pancakes by adding some fresh fruit. Our Apple Cinnamon Protein Pancakes are packed with healthy ingredients for a quick and delicious breakfast on the go!
4. Swap regular noodles for vegetable noodles
Who doesn’t love a big bowl of pasta? Pasta is popular across many cultures and extremely versatile. Unfortunately, it’s also notoriously high in carbs which causes us to limit our pasta intake. It’s also not the best choice when following a low carb or gluten free diet. So if you’re a pasta lover but looking for something a little healthier, give vegetable noodles a try!
Vegetable noodles are not only a fresh and healthy alternative to pasta, but they’re a great way to increase vegetables in your diet. You can peel or spiralize vegetables such as carrots, spaghetti squash, parsnips, or zucchini into noodle like strands and use it in place of pasta. Add some meatballs, marinara sauce, pesto, or whatever your favorite ingredients and sauces are and enjoy a healthy guilt free pasta dish. We love zoodles around here. Meals like our Turkey Sage Meatballs and Turkey Bolognese are satisfying and you won’t even miss the extra carbs.
5. Swap flour tortillas for corn tortillas
Name one thing better than tacos. I mean, I’m sure there are a few things better than tacos, but all taco lovers will agree that nothing is better than tacos! Next time taco Tuesday rolls around try swapping your usual flour tortillas for corn tortillas.
Corn tortillas are high in fiber, whole grains, and magnesium. Fiber is important for digestion and heart health while magnesium is needed for strong bones, muscles, nerves, blood sugar, and energy levels. Corn tortillas are also gluten free and lower in fat and calories than flour tortillas.
6. Swap sugary sodas with sparkling water
Most sodas are loaded with caffeine, sugar, and empty calories that can cause damage to your teeth, kidneys, weight, and overall health over time. Sparkling water is a great alternative for soda drinkers who want to cut down or completely eliminate their daily soda intake but still get the satisfaction of a fizzy, bubbly drink.
Sparkling water can be found in a variety of flavors that mimic some of your favorite sodas. You can also experiment and add fresh fruit or a splash of fruit juice to enhance the flavor.
7. Swap your favorite sugary desserts for smoothies
Raise your hand if you have a sweet tooth. Ok, everyone put your hands down. When your sweet tooth activates it’s beyond tempting to satisfy it with your favorite dessert; strawberry shortcake, key lime pie, chocolaty peanut butter cups, etc. A lot of these popular desserts can be enjoyed without the overwhelming amount of sugar, fat, and calories. Try a smoothie instead!
Smoothies are a great way to get your sweet fix in a healthy way. A good smoothie is packed with vitamins and nutrients from fresh ingredients like fruits and vegetables. Smoothies can also be a good source of protein with added ingredients like good quality whey or plant based protein powder, oats, peanut butter, chia seeds, or flax seeds.
Smoothies are delicious and fairly easy to make, but if you don’t have the proper equipment or time consider doing research on smoothie places near you that use quality ingredients. Look for places like The Smoothie Bar, that use the highest quality ingredients to make some of your favorite flavors; Strawberry Shortcake, Key Lime Baby, and Butterfinger are just a few of our favs!
Bottom line, making healthy swaps for some of your everyday foods and drinks can be easy and just as delicious as the original. Choosing a few healthier ingredients can significantly improve your overall health and lay the foundation for the healthier lifestyle you’re trying to achieve.