Healthy Food Swaps

Switch things up for more nutritious meals

BY MONIQUE HART

 

Let’s face it ladies: diets don’t work. Crazy food trends are mostly unsustainable (or are at least budget busters). And emerging information about processed foods is alarming. The good news is that you don’t have to follow the crowd or give in to hysteria. Trying a few easy food swaps can give you the nutrients you need … without turning things upside down.

coffee cup and cinnamon

Don’t Use: Sugar
Use: Cinnamon

Why: Cinnamon makes things seem sweeter, without the calories. Unlike sugar, it also helps reduce blood sugar levels.

Try: Add a touch of cinnamon to your morning coffee, and reduce the amount of sugar you add.


Don’t Use: Artificial Syrup
Use: Pure Maple Syrup

Why: Pure maple syrup boosts your immune system and is full of antioxidants, which fight signs of aging and reduce the risk of cancer.

Try: Add apples, almonds, and maple syrup to a bowl of oatmeal for a fun twist on a bland breakfast.


Don’t Use: Salt
Use: Lemon Juice

Why: While adding flavor to meals, lemon juice is a source of vitamin C and an alkaline food that can help balance your body’s pH.

Try: Roast broccoli, and season it with a squeeze of lemon juice.

sweetpotatoes

Don’t Use: Russet Potatoes
Use: Sweet Potatoes

Why: Sweet potatoes are one of nature’s best sources of beta-carotene and have essential anti-inflammatory properties.

Try: Bake sweet potatoes at 375º Fahrenheit until tender (45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size), and allow them to cool enough for handling. Scoop out the tender insides and mash with seasonings and olive oil.


Don’t Use: Milk Chocolate
Use: Dark Chocolate

Why: Dark chocolate is a hearthealthy treat that is full of antioxidants and can even help lower your blood pressure. It provides indulgence with benefits.

Try: Melt dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, and add almonds for a decadent treat that is packed with nutrients.


Don’t Use: Potato Chips
Use: Air-Popped Popcorn

Why: As a natural whole grain, popcorn provides filling fiber with a fraction of the calories.

Try: Grate Parmesan cheese over freshly popped popcorn to make it a special treat.


Don’t Use: Sour Cream
Use: Greek Yogurt

Why: Greek yogurt is lower in calories and packed with protein that will help stave off hunger.

Try: In your next casserole, replace sour cream with equal parts of Greek yogurt.



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