You recently decided to take care of your body by eating and living healthier? One of the most important things to do so, is to incorporate more whole foods into your diet and cut out the foods which may not be so good for your body.
Don't fear, those food swaps don't have to be a big, tremendous change. By doing those swaps you allow yourself to add more nutrient-dense foods and variety to your current food choices. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Indeed, it is.
Here are extremely easy and effortless food swaps you can do now.
1. Swap mayonnaise for avocado
Who doesn't love a big spoon of mayonnaise on top of every sandwich or fries? Sadly, one tablespoon of our beloved mayonnaise contains about 90 calories and a lot of saturated fats (not unhealthy on their own, but you want to watch your overall intake and fat ratios).
Instead, try to spread a mashed avocado on your sandwich as the creamy base or try it for creamy dips. One tablespoon only contains 23 calories and it's loaded with good fats.
I promise, it's really delicious!
2. Swap cereal for self made granola
I know it's super easy to grab the cereal package and throw some fruit loops in your bowl. But most store-bought breakfast cereals are heavily processed and loaded with refined sugar.
Don't get fooled by labels such as "made from whole grains" or "low in sugar/fat". Often times these claims are just useless and fool you into thinking you're doing good to your body.
Make your own simple and healthier breakfast cereal in just a few minutes.
You just need:
- 200g rolled oats
- 100g raw nuts and/or seeds (perfect are almonds!)
- 1 tsp sea salt (if you're using standard table salt, use 3/4 tsp)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Sprinkles of coconut oil
- Honey for sweetness (as desired)
- 60g dried fruit (cranberries are SO good)
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking tray with a baking sheet. In a bowl, combine oats, nuts, seeds, salt, cinnamon, oil and honey and mix well. Put the granola onto the baking sheet and spread it as an even layer. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. After baking, let it cool down completely and stir in the dried fruit.
Finally, store your home made granola in an airtight container for 1 to 2 weeks or in the freezer.
3. Swap popsicles for frozen grapes
My absolute favourite since I'm in contest prep. It's like eating bite-sized popsicles but without the added sugar.
Plus, it couldn't be simpler to make them. Start by rinsing the grapes. You don't have to try them. Place the grapes in a Tupperware and freeze them for at least 4 to 5 hours. The more grapes you have, the longer it will take to freeze them. So delicious! And you won't eat as many calories in a short amount of time with this swap.
4. Swap milk chocolate for 85% dark chocolate
Sometimes you just have to give in your chocolate cravings. But instead of grabbing the milk chocolate, try a bar of 85%+ cocoa dark chocolate.
Milk chocolate is mostly made up of milk solids, cream and sugar and has just very little cocoa solids in it.
Dark chocolate provides more fiber, vitamins and minerals, compared to milk chocolate.
Furthermore, check the ingredients list! Focus on dark chocolate which is made from cocoa butter instead of hydrogenated oils.
5. Swap salted toffee macadamia latte for café americano
Sticking to plain black coffee gives you a better caffeine kick than the sugar loaded versions. Plus, you get the pure free-radical fighting antioxidants benefits.
If you just can't stand black coffee, try to sweeten it with honey, whey protein powder (yes, it tastes awesome, believe it or not!), stevia or cinnamon. That way you will save yourself tons of calories. Cinnamon will also make your coffee more potent.
6. Swap sour creme for greek yogurt
You never tried it before? You should! Because plain greek yogurt and sour cream have a similar taste and texture. So why not choose the leaner alternative, which also contains much more protein?
Use it as topping for your fajitas, as a sauce base or chip dip. Believe me, you won't regret it!
7. Swap pasta for spiralled veggies
There is such a huge hype out there about spiralled veggies. And for a good reason! Spiralled veggies are a great substitute for pasta. They taste delicious, provide a lot more nutrients than pasta and are low in calories.
Perfect veggies to use are courgettes, eggplants (for lasagna), cucumbers and even sweet potatoes.
8. Swap hamburger bun for portobello mushroom
Oh yes, make a healthier gluten-free, paleo friendly and vegan version of your good old burger bun by using portobello mushroom caps instead of the highly processed burger bun made from grains.
I really love the taste of the roasted portobello mushrooms, which fits nicely to a burger. Try it and thank me later. ;)
9. Swap sugar for apple sauce
You can also make your baking desserts healthier. Simply cut out the sugar and use unsweetened apple sauce instead. We used the substitute in our loved 3-ingredient brownies and they taste amazing!
Substitute it in a 1:1 ratio, but you may have to reduce the liquid in the recipe, since apple sauce brings some on it's own. It will make your recipe fresh and fruity!
10. Swap croutons for nuts
Don't decrease the nutritional value of your salad with vitamin free and salty croutons. Try to use unsalted nuts or seeds instead. They are packed with flavour and crunch and will give your salad a nice protein boost. Just roast them for a few minutes in a pan over medium heat.
Walnuts and almonds are my absolute favourite. But don't use too much - a small handful is enough!
11. Swap tortilla wraps for lettuce leaves
This one is genius and fun! This switch will lighten up your wrap or taco dish, without any effort. And by using the leaves, they provide a nice little crunch.
12. Swap ice cream for frozen banana
Replacing a huge bowl of sugar with fruits is a win-win. Bananas are filled with potassium, folate and vitamin C and they taste amazing.
Simply throw two frozen bananas in your blender and blend until smooth. Add a little bit of cinnamon. Perfect for a little afternoon treat!
13. Swap heavy cream for coconut milk
No, you don't need to cut out dairy if you want to eat clean. But we have a lot of clients that benefit from minimising their milk intake, because it improves their digestion.
You can use full-fat coconut milk in soups and sauces or whipped cream.
14. Swap vegetable oil for coconut oil
It is known that vegetable oils spark a higher risk for inflammations and are highly processed.
Cooking virgin coconut oil is a better idea. You won't taste any coconut flavour when you cook with it. Plus, coconut oil has a high smoke point, meaning it can be heated to relatively high temperatures before it begins to release free-radicals.
Do you have other food swaps, that I missed? Please share them with me in the comment section below! I'm curious to read your tips.