Eat healthier: try these simply food swaps
We could probably all stand to eat a little healthier, but traditional nutrition swaps are kind of a bummer (no, rice cakes are not an acceptable substitute for rice pudding, thank you very much).
And, really, the key to permanently cleaning up your diet is adding in more healthy foods that you actually enjoy eating.
Try these delicious food swaps:
1. Swap coconut water for juice.
“Plain coconut water has electrolytes, including potassium, and a lot less natural sugar than fruit juice,” said Sharon Collison, R.D., a clinical instructor of nutrition at the University of Delaware. To compare, a cup of coconut water has 9 grams of the sweet stuff, while a cup of apple juice has 25.
2. Swap a BLAT for a Cobb salad.
A Cobb salad is always a colorful riot of flavor and texture, but by the time you’ve eaten the eggs, bacon, chicken, avocado, blue cheese and creamy dressing, you’ve gone way beyond a healthy limit of saturated fat.
Here’s a surprise: You can get a similar flavor combination by switching to a BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato) sandwich on whole-wheat bread. Not only will you consume a more balanced amount of fat and protein, you’ll also be more satiated.
Try experimenting with arugula or watercress in place of lettuce for a peppery kick.
3. Swap ground bison for ground beef.
Compared with 80% lean beef, bison meat contains less total fat and saturated fat, and it even has a few extra grams of protein per patty.
4. Swap pepitas for croutons.
Croutons might be your favorite way to add crunch to your salads, but you’re mostly topping your veggies with refined carbs and oil. How to get the same satisfying texture without the nutritional drawbacks? Look no further than pepitas, or pumpkin seeds.
“Pepitas are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and ounce for ounce they have as much protein as meat,” Collison said.
5. Swap corn tortillas for flour tortillas.
Corn tortillas have fewer calories than flour tortillas and are lower in total fat and saturated fat.
“They’re also high in fiber, which can help balance blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full while lowering cholesterol,” said nutritionist Beth Warren, R.D., author of Living a Real Life with Real Food. Plus, they taste rich in corn flavor and have a satisfying bite.
Try using corn tortillas to make quesadillas or enchiladas.
6. Swap tahini for mayonnaise.
Instead of reaching for mayo, get creaminess and flavor punch with a spread of tahini — a paste made from ground sesame seeds, which you can find in the grocery store.
“Tahini has fiber, calcium, magnesium and protein, and is a great source of healthy, monounsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol,” Warren said.
Try spicing up tahini with minced chiles and/or herbs and using it as a spread.
Real Simple magazine provides smart, realistic solutions to everyday challenges. Online at www.realsimple.com.
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