Although we could all eat healthier, many of the traditional nutrition swaps can be a pain. Rice cakes are not an acceptable replacement for rice pudding. At the end of it all, adding more plant-based, healthy foods to your diet will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. You’ll find healthy recipes and delicious food alternatives. There is no need to eat sad rabbit food.
- Swap Coconut Water for Juice
A glass of OJ was a staple part of breakfast a few decades ago. Many people still consider sugary juice a healthy beverage or ingredient in smoothies. Coconut water is a better option. Sharon Collison RD, clinical instructor of nutritional at the University of Delaware, says that coconut water has electrolytes including potassium and a lot more natural sugar. A cup of coconut water contains nine grams of sweetener, while an apple juice cup has 25. Collison says, “Just don’t mistakenly grab coconut milk and coconut oil. You’ll end up with a lot more saturated fat. For extra flavor and electrolytes, you can add coconut water to your regular water.”
- Swap Nutritional Yeast for Parmesan Cheese
Because of its umami-rich, savory flavor, nutritional yeast is often used in vegetarian and vegan dishes. It tastes great sprinkled on popcorn, baked potatoes, roasted cauliflower, kale salad and pasta, just like parm. What is the difference? Nutrition yeast, unlike parmesan cheese is rich in B vitamins, proteins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients.
- Swap homemade dressing for bottled dressing
You might not realize how much sodium and sugar you may find in the salad dressings you buy at the grocery store. Salad dressings can be made at home and are delicious. Kelly Pritchett (RD), assistant professor in nutrition, exercise science, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington, says that you can make a vinaigrette with healthier oils like olive or avocado. You can also use yogurt to make a creamy dressing. Yogurt is rich in probiotics, protein and calcium and makes dressing extra delicious.
- Swap homemade jelly for storebought jam
Many store-bought jams or jellies are loaded with sugar, or worse, high-fructose Corn Syrup. It’s a great idea to make your own jams and jellies. You can use fresh fruits to cut down on sugar. What will you get? A more vibrant fruit flavor. Saccarine sweetness is less and the texture is more authentic.
- Swap Dairy Butter for Plant-Based Butter
You can substitute butter for dairy butter in many recipes, regardless of whether you are baking for someone who has food allergies or a vegan/plant-based cook. Saturated fat will be reduced by between 25 and 40 percent. For a delicious and dairy-free dessert, you can substitute plant-based butter for the butter in the crust or filling.
- Swap a BLAT for Cobb Salad
Cobb salad is a colorful explosion of flavor and texture. But by the time you have eaten the eggs and bacon, chicken, avocado, blue and cream dressing, you have gone well beyond the recommended daily intake of saturated fat. Collison says that you get more protein than you need in one meal. Surprise! You can have a similar flavor combination with a BLAT sandwich (bacon, lettuce and avocado, tomato) on whole-wheat bread. Consider it a health benefit. You’ll be able to consume more fat and protein. Additionally, you will feel more satisfied. Collison says that the whole grain bread will keep you fuller for longer than the salad.
- Swap Farro for White Rice
White rice is not one of the most nutritious grains. It actually has very little nutritional value. Farro has 7 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein in a quarter cup. Its delicious, toasty, and nutty flavor will be a hit with you.
Try: A farro-based meal bowl, which combines sweet potatoes, farro, feta cheese and fennel with a pomegranate vinaigrette.
- Swap Cacao Nibs for Chocolate Chips
Cacao nibs, which are unsweetened, unprocessed cacao nubs (the seeds used to make chocolate and cocoa), have the health benefits and chocolatey taste of dark chocolate. “Cacao is a rich, nutritious source of magnesium, with tons of antioxidants and phytochemicals. It may also help lower blood pressure,” Beth Warren, RD, nutritionist, and author of Living a Real Life With Real Food. Cacao nibs can be paired with sweet foods because they are slightly bitter.
- Swap Tahini for Sour Cream
Instead of using sour milk in sauces and dips, try using tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seed. Warren says that tahini is rich in fiber, calcium and magnesium and can help lower cholesterol. There’s also the delightfully nutty flavor.
You can make a heart-healthy dip by adding minced chiles or herbs to tahini.
- Swap Silken Tofu for Mayo
Tofu, especially the silken, is a great substitute for mayonnaise in cream sauces and dips that need a thickening agent like ranch dressing. Blend it until it becomes smooth. Tofu, unlike mayo, is vegan and high in protein.
Try this recipe for Vegan Ranch Dressing.
- Swap Ground Bison for Ground Beef
Ground turkey is a great choice for people who want to eat a healthier meat for their burgers, meatballs or tacos. Ground turkey is a great choice, but ground bison might be a better option if you don’t like the richness of beef. Bison meat is less saturated fat than 80 percent beef and has more protein per patty.
- Swap Corn Tortillas for Flour Tortillas
Corn tortillas are lower in calories than flour tortillas, and have less total fat and saturated cholesterol. Warren says that corn tortillas are high in fiber which can balance blood sugar and help keep you full while lowering cholesterol. They are rich in corn flavor, and they have a satisfying bite. These tortillas are less flexible than their flour counterparts so heat them up in the microwave or over the stove before adding your fillings.
You can use them to make quesadillas and baked tortilla chips.