If you're like me, you don't like feeling deprived. And that's why I prefer to have a mindset of upgrading my food choices rather than eliminating them. And by that I mean swapping out not-so-healthy choices with healthier ones.
Swap 1: Make Your Own Salad Dressing!
Homemade olive oil and vinegar (or citrus) dressings are easy to make and contain no preservatives or additives, plus you can control how tangy you want your dressing. Start with 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar or lemon juice then adjust. Then add a little salt and fresh ground pepper and you're ready to go.
I like to use Bragg's Apple Cider vinegar in my dressing because it's organic and still contains the "mother" at the bottom, which is part of the fermentation process.
Making your own dressing also saves a ton of money!
This is my favorite dressing to have around. I put it into a jar after I make it, so that I can easily grab it for a quick salad!
APPLE CIDER VINAIGRETTE:
Ingredients: 1 garlic clove, 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp. raw honey, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, sea salt & pepper to taste
Directions: Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl very well and enjoy! This one is great made in advance.
Swap 2: Add cinnamon to your coffee or oatmeal instead of sugar.
Yes, it might seem strange, but cinnamon adds flavor without the extra calories from sugar. It tastes great!
Not only that, but cinnamon has an added bonus of helping your body keep your blood sugar stable. It has many more health benefits as well, including being antibacterial and a great antioxidant. Click here for my article on the Health Benefits of Cinnamon. I think you'll be surprised at how many there are!
Swap 3: Instead of Soda, Drink a Good Quality Kombucha.
I probably don't have to tell you that soda has no redeeming nutritional value and contains way too much sugar!
Kombucha also contains sugar, but also probiotics, antioxidants, and may even reduce heart disease. Reference. You can buy it at most stores. Be sure to look for a brand that doesn't have too much added sugar. Or you can even make it at home!
Swap 4: Swap Out Mayo for Mustard.
Mayonaise has about 90 calories per tablespoon! Mustard contains a lot less calories and you won't get that weighed down feeling after you eat. Plus there are lots of fun variety on the market. Experiment to find your favorite, from spicy to hot or even sweet!
Swap 5: Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Sour Cream
Next time you're tempted to load up a potato or dip with sour cream, try using Greek yogurt instead!
You can even strain it through cheesecloth to get a thicker yogurt. Be sure to use low-fat or full-fat or you'll probably be disappointed in the texture and flavor!
The good news is that yogurt carries the extra health benefits, because of all the gut-friendly probiotics it contains.
Swap 6: Eat Dark Chocolate Instead of Another Dessert!
Quality dark chocolate is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese and a few other minerals. Yes, it still contains calories and you probably don't want to eat too much too close to bedtime, but it's a much better choice than a lot of desserts.
Eat chocolate that is at least 70% cacao. Chocolate is also an antioxidant, may help reduce heart disease, and may even help protect your skin from the sun!
For a delicious and nutritious treat, try this pudding from my 10-Day Detox Cookbook!
HEAVENLY CHOCOLATE AVOCADO PUDDING:
Ingredients: 2 ripe Avocados (not over-ripe!), 1 cup pitted dates, 5 tbsps. of raw cocoa powder, 1⁄2 cup purifed water, 1/2 tbsp. raw organic honey, a pinch or two of sea salt
Directions: Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor and enjoy. (This is great when chilled for a few hours before you eat it!) (makes about 3-4 servings depending on the size of the avocados)
Swap 7: Use Zoodles Instead of Regular Pasta.
This one's pretty trendy lately, but it's also a great way to increase your veggie consumption!
If you have a spiralizer, you can make your own homemade noodles out of zucchini, carrots, squash or other veggies. If you don't you can sometimes buy them frozen or sometimes fresh at your local market.
Not only are they a great way to get more veggies in your diet, but they're gluten free, and a cup of Zoodles contains about 19 nutrient dense calories, while spaghetti contains about 200!
Swap 8: Make or Buy Cauliflower Crust for Your Pizza.
I've tried many gluten-free pizza crusts over the past five years and honestly they range from cardboard to "are you sure this is gluten free?" Most are closer to the cardboard end of the spectrum.
Lately, it's become popular to make a crust from cauliflower. It's the right color, and it really doesn't taste like cauliflower!
This crust is good, from the meal planning subscription I'm a member of.
CAULIFLOWER PIZZA CRUST
Adapted from REAL PLANS
1 cup cauliflower rice
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Swap 9: Swap Sliced Veggies or an Apple for Chips or Crackers.
For a snack, grab an apple with almond butter, or sliced carrots, peppers, or other veggies with hummus. Remember, there's nothing wrong with carbohydrates. It's just that fruits and vegetables have fiber and a high nutritional value. Pair with almond butter or hummus, you also get the long lasting energy of protein and healthy fat.
Swap 10: Use Sweet Potatoes Instead of White Potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are remarkably high in Vitamin A and are also high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, and copper.
The real difference is that sweet potatoes generally are lower on the glycemic index than white potatoes. This means that even though sweet potatoes are sweeter, you break down the sugars of sweet potatoes in your blood more slowly than white potatoes, which prevents a sharp spike in your blood sugar. It does depend on how you cook them, for both sweet and white potatoes, they are lower on the glycemic index when they've been boiled or steamed than they are when baked.
I hope these food swaps are helpful! Do you have any favorite swaps? Please let me know in the comments below!
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Hi, I’m Crystal!