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Monday, May 15, 2017

15 Smart Food Swaps That Will Make You Healthier

Most people have a "love affair" with eating delicious food, right? Who doesn't like a robust portion of homemade spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna or even a simple but delicious burger? By eating some of these foods though, we tend to forget how much we are eating because -- well, the food is delicious and we are hungry!

If we merely made an effort to not only watch our portion-sizes but also make smart food swaps, we can save on some calories too.

The following are 15 food swaps that -- if followed regularly -- should lead you down the road to better health.

(1) Swap white pasta for whole wheat: Whole wheat pasta contains more fiber as well as vitamin E, B vitamins and antioxidants -- definitely more than white pasta.

(2) Swap plain potatoes for sweet potatoes. "Eating sweep potatoes means you're still getting those essential carbs, but this way they count as one of your five-a-day, unlike regular potatoes which are a starchy food."

(3) Swap white rice for brown rice or 'cauli-rice': Simply put, brown rice has more nutrients than white rice. Brown rice contains more fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. White rice has a whole lot of "empty" calories and carbs that don't do much for nutrition.

(4) Make your own oatmeal instead of the pre-packaged version. It just makes sense to make your own version of oatmeal. By making your own, you actually can see what ingredients are being added rather than being surprised by unnecessary sugar or added ingredients.
(5) Swap fruit juice for the fruit itself. "Drinking a glass of orange juice means the fruits' sugars are more readily available and more easily absorbed by the body. The other thing to consider is that no matter how much fruit juice you drink in a day, it still only counts as one of your five-a-day".

(6) Swap white bread for Rye or Wholemeal.  "The way wholemeal or rye breads are digested means that the sugar, which turns into energy, is released into the bloodstream much more slowly than in white bread." No doubt, there is an advantage to staying fuller longer by eating more nutritious foods without having those hunger pangs which may cause eating an excess of unwanted/unhealthful foods.

(7) Swap sugary energy drinks for coffee. While it is true that too much caffeine can affect blood pressure, a portion-size (1-2 cups) can be good for you. But let's be honest -- if you say you love coffee and you are an avid Starbucks fan -- drink coffee without all the added sugars and milk which only give you more empty calories. 

(8) Swap store-bought salad dressing for homemade salad dressing.  Making a salad dressing only takes a few minutes, plus there is the added advantage of knowing what all the ingredients are as well. It doesn't take much beyond a good olive oil and vinegar with a few added ingredients. Store-bought salad dressing has added sugars and unpronounceable ingredients that do "who knows what" to the body!

(9) Swap low-fat yogurt for Greek instead. Greek yogurt is naturally lower in both fat and sugar. If sweetness is what you are missing in your plain yogurt, add fresh fruit, a sprinkling of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.

(10) Swap butter for olive oil margarine.  So much depends on portion-control, doesn't it? If you typically enjoy adding a good amount to your morning toast, the olive oil option at least has healthy unsaturated fat as opposed to butters' saturated fat. 

(11) Swap the crackers (or crisps) for popcorn. Popcorn is a whole grain, less processed than crackers and is lower in fat. Popcorn is delicious too. Some healthier options to add to it that won't wreck your healthy eating would be a good squeeze of lemon, a sprinkling of seasoned salt, cayenne pepper and even a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.

(12) Swap regular mashed potatoes for cauli-potatoes or even another kind of roasted vegetable like turnips or sweet potatoes or pumpkin which all contain essential nutrients without the added butter.

(13) Swap pork sausages for chicken sausages.  Chicken sausages typically are lower in saturated fat than pork and they also help out with minimizing red meat intake. As has been stated in the news everywhere for quite some time, a higher risk of red meat intake can be linked to certain types of cancers and even heart disease.

(14) Swap cheddar for cottage or goat cheese. Both cottage and goat cheese are a terrific source of calcium without the large fat content. While cheddar cheese is also delicious, its best to keep that to a minimum or portion-controlled for best health results.

(15) Swap fried eggs for boiled or poached. While eggs are most certainly delicious, one can save on quite a bit of calories by avoiding the butter or oil. Another option to the fried egg would be to make it in a non-stick pan where it can be "dry-fryed" or by making it with the use of a light cooking spray.

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