8 Easy Food Swaps for a Healthier Diet
Eating healthy may seem difficult, but with our list of simple substitutes, it’s a task almost anyone can accomplish. Potential weight loss is just an added bonus to feeling your best. Replace fatty, sugary foods that leave you craving more with filling, healthier substitutes.
1. Swap red meat for seafood
By swapping out red meat for seafood, you’re ingesting less harmful cholesterol, therefore decreasing your likelihood of heart disease. Additionally, salmon, trout, and herring all contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which also lower your risk for heart disease.
2. Swap butter for alternative oils
Butter contains saturated fat, causing it to remain solid at room temperature. Saturated fat can increase the body’s cholesterol levels, while unsaturated fats will not. Look for oil that’s liquid at room temperature. By swapping out butter for olive, canola, or sunflower oil, you’re also swapping saturated for unsaturated fat.
3. Swap refined grains for whole grains
Half of all the grains you eat should be 100 percent whole grain. Not only do whole grains contain magnesium and selenium, which help support bone health and your immune system, they also contain fiber, which helps with digestion.
4. Swap hamburgers for non-beef patties
Beef patties are typically high in fat and cholesterol, which can build up over time in your arteries. Swap out a beef burger for a veggie or turkey patty instead. Turkey is a typically leaner meat than your average beef patty. Be sure to check the nutrition label to avoid preservatives and fillers, or try making the patties from scratch.
5. Swap ranch dressing for a vinaigrette
Rather than choosing a dressing high in fat and sugar, like ranch or Thousand Island dressings, opt for something low in fat and sugar, like a vinaigrette. You can even make your own healthy dressing with olive oil, vinegar, herbs, and spices.
6. Swap whole milk for alternative milks
Rather than choosing whole or 2 percent dairy milk that has a higher fat content, use 1 percent or fat-free dairy milk. Alternatively, soy or nut-based milks are also better nutritionally than whole milk, which is a source of saturated fat and cholesterol.
7. Swap dessert for fruit
Rather than indulging in desserts high in cholesterol and saturated fat, opt for something easier on your body. Instead of sugary candies, grill some pineapple or peach halves to naturally satisfy your sweet tooth. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, broil grapefruit halves topped with cinnamon and honey for some added flavor. All of these alternatives are delicious and go well with a moderate side of angel food cake or low-fat ice cream.
8. Swap canned vegetables for fresh vegetables
Many canned vegetables contain added salt, fats, or sauces, which decrease the nutritional value. If you’re going to have veggies, be sure to buy them fresh, frozen, or canned without additives.
By making minor modifications to your diet, you can decrease your risk for heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Be sure to consult your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician before drastically changing your diet, especially if you’re managing a chronic condition.