Top 5 Healthy Food Swaps
April 16, 2014
R.D. Alina Zolotareva and Dietetic Intern Jennifer Maeng share their favorite “food swap” ideas, offering healthy, satisfying alternatives to traditional snacks and drinks.
Eating healthy doesn’t always mean you have to drastically change your diet. Small steps to healthier eating can make a big difference in the long run. Try these simple daily swaps to give you more nutritional bang for your buck, while cutting excess sugar, fat and calories.
1. Multigrain English muffin vs. bagel
Everyone loves their morning bagel, but one bagel can equate to about 2-3 servings of bread. Simply swapping your bagel for an English muffin will cut down on calories (up to 40% less than a bagel) and increase fiber intake.
2. Plain Greek yogurt with fruit vs. flavored yogurt
Creamy Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt. However, flavored varieties are packed with added sugar and artificial flavors. Add fresh fruit like banana slices and berries to add sweetness, texture and a healthy dose of antioxidants.
3. Popcorn vs. potato chips
Sometimes we crave salty, crunchy snacks, but it’s really tough to stop at a few chips. To satisfy your craving for salt, try popcorn tossed with some parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast -- it’ll address your urge for a snack while cutting down significantly on calories and fat. Plus, popcorn is a whole grain so you’ll get the benefits of added fiber and micronutrients.
4. Water with fruit slices vs. fruit juice
Thirsty mid-day? Instead of opting for juice, which can contain a lot of sugar (a 12 ounce orange juice contains 24 grams of sugar), slice up some fruit (grapefruit, orange, frozen berries, etc.) and add to a pitcher of ice water. It’ll quench your thirst without the added sugar or calories.
5. Smoothie vs. milkshake
Craving something sweet, cold and creamy? Instead of an ice cream-based milkshake, make a smoothie from frozen fruit, plain Greek yogurt and coconut water. At a fraction of the calories and saturated fat, you’ll satisfy your sweet tooth with a dose of antioxidants, fiber and protein.
What are some of your favorite healthy swaps? Let us know in the comments below!
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