You’re dreading it: ship-shaping up your diet, so those workouts really start to settle in. Improving your diet can be the hardest part in creating a well-rounded lifestyle. Chinese takeout, those beautiful Golden Arches… it’s like some kind of deep-fried honey glazed conspiracy against your waistline! But don’t worry; you won’t have to miss out delicious meals ever again if you use this one simple trick: The trick of substitution. Replacing high-calorie ingredients with mouth-watering healthy food swaps will allow you to enjoy eating once again, free from guilt (as it should be!)
Your 4 Favorite-est Healthy Food Swaps:
1) Swap Potato Chips for Baked Veggie Chips
Potato chips have long been favored for making people happy at parties and family gatherings. But, these delicious little appetizers are also well known for being a source of empty calories, trans fats, and chemical preservatives.
For an equally delicious, and highly nutritious, alternative try baking your very own veggie chips at home. Veggie chips are great and can be cooked in bulk with very little preparation.
- Shave thin slices of sweet potato, beets, zucchini, mushroom or eggplant into thin bite-sized morsels with a mandoline. If you don’t have a mandoline handy, you can simply slice the veggies with a sharp knife.
- Spread the sliced veggies out on a baking tray; lightly drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. If you’re feeling adventurous, try experimenting with other seasoning ingredients – FYI, Orange zest and thyme goes great with sweet potato chips.
- Place the tray in a preheated oven and bake for roughly 6 minutes at 250F before turning and baking for another 6 minutes.
Different ovens and different chip thicknesses will result in different cooking times. Make sure you keep an eye on these appetizers as they bake to avoid burning.
2) Swap Cauliflower Mash for Mashed Potatoes
If you’re looking to cut down on carbs, try swapping your traditional side of mashed potatoes with vitamin and mineral rich cauliflower.
- Chop one head of cauliflower into very small pieces and steam for roughly 15 minutes, or until they soften.
- After steaming, place the cauliflower in a food processor or blender, and blend adding small amounts of butter, garlic and salt to taste.
- Blend until you reach your desired mash consistency.
3) Swap Croutons for Walnuts
Croutons are little bombs of empty calories with no nutritional value and one of the fastest ways to make a healthy salad unhealthy. Walnuts, however, are very nutritious and a great source of Vitamin E, B6, B9, antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids. Talk about nutrient dense! Exchanging crusty croutons for crunchy walnuts means your salad won’t lose its balanced texture. As far as healthy food swaps go, this one is by far the simplest switch to make!
4) Swap Soda for Homemade Iced Tea
Nobody needs soda! Am I right? Am I right?! But, you got to admit; it is nice to have a cold fizzy beverage to wash down your meals. Before you reach for that bottle of pop, try this easy to make sparkling iced tea recipe guaranteed to quench your thirst:
- Brew 2–4 cups of your favorite tea, then leave to chill in the refrigerator.
- Add the chilled tea to a large pitcher and top up with ice cubes and sparkling water.
- Avoid using sugar or artificial sweeteners. If you find that the tea flavor is a little too strong, instead, freeze small fruits like berries or sliced mango in an ice cube tray to be added to the pitcher for natural sweetness. You can also try adding leaves of mint to the ice cubes for an extra burst of freshness.