Even if weight loss is not your goal, nutritionists tell us that making some simple and healthy food swaps can give us more energy and focus.
Here are seven suggested swaps that are easy to incorporate into your menu plan and lifestyle:
- Swap margarine for butter – Butter gets a bad rap for high fat content, so margarine was made in a lab as a “healthier alternative.” But margarine is a highly processed food full of emulsifiers, colorants and other artificial ingredients that can be toxic to our bodies and digestive tracts.
- Swap sour cream for Greek yogurt - They have similar consistencies and taste, yet Greek yogurt is a far better option. It has 133 calories, one gram of fat, and 8 grams of carbohydrates, while 1 cup of reduced-fat sour cream has 416 calories, 32 grams of fat, and 16 grams of carbohydrates. Greek yogurt also has more B-12, higher protein, less sugar, and higher vitamin content.
- Swap rice for quinoa – Even if you are eating brown rice, which is healthier than white, quinoa surpasses both in the fight for the healthiest grain. One cup of brown rice contains 14 grams of fiber, while quinoa has 21 – and quinoa is a complete protein with higher levels of B vitamins, iron, riboflavin, folate, and zinc.
- Swap mayo for avocado – When making a sandwich, mashed avocado provides the same consistency as mayo but without the junk. Mayo is high in cholesterol, fats, and carbs. A tablespoon contains 115 calories, while one-fourth of an avocado contains 80 and has higher protein and potassium.
- Swap iceberg lettuce for spinach or kale – Darker greens, including romaine or arugula, have the highest level of nutrients, with more antioxidants because darker leaves are able to absorb more light and synthesize more vitamins.
- Swap OJ for fruit-infused water – Slice up a favorite fruit (even lemon works great!) and drop it into a glass of water. You get an immense amount of flavor, but only half the calories and sugar of juice – plus fruit-infused water keeps you more hydrated. Squeeze the fruit into the water for added flavor.Swap beef for chicken – Red meats have bad cholesterol compared to lean meats like chicken and turkey. If you love red meat, eat it once a week instead of three.