Swapping out certain food items can be an important step in creating a healthier diet plan. Here are a few ideas on how to start:
1. Choose Healthy Swaps for Unsatisfying Meals
Unsatisfying meals tend to encourage us to snack more, which is counterproductive if we are trying to create a healthy diet. Instead of reaching of something sugary or salty, opt for a healthier snack like berries, nuts, or seeds.
2. Exchange Sugary Drinks For Better Beverages
Drinking sugary beverages is one of the easiest ways to increase your daily caloric intake. Replace sweet, processed drinks with healthier options like unsweetened iced tea, sparkling water with a hint of fruit juice, flavored herbal teas, or low-fat milk.
3. Swap Refined Grains for Whole Grains
Refined grains are stripped of most of their vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Choose whole grains, like oats, barley, couscous, quinoa, or brown rice. Eating whole grains can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
4. Pick Good Proteins
Lean meats are an excellent source of protein, but you can also get similar amounts from healthy vegetarian sources like beans, lentils, nuts and seeds, and tofu. Choose the leanest meats possible and opt for plant-based diets three to four days a week.
5. Select Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are an important source of many essential vitamins and minerals. Try to eat at least four servings of vegetables and two servings of fruits every day.
Remember: A healthy diet isn’t just about eating the right food, it’s also about eating smaller portions and being mindful of what you’re consuming. With these swaps, you can finally take those steps towards a healthier diet plan and improved lifestyle.
What foods should I avoid when trying to create a healthier diet plan?
1. Processed foods: Anything that is heavily processed, available in packages and full of artificial ingredients and chemicals should be avoided.
2. High-sugar foods: Avoid cakes, biscuits, cookies, candy, and other foods high in added sugar.
3. High-fat and fried foods: These include fast-food items, fried items, and foods high in saturated fats.
4. Sugary drinks: Soda, certain fruit juices, and sports drinks should be avoided as they are full of added sugar and calories.
5. Refined grains: White bread, white pasta, and white rice should be avoided in favor of whole grain options.
6. Alcohol: Though there are certain health benefits to moderate drinking, it is best to avoid alcohol altogether if you are trying to lose weight or improve your diet.
What are some healthy substitutions for unhealthy foods?
• Substitute high-fat meats such as bacon, sausage, and ground beef with lean protein sources such as lean cuts of meat (trimmed of visible fat), fish, seafood, skinless chicken, turkey, and tofu.
• Replace full-fat dairy products such as cheese, whole milk, and butter with reduced-fat or fat-free options.
• Swap butter and oil for heart healthy alternatives such as olive oil, canola oil, or vegetable oils for cooking.
• Use applesauce, mashed bananas or pureed prunes as a healthy substitute for butter in baking.
• Choose whole wheat or 100-percent whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals over refined or processed ones.
• Substitute sugary drinks like soda, sweet tea, and juice with water.
• Opt for low-sodium soups, marinades, and salad dressings.
• Replace processed snacks such as chips, candy and cookies with healthy snacks like nuts, fresh fruit and vegetable sticks.
What are some of the healthiest foods to substitute for unhealthy snacks?
1. Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds.
2. Fruits and Vegetables: Apples, oranges, bananas, carrots, celery, bell peppers, snap peas.
3. Air-popped popcorn
4. Whole-grain crackers
5. Yogurt: Plain Greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit.
6. Dark Chocolate: Look for brands with a cocoa content of 70% or higher.
7. Hummus: Serve with crunchy veggies like bell peppers and carrots.
8. Smoothies: Blend Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and almond milk for a tasty snack.
9. Dried fruit: Apricots, dates and prunes are a great option.
10. Avocado slices: Sprinkle with a little sea salt for extra flavor.
What are some healthy snack ideas for kids?
1. Fresh fruit and vegetables
2. Whole grain crackers and peanut butter
3. Yogurt and granola
5. Hummus and whole grain pita or vegetable slices
6. Trail mix
7. Smoothies with fresh fruit and Greek yogurt
8. Baked sweet potato fries
9. Hard boiled eggs
10. Cheese and whole wheat crackers
What snacks are healthy for school lunches?
1. Fresh fruit such as apples, oranges, and bananas
2. Cut up vegetables such as carrots, celery, and cucumbers
3. Whole-grain crackers or pretzels
4. Un sweetened yogurt or applesauce
5. Hummus with pita chips
7. Roasted nuts and seeds
8. Slivered almond butter and celery sticks
9. Homemade trail mix
10. Hard-boiled eggs