If you love the idea of improving your health, but feel less than enthusiastic about dieting to make it happen, you’re definitely not alone. Limiting your favorite foods is tough, but reducing added sugars and fats in your diet can provide numerous cardiovascular benefits. Here are some healthy alternatives to some of the most popular, yet unhealthy, food choices.
Easy, Healthy Alternatives Everyone Should Know
Replace Jam with Smashed Avocado
Jam is often filled with added sugars! Avocado’s fiber and cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated healthy fats will keep you full and satisfied well into the afternoon—especially when it’s paired with an egg or two.
Replace Egg Whites With Whole Eggs
Which is healthier? This has been an age old question with some scientific studies to backup the support of whole eggs. As it turns out, eating whole eggs is far healthier than sticking to the whites. This is because the yellow contains a fat-fighting nutrient called choline, so opting for whole eggs can actually help you trim down.
Replace Creamer with Organic Whole Milk
There’s a long list of how unhealthy creamers are for your body including: they’re made with a nasty combination of water, sugar, soybean oil, and corn syrup and they typically contain carrageenan, a stabilizer that’s linked to inflammation. Additionally, one serving is considered one tablespoon, but, an average unmeasured pour equals four times that amount.For a healthy alternative, go with organic whole milk and a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg for flavor. The calcium in it can help counter the calcium-robbing aspects of the caffeine, and it’s a great way to get vitamins A, D, and B12 (which are vital for bone health)
Swap Bagels for English Muffins
Many may not know but one bagel is equivalent to roughly four slices of nutrient-void white bread. Not only is a bagel extremely caloric, it’s missing nutrients like fiber and protein to keep you energized through the morning. A healthier alternative would be a whole grain english muffin, stocked with rich fiber and protein.
Replace Mayo with Hummus
A tablespoon of mayo has 95 calories and 10 grams of fat. Chickpea-based hummus, however, has 25 calories, 1.4 grams of fat, and 1.2 grams of protein per tablespoon! Plus, it arguably contributes far more flavor to your meal than mayonnaise.
Replace Rice with Riced Cauliflower
Cauliflower is super low-carb and low-calorie while still being filling. Grating a cup of cauliflower to use in your rice recipe instead of using highly-refined and nutrient-deficient white rice will save you 145 calories per cup.
Ditch Sour Cream for Greek Yogurt
Instead of topping your chili and tacos with sour cream, mix some Greek yogurt with cilantro and taco seasoning. This will add flavor and will save you calories and fat while adding some additional protein to your plate.
Healthy Alternatives When You’re Craving Sweet
Applesauce still gives you that sweet taste while having lots of healthy nutrients. One cup of sugar has more than 770 calories whereas the same amount of unsweetened applesauce has only 100. Like fresh apples, applesauce also contains polyphenols, which may help to reduce blood pressure.
Fruit is naturally very sweet and one of the best healthy alternatives when you get a sugar craving. It can be eaten frozen in a smoothie or cut up into bite size pieces. To make your fruit feel more like a treat, try dipping it in a little dark chocolate or making a mixed fruit bowl.
If you are craving chocolate, you can try swapping your regular milk chocolate for a small amount of dark chocolate (portion size matters!). Dark chocolate that is made with at least 70% cocoa is not only delicious, but it also contains a high amount of antioxidants. Additionally, including dark chocolate in your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease.
Banana Ice Cream
If you’re craving sweet and creamy ice cream, you could try making yourself this healthy alternative. Banana ice cream is made by blending ripe bananas in a food processor and freezing them for at least an hour. This snack is not only creamy and full of flavor, it’s also much lower in calories and higher in fiber than regular ice cream. Mix in some peanut butter for taste and added protein!
If you’re prone to sugar cravings, berries can quench your need for sugar, while adding some really beneficial nutrients to your diet. As well as being very easy to prepare, berries are sweet, low in calories, high in fiber and a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
Ice Cold Drink
If you’re craving a sugary soda or juice, it could just be your body trying to tell you that you’re thirsty! Try opting for a healthier alternative to quench your thirst and satisfy your need for something other than regular water. Instead of that soda, try drinking iced tea or carbonated water. In order to make it feel like more of a treat, add lots of ice and a slice of lemon.
Healthy Alternatives When You’re Craving Salty
Although popcorn is an amazing low-calorie alternative to chips, preparation method, serving size and topping choice are key when choosing a healthy popcorn to snack on. You can keep your popcorn snack healthy by choosing air-popped, plain or slightly salted popcorn and watching your serving size.
If you’re craving something a bit salty, edamame is a great choice. Edamame are immature soybeans. People often boil them and then sprinkle them with salt before popping out the beans for a tasty snack. This low-calorie snack is high in fiber, protein and a number of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K and folate.
Hummus with Vegetables
If you’re hungry and craving a savory snack, try vegetables dipped in hummus, one of my personal favorite healthy alternatives to salty snacks. Hummus is made with chickpeas, garlic and olive oil, all staples of the very healthy Mediterranean diet, which has been linked to better heart health. Eating this snack with vegetables can increase your vegetable intake and add valuable nutrients to your diet.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are part of the legume family. Chickpeas are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, chickpeas may offer a variety of health benefits, such as improving digestion, aiding weight management and reducing the risk of several diseases. Additionally, chickpeas are high in protein and make an excellent replacement for meat in vegetarian and vegan diets.
Healthy Alternatives When You’re Craving Creamy
Chia seeds are a great addition to anyone’s diet and contain alpha-linolenic acid omega-3 fatty acids, which are high in fiber, gluten-free, and a good source of protein. Here’s a quick recipe for you: First, use three-fourths cup chia seeds plus three cups of refrigerated coconut or almond milk. In a large bowl, combine the chia seeds and coconut milk, whisk together, let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature until the mixture thickens and then whisk again before setting it aside. Top each serving with fresh fruit and serve. So yummy!
Greek Yogurt with Berries
Greek yogurt offers a thicker and creamier texture with a tart taste, and has more protein compared to regular yogurt. Because it’s packed with protein, it also helps you stay full for longer. Additionally, greek yogurt contains probiotics, calcium, antioxidants, and fiber that are good for your gut.
Mini Babybel Cheese
This cheese has that creamy texture you’re craving while also providing you with added protein and calcium. One serving delivers four grams of protein and over 15 percent of your daily calcium requirements, all for 70 calories or less.
Mashed Sweet Potato
Microwave a small sweet potato, split it open, and mash a little orange juice and cinnamon into it. Sweet potatoes are a rich source of fibre as well as containing an array of vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, selenium, and they’re a good source of most of our B vitamins and vitamin C. This snack is healthy while still giving you that creamy texture.
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