Swap This for That: 5 Healthy Diet Replacements

Eating healthy isn’t always easy.  When you’re in a hurry or you’re fighting off cravings from your previous, junk food days, ensuring that the snack or meal you grab is both filling and nutritious can be a bit of a challenge.  And, grabbing the wrong option may not only be unhealthy, it could derail the healthy eating habits you’ve worked so hard to stick with.

Fortunately, there are many simple substitutes that can be made that are easy, nutritious, and totally capable of staving off those unhealthy cravings.  Here are just a few quick food swaps you can make to help keep yourself on track.

Swap Milk Chocolate for Dark

Chocolate is a weakness for many, and although its various forms may have their health benefits, it’s still best to keep it in moderation.  Often the chocolate we consume comes in the form of candy bars, ice cream, and other treats loaded with sugar and calories.  Whenever cravings for these begin to settle in, reach for the dark chocolate instead.  It contains more of the original cocoa bean and flavonoids and isn’t diluted with sugar and dairy. 

Try This: Mix a few dark chocolate chips into a small bag of unsalted nuts and dried fruits for a snack that satisfies the chocolate craving and delivers filling protein.

Swap Potato Chips for Veggie Chips

When you want something crunchy, potato chips are often a readily available choice.  Unfortunately, they also pack in plenty of salt and trans fats, making them far from healthy. Even the seemingly healthy options that claim to be derived from vegetables have very few actual vegetables in them.  Instead, try making your own chips to keep handy when cravings strike.  It’s quick, easy, and delicious, and best of all, you’ll know exactly which ingredients are included.

Try This: Thinly sliced sweet potato, zucchini, or kale chips baked in your own oven.  A quick search for recipes can help you decide how you’d best like them seasoned.

Swap Butter for Avocado

Avocado has experienced a boom in popularity lately, and for good reason.  It is the only fruit that boasts a robust amount of monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.  Plus, it’s delicious!  It even makes a good substitute for butter, and a far better alternative to margarine, which we hope you avoid altogether.  

Try This: Next time you’re baking, replace half of the butter called for with avocado.  You’ll end up cutting fat by nearly 40% and save a ton of calories.

Swap Oil for Broth

Next time you’re sautéing, don’t be so quick to add oil, considering that each tablespoon will pack in about an extra 120 calories.  Fortunately, this is an easy switch to make.  Your meals can be just as delightful without sacrificing flavor or texture when you substitute broth.

Try This: Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of broth at a time as you saute or stir-fry, adding enough to brown your food without steaming it.  Toss and stir as you cook, and enjoy all the taste without the calories.

Swap Edamame for French Fries

Fast food and burger joints have many of us accustomed to having fries with our meal.  Some even enjoy them as a standalone snack.  Unfortunately, the oils and fat associated with fries make them a bad idea all around.  With just one small order of fries, there can be over 200 calories and 11 grams of fat.

Try This:  Boil two cups of edamame with one tablespoon of kosher salt.  Once tender, drain and toss with a coarse finishing salt.  Then, enjoy this salty, fun-to-eat, fry alternative.

Eating healthy may not always seem easy, but with relatively simple changes, you can continue to enjoy the flavors you love without the guilt.  Want to learn more about nutrition and healthy eating?  Contact the Gastonia location of SouthEast Chiropractic: The Motion Centers and ask about our nutritional counseling.