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Healthy Swaps

Healthy Swaps

Laurie Norris

When we are trying to eat healthy, we often think we have to give up foods we love. But that isn’t necessarily the case. Sometimes it’s just a matter of making a few smart swaps. Here are some suggestions to help keep your diet on track without sacrificing flavor or the foods you love.

At Breakfast…

-Flavored yogurt…swap for plain Greek yogurt with fruit and a little honey

-Bagel and cream cheese…swap for whole wheat English muffin topped with natural nut butter, avocado and tomatoes, sliced hard boiled eggs or a little light cream cheese with sliced strawberries

-Sausage and cheese omelet…swap for scrambled eggs mixed with spinach, a dash of hot sauce and seasonings and a piece of chicken sausage or turkey bacon

-Corn flakes…swap for a healthier cereal like Kashi, All Bran, Cheerios, shredded wheat and bran, or oatmeal topped with flaxseeds and cinnamon

-Breakfast bar…swap for a high protein bar with low sugar (preferably under 5 grams)

-Orange juice…swap for an orange, grapefruit or apple

At Lunch…

-Sandwich with white bread…swap for lean meats and light cheeses served open-faced on a slice of whole wheat bread (don’t forget to stack some veggies on there too!), or wrap your favorite toppings up in a low carb whole wheat wrap or lettuce leaves

-Mayo…swap for mustard, plain Greek yogurt, hummus or avocado

-PB & J on white bread…swap for whole wheat bread spread with natural nut butter and 100% fruit spread or sliced berries

-Chicken salad with fries…swap for a grilled chicken salad (no fries!) and ask for the dressing on the side. Do not pour the dressing on your salad. Instead, dip your fork in the dressing first, then fork up your bite of salad. You will still get the full flavor of the dressing, but you will be surprised at how little you will actually use!

-Chicken noodle, cream-based, or beef vegetable soup…swap for minestrone, preferably low sodium, made with plenty of beans for protein

-Pepperoni pizza…swap for a piece of homemade pizza made with whole wheat flatbread, light cheese, marinara and any veggies you like

At Dinner…

-Fried chicken…swap for baked chicken marinated in Greek yogurt, then coated with ground flaxseed or crushed bran cereal

-Steak fajitas with flour tortillas…swap for chicken or shrimp fajitas with corn tortillas

-Fettuccine Alfredo…swap for whole wheat pasta with marinara

-Meatballs or meatloaf made with beef…swap for ground turkey or chicken

-White rice…swap for brown rice or quinoa

-Fries or baked potato with butter and sour cream…swap for a baked potato topped with light ranch dressing or salsa.

-Potato or macaroni salad…swap for potato salad made with a mixture of olive oil and Dijon mustard (Here is an added bonus! Cooled potatoes form a resistant starch which passes through your intestines without being absorbed. This process supports healthy gut bacteria and can help you burn fat.)

Snack time…

-Chips and dip…swap for veggies with hummus, salsa or guacamole

-Cheese and crackers…swap for light cheese and apple slices

-Candy or cookies…swap for dark chocolate (70% or higher cocoa content), a fig cookie or whole wheat graham cracker. Ideally, make your own healthy cookies so you know exactly what is in them.

-Soda pop or tonic…swap for club soda with a dash of juice

-Raisins or Craisins…swap for grapes or any fresh fruit slices

-Microwave popcorn with butter…swap for homemade air-popped popcorn sprinkled with red pepper flakes, garlic powder and a dash of salt or sweeten it with cinnamon or cocoa powder

-Iced latte…swap for black iced coffee flavored with HALF a shot of your favorite flavored syrup

Hopefully some of these ideas will help you keep your diet on track without feeling deprived. For many more ways to eat healthier and make better choices, consult with our Registered Dietitian at 330-702-1311.