Instead of taking a torturous approach to eating, learn to nourish your body and you’ll discover that healthy eating can, and should, taste delicious.
Many people think they need to feel deprived in order to be healthy and lose weight. They resort to counting calories and even give up some of their favorite foods. The problem is, this creates an unhealthy relationship with food. When you restrict foods or live with guilt, saying things like “I really shouldn’t eat ice cream or pizza,” you create a lot of unnecessary stress that negatively impacts your health.
Start with a healthy nutrition foundation by choosing natural, whole foods over man-made, processed products. Find healthier alternatives when you can or plan it as your weekly “cheat” meal when you can’t.
Core 4 Healthy Eating Tips
14 Smart Food Swaps
Incorporate a Smart Food Swap every few days so it doesn’t feel like you’re making any drastic changes. Before you know it, each one of these healthier alternatives will become part of your daily diet.
1. Table Salt —> Sea Salt
Unrefined sea salt contains 84 minerals and trace elements as nature intended, not just sodium and chloride with aluminum anti-caking agents, bleach and other harmful additives. High quality sea salt, such as Celtic or Himalayan, has the opposite effect of table salt and supports overall health. Dulse or kelp seaweed flakes are another great alternative with a rich mineral content.
2. Caffeine Concoctions & Energy Drinks —> Green Tea
Organic green tea provides a smooth caffeine kick loaded with fat-burning catechins and brain-boosting L-theanine. Organic coffee is also a good antioxidant-rich option. Packed with vitamin B12, Moringa herbal tea gives a great caffeine-free energy boost.
3. Refined & Artificial Sweeteners —> Cinnamon & Stevia
Sweeten with success by using the spice cinnamon and the herb stevia. Beneficial for lowering blood sugar, cinnamon can reduce a meal’s Glycemic Index by 29 percent! Organic 100 percent pure Stevia is also excellent for blood sugar as it contains zero sugars or toxic ingredients.
4. Milk —> Coconut Milk
A healthy dairy-free alternative, coconut milk is an excellent source of immune-supporting lauric acid and metabolism-boosting medium chain fatty acids that support fat-burning and overall health. Make it fresh at home using coconut cream and water or look for full-fat, plain coconut milk with minimal ingredients.
5. Yogurt —> Kefir
This fermented milk is a drinkable version of yogurt, but is actually a much better source of probiotics. Yogurt only has about 2-5 strains of beneficial bacteria, which only temporarily impact your gut health. In contrast, kefir has about 30 strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast that work together to repopulate the good flora in your gut, while destroying bad flora and harmful yeasts.
6. Cereal —> Steel-Cut Oatmeal
A great alternative to highly processed boxed cereals, breakfast bars, and baked goods, steel-cut oatmeal is rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Add berries to give your breakfast an antioxidant boost!
7. Grains —> Greens
Most people eat twice as many grains (especially refined grains) as they do greens, which should be the other way around. Include more veggies by juicing, adding to salads/snacks, and using for wraps/rolls.
Bread —> sourdough or “sprouted” (half sandwiches) —> Paleo bread —> veggies
Pasta —> gluten-free pasta —> zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash
Tortillas —> organic corn tortillas —> lettuce/veg wraps
Chips —> organic corn tortilla chips —> kale chips and SeaSnax —> veggies
Crackers —> Mary’s Gone Crackers —> veggies
8. Sweets —> Berries, Cherries & Dark Chocolate
Great sources of antioxidants, these treats pack in nutrients, while satisfying your sweet tooth. Berries and cherries are also rich in vitamin C and fiber, while dark chocolate is packed with polyphenols and magnesium.
9. Cooking Sprays & Oils —> Coconut Oil
Get rid of “Franken Fats” such as canola oil, soybean oil, cooking sprays, margarines and “buttery spreads.” These machine-made oils are high in toxins, often genetically modified and contain high amounts of omega-6s that promote inflammation. Give your body an oil change by switching to more natural fats such as unrefined expeller-pressed coconut oil and pastured butter/ghee.
10. Peanuts —> Walnuts
Peanuts are high in aflatoxins, which create health problems that most people are unaware of until they eliminate peanuts. Walnuts are a much healthier alternative as they’re a great source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s. Almonds are also a good option, especially homemade almond butter instead of peanut butter.
11. Soda —> Kombucha
Swap your regular and diet soda for naturally sweet, probiotic-rich kombucha. Kombucha is rich in antioxidants, probiotics, vitamin C, beneficial acids (acetic acid, lactic acid and gluconic acid), enzymes, amino acids, and B vitamins. Zevia is also a healthier alternative to soda, sweetened with stevia and erythritol. You can even make your own soda by adding flavored stevia to carbonated water.
12. Mixed Alcoholic Beverages —> Red Wine
Replace mixed drinks and other sugary concoctions with red wine. Pinot Noir is particularly high in resveratrol, an anti-inflammatory super antioxidant. Other options include Dry Farm Wines, Zevia cocktails, Paleo pina colada, berry daiquiri, and gluten-free beer or Belgian brews.
13. Margarine & “Buttery Spreads” —> Pastured Butter
Grass-fed butter is a great source of vitamin A and other fat soluble vitamins, as well as the powerful antioxidant selenium and other trace minerals. A good source of conjugated linoleic acid or CLA, butter is a potent anti-cancer food. Lastly, butter is a good source of short and medium-chain fatty acids that support weight loss, immunity and digestion.
14. Sports Drink —> Coconut Water
One great option for replacing electrolytes is coconut water. Unlike most high fructose corn syrup sweetened sports drinks, coconut water contains naturally occurring sugar. Depending on the brand, coconut water can have 15 times the electrolytes found in sports drinks! Be sure to select raw coconut water with the fewest ingredients and the lowest amount of sugar.
Smart Food Swaps: A Day In The Life
Breakfast: organic green tea, steel-cut oatmeal with banana and berries
Snack: kefir mixed with cherries and cinnamon
Lunch: turkey sandwich on sourdough bread with avocado and arugula
Snack: celery and almond butter
Dinner: chicken tacos on organic corn tortillas with cheese, salsa & red cabbage
Dessert: Brown Salted Butter Dark Chocolate squares
Healthier Food Alternatives List
Now you can enjoy nourishing foods without packing on the pounds or feeling deprived. You don’t have to eat perfectly to be healthy, you just have to make progress. Use these alternatives to find a healthy way of eating that’s easy and enjoyable to sustain.
Upgrade Your Daily Diet
Avoid —> Better —> Best
Wellness Coach, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner,